South City Publick House has striking style, and appropriately so, as a large part of being a gastropub (a pub that specializes in serving high-quality food) is the style. From the outside, it looks like it was plucked straight from a British street corner and placed in the middle of Binghamton’s South Side. The three-story building stands out, with red bricks over a shingled awning, columns built into the walls and a freely swinging double door.
For an appetizer, I had the market fresh salad with ranch dressing. Nothing particularly special, just an average salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onions and croutons. However, the ranch was not your average ranch dressing, but cucumber ranch, with a much thicker texture and a cucumber flavor for a welcome change of pace. For more sophisticated palates, they also offer a caprese salad or a house-made soup.
For lunch, there was a large range of options on the Restaurant Week menu, including basil tortellini and veggie noodles over sriracha-spiced tofu. I chose the Italian beef sandwich, a brisket with red peppers and mozzarella on top of an open-faced baguette sandwich. The brisket was slow-braised, making it tender, moist and delicious. The melted mozzarella complemented the brisket especially well. The sandwich came with so much meat, it easily spilled over the sides of the baguette, making it messy to eat. Personally, I found the number of red peppers to be too much. Additionally, those that don’t want their food spicy might be averse to this dish.
The sandwich is served with a side of house-made potato chips. They are lighter and saltier than most other chips, but some were rather crispy. That can be positive or negative for some, depending on if you prefer a variety of textures like me and don’t mind a couple of overcooked chips.
The dessert options were a warm chocolate banana-bread pudding and a red velvet cookie. I had the cookie, which was made with white chocolate chips and marshmallows. It was delicious, but it was presented in a plastic bag, instead of a plate. Perhaps it is common for patrons to take desserts home with them, but it felt like an odd downgrade in presentation following the meal. Nonetheless, it was a fine dessert.
Binghamton’s South Side doesn’t get nearly as many student visitors as Downtown Binghamton, but for little spots like South City Publick House, it probably should. The restaurant has got the style and the substance, and during Restaurant Week it is definitely a place you should visit.