NOW SERVING 213, 310 & 805
Considering the craft of serving food and beer an art form, class is session all year round at Public School. Earning a solid A+ for achieving stellar combinations of fine fare with creative handcrafted cocktails and spot-on beers, Public School is taking care of Southland foodies from downtown LA to Culver City and Thousand Oaks.
At Public School 805, a new restaurant and bar that features craft beer and a chef-driven menu by Executive Chef Phil Kastel, a Thousand Oaks native, the 126-seat restaurant focuses on providing guests with “an education in the art of food and beer.” Now that’s the kind of higher learning I’m all about!
Like the other popular Public Schools, Public School 805 features a seasonal lunch and dinner menu using fresh, local ingredients. Featured menu items include Jidori Brick Chicken and White Bean Ragu, Irish Stout Short Rib, Colorado Lamb Burger, and Tuscan Chop Salad. The menu also includes a selection of handcrafted flatbread pizzas cooked on the hearth of the restaurant’s wood-fired oven.
“I am so proud of this menu; especially because it reflects my passion for diverse cuisine that is simple yet flavorful,” Kastel explains. “I was born and raised in Thousand Oaks and Public School 805 is a chance for me to get back to my roots.”
The bar menu feature over 40 craft beers—24 on tap and 16 bottles and cans. For guests who prefer something other than beer, artisanal cocktails and wines on–tap are also offered. PS805 plans to offer ongoing “Night School” classes such as Beer 101 and seasonal cocktail tastings.
Recess, aka happy hour, is offered daily with special menu items priced at $4, $5 and $6 featuring dishes such as Speck & Eggs, Parmesan Truffle Fries, Tres Adobo Tacos, and PB&J Sliders (blackberry habanero jam and smoked bacon). Breakfast is also served on weekends starting at 9am.
During our recent visit to PS805 for dinner, we started with the Bacon Cheddar Tots served with Sriacha ketchup. These egg roll size tots are extremely tasty and addictive. They’re a definite starter item perfect for sharing; as are the Fiery Calamari dusted with togarashi and served with ginger aioli for dipping. These two selections are from the For the Table menu and are surefire winners.
If you’re looking for cocktails, the Agua Fresca is a refreshing mix of watermelon water and Tito’s Vodka. The Añejo Manhattan, made with Licor 43, Carpano Antica and Fortaleza (Añejo) Tequila—very impressive—is a good call. And don’t forget about the very stellar beer and wine lists. If you’re sharing and don’t mind spending some ducats, the Allagash Curieux is a strong and tasty beer that really hits the spot—one will probably do the trick.
Passing on the Kale Caesar, a very popular dish these days, we went with the Roasted Beets and Ricotta Salata prepared with arugula, Marcona almonds, and sliced strawberries with a pomegranate reduction, which was filled with lots of flavor but somewhat bland beets. The dressing was very tangy so you may prefer to have it on the side so you can pour it yourself.
Another dish, this one from the Extras portion of the menu, the Pearled Farro and Brussel Salad, made with butternut squash, cranberries, pecans and sweet curry vinaigrette, was very delightful. It is a sweet salad but it’s loaded with tasty flavors.
Wanting to try a woodfired crust pizza, a house specialty, we went with the Bresaola and Frisée (salted beef pizza) prepared with provolone, mozzarella, salt cured bresaola, and shaved grana, a very nice flatbread. The crust is perfect and the toppings are so savory.
For our entrees, we went with the Dragoons Irish Stout Short Rib featuring shaved horseradish Yukon mashed potatoes, and caramelized onion au jus, which paired excellent with a stout beer. This is a hearty dish and just perfect for any meat-lover. A good glass of red wine would also do the trick but I thought the stout, because the meat was marinated in stout, would offer the most ideal pairing.
For burger fans, The Huntsman is the way to go. Prepared with pure ground chuck, balsamic onions, Bibb lettuce, tomato and Huntsman cheese, this filling and flavorful bad boy is spot on. Simple and without too many distracting ingredients, it’s all about a good old fashioned burger here. And trust the staff to recommend a beer or wine to pair with this dish. You won’t be sorry.
If Sweets are you thing, they’ve got you covered at Public School. Personally, I found the Chocolate Stout Brownie too rich and sweet for me, as hard as that is to believe, but the Chalkboard Special, an ice cream sandwich on this night, was the bomb! Sometimes you just can’t beat an oldie but a goodie.
By: Jose Martinez
Some photography courtesy of Public School