Head of the Class
With a prime Valley location, Public School 818 opens to boffo business.
CategoryEat & Drink
Written byChad Whistler
Backed by the Grill Concepts team, which also owns the longtime showbiz hotspot The Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills and the Daily Grill chain, Public School 818 is a modern gastropub with a seasonally inspired menu that has opened at the highly visible intersection of Sepulveda and Ventura. While it features many
of the same kinds of contemporized dishes that have recently captured the fancy of American chefs—deviled eggs, ahi tacos, tricked-out burgers and desserts in Mason jars—the carefully crafted eats here are a cut above that of most casual eateries.
Classic cafeteria dishes are served with a SoCal twist: crisp bacon cheddar tots are accompanied by sriracha ketchup; an insane mac ‘n’ cheese features chorizo and kale. The menu also steps outside typical burgers-wings-and-beer fare with entrees like the Colorado lamb burger—perfectly cooked and enhanced by a delicious spread of tomato cranberry jam, arugula and brie.
The pan-seared salmon with farro and wild mushrooms and the flat iron steak with truffle butter are two other delights. Meats are tender; presentation is appealing. Portions are generous but not Cheesecake Factory-overwhelming.
PS818 features an interesting, eclectic craft beer selection with 24 taps in all. The generous chalkboard-filled space, evocative of a classroom, is comfortable with plenty of booths. Shuffleboard and dartboards add a fun, retro vibe.
The outdoor patio wraps around the busy intersection, but the noise doesn’t seem to be dissuading diners.
Tip: A pay parking lot is available on Dickens Street, accessible just south of the building off Sepulveda.
The place has been packed since it opened. While our service on two occasions was terrific, we have heard some grumblings about snail-paced waiters who seem overwhelmed. Could just be growing pains—kinks that are worked out in time.
With three other LA outlets (different area codes in name), Public School seems to have stumbled on a formula for growth. In our preliminary exam, we’re giving the new kid an A.