The other day my daughter and I decided we needed to do a little shopping and ended up in the Fashion Mall food court at around 11:30. Since we were there, we decided to grab a bite to eat and headed into Public Greens. Although I’ve been to the one in Broad Ripple before I decided trying a new location could offer a different experience.
After looking at the menu for a bit… and learning that they had just gotten local, amazing, strawberries in from a friendly waitress we went up to order. I ordered the Fried Chicken, Basil Pesto Fritters, and Strawberry Shortcake ($16). The way pricing works there is you either pick one ($6), two ($10), or three ($14) items from the salads, snacks, or proteins sections and add an extra $2 for each protein. My daughter decided to go with the Santa Fe Pork Bowl ($16), which is another option if you want more of a put together meal. She also grabbed one of their specialty juices, with a combination of grapefruit, apple, and lemon juice.
We sat down at a table and only had to wait maybe 10 minutes before our food came out. First, we tasted the basil pesto fritters, which from what I understand have pesto blended into the dough and are topped with a balsamic glaze. The idea was intriguing as they were presented almost as if they were a dessert but were clearly savory. The glaze had a nice flavor as did the fritters, although the texture of the fritters was interestingly denser than you might think, with and the flavors hinted at maybe a partially chickpea-based flour? They were decent but needed some extra oomph. A little more texture would have been nice.
I have had the fried chicken at the other Public Greens and thought it was good. This similar version was good as well, but not as good as in the past. They weren’t that hot and a little dry. Almost like they are reheating them. They were still fairly crisp, but I did feel like they could have used a sauce, maybe something spicy or fresh. My daughter enjoyed sneaking bites of my chicken which is rare for her, not being so much of a fried chicken addict herself. Her pork dish was decent if a little bland. It consisted of a quinoa, pinto beans, and Santa Fe style pork base, and supposedly was topped with cilantro, scallions, feta, and ranch. The only true topping I noticed in any quantity was the ranch sauce on top, which did help to moisten the quinoa (which unfortunately, like most quinoa, was rather dry) but didn’t add a ton of flavor. The pork and beans were well cooked, although the pork could have used a little more spice. Overall, the dish was ok and she seemed satisfied although I felt it could have used more of a flavorful topping.
To conclude our meal we tried the Strawberry Shortcake, treating it as our dessert, even though it's listed as a snack, based on the server’s recommendation. This was honestly the biggest disappointment of the meal after all the hype we had heard about the strawberries. It’s not that the strawberries tasted bad (they were quite sweet and delicious), it was that we were only given 2.5 strawberries for an entire slab of pound cake. We only ended up eating about a quarter of the cake simply because we ran out of strawberries to eat it with. Despite this, the bites we did have were excellent and the cake itself was lovely and moist.
Ultimately, I feel Public Greens is a wonderful idea (with all their proceeds going to charity) with a somewhat iffy execution. Their food needs more flavor and really needs a bit more of an interesting spin to really impress me. You feel like you are eating a healthier option, but not necessarily a particularly flavorful one. Does anyone have any recommendations as to what to order there that has a bit more flavor?
8702 Keystone Crossing
Indianapolis, IN 46240
Noise Rating: 2 bells (out of five)