Mocksville NC: O'Callahans Publick House
I once heard a quote about the two kinds of people that live in this world, "those who wake up up thinking about dinner and those who don't."
I'm in the former class. A foodie. Not in the critic category, but I love visiting restaurants, cooking food, and playing with different spices and cuisines. I'll probably never get the chance to visit a fancy four star place that sets me back $400, but for the sorts of heartbeat-of-the-earth, homey and ethnic food the whole world eats; here is my first review.
This is the type of joint you see everywhere: long, narrow, with a long bar running half the length of the restaurant. Cozied up in settings around the bar are benches and seats for the multitudes of friends and family that come in.
It's a popular hang out spot for the locals and the place is nearly always hopping. For 2016 they ran $5 burger nights and many of us took as much advantage of that offer as we could. For 2017 they discontinued the special which makes me suspicious that we made them lose too much money.
On Sunday they cook up brunch and for the first time last week a bunch of us went in to try it out. It was a relaxed experience which is a little different from the louder, more crowded bustle of the night.
The servings were not robust and we went in hungry at eleven, but we were satisfied when we left. However when you go for brunch, either do not go terribly hungry or order something more filling like the egg and meat dishes, much like this chicken biscuit and gravy, with corned beef hash on the side.
The corned beef hash was a lightly fried mixture of the beef, potato and onion, seasoned. It came as a side to many of the dishes on the menu.
French toast and corned beef hash.
Crepes with a sweet yogurt, topped with strawberries and served with whipped cream. Thankfully not with a side of the hash. The yogurt was a little grainy and the strawberries were wintry, but the effect of all the ingredients together was pleasant. My greatest complaint with these was the size, because the ones I had in Europe were generally larger, however this is a matter of opinion. To me they seemed puny, to someone else they would be dessert.
Just a break to admire Alivia's super cool, detailed nails.
On to my brunch plate, which was a beautifully toasted bagel with delicate shreds of smoked salmon. I left most of the onions well enough alone and feasted upon cream cheese, bagel, capers, and salmon. I rarely eat onions at restaurants unless they're cooked or fried in some way that makes the rest of the day pleasant.
Eggs Benedict on biscuits, with a side of? You guessed, corned beef hash. Blimey. The best part, so I've been told by its consumer, was the fried green tomato tucked under the eggs.
The most unappealing presentation was the 4 egg omelette with corned beef hash in the center and plain hash browns. Blandly done.
In conclusion: the food was presented moderately well, with the exception of one dish everyone liked their food, and the experience of dining there for brunch was relaxing and pleasurable.
Bonus: how can one not enjoy dining out with such a handsome little lad? Mr. Mason James charms everyone he meets with his adorable face and funny hair. He brunched upon a spoon.
Summary: for a good IPA (tasted on another visit) killer Black and Blue burger, relaxed brunch, or late night watching sports this is your place to go. The prices are moderate with appetizers from $6-10, burgers approx. $10, and more luxurious dishes at $15-$20. If you see they are hosting an event it may well be worth a visit; they know how to throw a party.
Ladies and gentleman, O'Callahans.