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Mar 2, 2012 08:57 PM

True British Pub Food

There's no doubt the essence of 'pub food' has been behind some of the most significant food trends in our country in recent years...
I realize there is substantial discussion about 'pub', 'gastropub', etc across this board but I specifically want something that is British at its roots.

Meals at a number of Michelin-starred British establishments made such a deep impression on me last year; sadly, I fear this excellence within British fare is absent here.

A few criteria in what I seek:

1. Food-driven places only, please.
2. No one trick pony fish-and-chip shops.

Trying to replicate so-called 'Michelin-level' pub fare is difficult, but more than that I most of all desire honest, simple British cooking. And I'm well aware of The Breslin, Spotted Pig, etc - but am seeking beyond these 'obvious answers' (which are more 'gastropub' anyway). Perhaps something less institutionalized. Does it exist?

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  1. For good British/Scottish fare:
    Mary Queen of Scots

    150 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

    Mary Queen of Scots
    115 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

    19 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chuck Lawrence

      Those are good suggestions, all owned/operated by the same team, I believe. The Highlands has a very likable menu, but it's not amazing. Newer Whitehall has a fantastic pressed duck terrine and good mushy pea fritters, which I've found consistently well made across many visits. Both places have excellent cocktails -- mostly Scotch based at the Highlands and mostly gin-based at Whitehall.

      (For the record, I'd give Elephant & Castle a skip.)

      Are there any particular dishes you're looking for? Any British places you have in mind that you're measuring NYC places up to?

      Finally, touchy subject, so please don't read too much into it: Do you consider Irish pubs British? Tir Na Nog is a board favorite, if so.

      Elephant and Castle
      68 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

      Tir Na Nog
      5 Penn Plz, New York, NY 10001

      150 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

      19 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014

    2. Who ever would have guessed that in our lifetimes we'd be seeking out "honest, simple British cooking," which not so long ago was the same thing as saying "barely edible"?!?!

      1. It may help if you tell us some of the UK restaurants that you are remembering fondly, because that will allow chowhounds to recommend Manhattan places with more specificity, as many of us have spent time in London, Edinburgh, etc...

        St. John was fav restaurant when i lived in London, and i'd love it if there was a comparable place here...

        1. Jones Wood Foundry
          Every expat I know loves this place. They advertise themselves as a "food-driven pub." The menu is full of pub classics done really well. FYI, the beans in the beans on toast are Heinz.

          Jones Wood Foundry
          401 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

          2 Replies
          1. re: foodiemom10583

            The menu looks very pricey, though.

            1. re: TMW

              There's an extended, reasonably-priced "Toast" menu that is not shown online. It's definitely worth checking out for a pint and a snack.