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Best Shepard Pie in the Bay Area?

alexdesignz Nov 16, 2007 11:09 AM

Just wondering since it is a hit or miss usually

  1. j
    Joan Kureczka Nov 16, 2007 11:45 AM

    I've quite liked the offering at O'Reilly's in North Beach, with the addition of cheddar to the topping.

    1. psb Nov 16, 2007 12:10 PM

      i cant speak to "best" but i thought the SP at the Chieftain was decent [SF: 5th & howard].

      also you could try chez maman in potrero hill. at least if hachis parmentier counts.

      i'll be interested in what others suggest in sf/berkeley area too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: psb
        Davidmyboy Nov 16, 2007 08:38 PM

        The best SP that I know of is at Hannigan's in Los Gatos. I love to order it on a cold winter day, keeps me warm and full for hours.

      2. j
        JockY Nov 16, 2007 11:38 PM

        I've never had a good shepard's pie at a restuarant. For a start they all seem to use ground beef instead of lamb. Traditionally the meat is in chunks, not ground. The dish made with ground beef is really a Cottage Pie.

        10 Replies
        1. re: JockY
          ML8000 Nov 17, 2007 02:36 AM

          Kensington Circus (in Kensington) serves shepard's pie w/ lamb, i.e., not a cottage pie. I haven't had one but the fish and chips are good.

          1. re: JockY
            NoeMan Nov 17, 2007 07:23 AM

            Chunks wouldn't work for me and I've never seen it that way in Ireland. My fave has always been my (Irish) wife's. She does 2/3rds ground lamb and 1/3rd ground beef. Never thought to look for it in a restaurant. Having said that, all our Irish friends are raving about John Campbell's on Geary. I bet he does a good one. Never been, just a gut feeling, would love a report.

            1. re: NoeMan
              JockY Nov 17, 2007 11:05 AM

              Ground or chunks - I guess it's a matter of personal preference so long as the meat is lamb. It's one of those dishes that has any number of variations depending on whose mother/grandmother (and on back through time) made it at home.

              1. re: JockY
                NoeMan Nov 17, 2007 04:01 PM

                Thank goodness for Grandmas.

                I think they minced the meat because as original peasant food the quality/cut of meat was probably poor and would make for chewy chunks. Tender chunks of good meat would be great.

                1. re: NoeMan
                  JockY Nov 17, 2007 08:57 PM

                  That's a good point. Like the idea that the corned beef and cabbage we dish up on St Patrick's Day is a traditional Irish food. The average Irish peasant in the 19th century would give his eye teeth for corned beef. It was more likely to be the toughest cut of meat imaginable, boiled to death to make it edible.

                  But, all this talk of shepherd's pie got me craving some so that's what I made for dinner tonight.

                  1. re: JockY
                    NoeMan Nov 17, 2007 11:07 PM

                    That sounds like a good approach, when in doubt make your own.

                    In Ireland back then and now they actually have bacon and cabbage, more pigs than cows handy I guess. Corned beef was the closest thing they could find over here so it became the substitute, and later an Irish American institution.

                    1. re: JockY
                      Civil Bear Nov 18, 2007 10:39 AM

                      >>"The average Irish peasant in the 19th century would give his eye teeth for corned beef. It was more likely to be the toughest cut of meat imaginable, boiled to death to make it edible."

                      Not to suggest that corned beef comes from Ireland, but it does come from the toughest part of the cow (brisket). As you say, only boiling, basting, or smoking it beyond well-done makes it edible.

              2. re: JockY
                rworange Nov 17, 2007 07:57 AM

                Never knew about the lamb. I always had the beef version. Makes more sense about why it is called Shepherd's. Wikipedia mentions the lamb, but says it is minced.

                What does the original poster consider a good version. What have been the hits and what are the misses?

                Haven't tried it but the new Wunder Brewery on 9th near Iriving has it ... the ground beef version

                There's a cool new site that searches restaurants for a specific dish. In addition to the places mentioned in this thread has anyone tried it at
                - Tiernan's

                Under the spelling Shepherd's pie, only O'Reilly's that has been mentioned, makes it with lamb. Any one tried it at
                - Durty Nellie's
                - Elephant & Castle
                - Fiddler's Green
                - Irish Bank
                - Kells Irish Restaurant & Bar
                - Pig and Whistle
                - The Bitter End

                1. re: rworange
                  Xiao Yang Nov 17, 2007 09:03 AM

                  Good website find. It also lists Liverpool Lil's as using lamb, BTW.

                  1. re: rworange
                    lexdevil Nov 17, 2007 02:59 PM

                    For anyone confused, "mince" in the UK = ground in the US. At the butchers one orders lamb mince, pork mince, beef mince, etc.

                2. Xiao Yang Nov 17, 2007 06:44 AM

                  Has anyone tried John Campbell's version? I assume you can get it at the Blarney Stone if you don't want to do takeout. I've heard that Durty Nellie's in the Sunset also serves Shepherd's Pie..

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Xiao Yang
                    rworange Nov 17, 2007 08:36 AM

                    Blarney Stone only serves food for brunch on the weekend and the menu doesn't list shepherd's pie. I'm sure though since it is John Campbell's that is providing the food for brunch, they would heat up a shepherd's pie if asked.

                  2. k
                    kresge86 Nov 17, 2007 03:51 PM

                    Thanks to this thread, I just tried John Campbell's for the first time. Yummy. His Shepherd's Pie is made with ground beef. I didn't try it, but the Chicken Curry Pastie, Beef Pastie, Sausage Roll, Chocholate Chip Scone, and Plain Scone were all very good. I especially enjoyed the Beef Pastie (fresh out of the oven), and I assume that the same or similar filling is used for the Shepherd's Pie. BTW - Warning on the Chicken Curry Pastie - it's much spicier than the English versions I've tried.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kresge86
                      NoeMan Nov 17, 2007 03:58 PM

                      Sounds great. Thanks for the report.

                    2. alexdesignz Nov 17, 2007 06:44 PM

                      Thank you for all the helpful leads... This was my second post here and you all have been very helpful

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