I went to re:public restaurant and bar for lunch today with a group of friends to celebrate the Christmas Season. Re:public is in South Lake Union on Westlake near the cross street of Republican. It is located in a cool old brick building that has probably seen a 100 year of changes in the Lake Union neighborhood. The inside of the Seattle restaurant shows off the brick and the beams of the old building. The restaurant has a large bar and you could tell that place probably is packed at Happy Hour with all the people that work around there. I asked my friends and they confirmed it.
The menu looked good. Not too many items to pick from, which I like when the options are good. The top of the menu had 3 or 4 salads to pick from, the middle of the menu had about 5 sandwiches, and the bottom of the menu had about 4 items for entrees. I concentrated on the middle of re:public’s menu where they featured a Kobe burger, Kobe bacon burger, Reuben sandwich, crab melt, and I think a tuna salad. They all looked good; and I was having trouble deciding between the bacon burger, Reuben, or crab melt. I went for the crab melt on the condition that my wife ordered the Kobe bacon burger, so I could try it. Then we started to order and after going around the table, 5 Kobe bacon burgers were ordered and one crab melt.
The crab melt was very good. I have talked about my love of cheese before, but I have to admit, I often shy away from crab melts because, dare I say it, a lot of times they have too much cheese on them when I order them in restaurants in Seattle. This crab melt was perfect: it was light on the cheese and I could taste the crab (which often gets drowned out). It was served on grilled sourdough, and it looks like it was made in a Panini maker. I order the side salad which was light, but good.
I was not impressed with the Kobe bacon burger. The burgers came on those buttery type rolls, which looked good but the buns dwarfed the meat. It seems they make their own patties at the Seattle restaurant, since the burgers were all shapes and sizes, but all on the small side. The restaurant also overcooked nearly every burger – the largest one had a sliver of pink in the very middle. The cheese was very light (unlike on my crab melt, I think this is a big mistake to go light with the cheese on a burger). Finally, they came with two strips of bacon. Although there was ketchup on the side, there was nothing else to add (tomato slice, lettuce, mustard, etc). I do not know if that stuff was need or not, but just an observation. Really the most disappointing thing about the burgers was their size and that they were overcooked. I did not hear the waitress ask how to cook them, but maybe you could order the burgers medium rare and at least that issue would be solved.
I will say the burgers came with fries, and the fries were pretty good: salted with sea salt, cut thicker than say any fast food restaurant in Seattle, but not too thick. And you could see the potato skin on the ends. They kind of reminded me of Seattle’s famous Dick’s Drive-In fries but thicker.
It was my first time I was at re:public, since I do not make it down to South Lake Union for lunch very often, so I hate to judge the burgers so critically with one visit. I guess all I am saying, is the Kobe bacon burger looks real tempting (5 out of 6 ordered it), make sure you order it the way you like it cooked and do not go with an empty stomach.