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Best pub food for lunch in the Financial District?

MC Slim JB Jan 22, 2013 09:08 AM

The Fi-Di seems to have a pub-style place on every corner, but I wonder if the lunch food at any of them is noteworthy. Most seem to have the same predictable British-Isles-plus-American-bar-food menu. I can practically hear the Sysco truck backing up to most of them: there's wings, nachos, a middling burger, some shepherd's pie and fish-n-chips.

Are there any that stand out in any (good) way food-wise? I am interested in a place that serves beer for the purposes of this inquiry, so the worthwhile sandwich shops (La Grassa's, Falafel King, etc.) aren't quite what I'm looking for.

I spend most of my lunch breaks in Chinatown, and I already know the virtues of Silvertone and jm Curley (and Stoddard's on Thursday and Friday). I'm thinking more of the Financial District proper, let's say east of Washington Street. Any thoughts?

http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

  1. davis_sq_pro Jan 22, 2013 09:26 AM

    All in all the pickings are rather (MC) slim. Or, perhaps I should say, about as good as that joke.

    Mr. Dooley's on Broad St. is decent-ish. I've had significantly less decent experiences at various other places in the area.

    Coworkers swear by Battery Park (Batterymarch St), but I was not pleased the one time I tried it.

    1. h
      huuvola Jan 22, 2013 09:32 AM

      It really is an area that yearns for a proper gastropub, but there's not much there. If it is just a quick lunch (1 or 2 beers max), I'd vote for Saus near Faneuil Hall. They serve beer and the frites are awesome -- but also offer sandwiches and salads (and kickass waffles). The beer selection is an example of a small establishment doing it very, very right. Small draft list with (mostly) local beers, and an impressively broad bottle selection -- leaning Belgian, but with many other offerings.
      http://www.eatfrites.com/beer

      The only drawback, of course, is that it's not a pub. I like the interior, but it's not a cozy classic pub --- it's an upscale fast-food joint, with great beer.

      1. g
        Gordough Jan 22, 2013 09:33 AM

        I head a decent lunch last week at the Granary Tavern at the end of Milk Street.

        1. m
          mkfisher Jan 22, 2013 09:54 AM

          It is slim pickings indeed. We usually end up at the Good Life or Kingston Station. Slate over on High St isn't bad. I'd put them all ahead of Battery Park, E&C and Brandy Peet's.

          1. ebone Jan 22, 2013 10:24 AM

            I don't hate Clarke's for this type of inquiry, but I have a hard time saying it is destination-worthy. If I had to pick one in that area though, I guess that is it (If you are excluding Curleys/Silvertone). To be fair, I have not been to Battery Park or Granary Tavern.

            I also like Kingston Station, but I am not sure that fits in your geographical restrictions (if it does I pick that over Clarke's).

            If a good craft beer selection is desired, neither of the two fits that bill well though...

            1. Bob Dobalina Jan 22, 2013 10:33 AM

              Not a pub, but Nix's Mate in the Hilton is great for lunch and chef-driven (Nevins was the opening chef for Neptune) - have had consistently good meals there. Full bar.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                MC Slim JB Jan 22, 2013 01:42 PM

                I like Nix's Mate, even if the menu is mostly boring business-traveler room-service food and dull-sounding bar food. There are a handful of dishes that are pretty inventive, either reminiscent of Nevins's Neptune days or holdovers from his subsequent CT restaurant, like the freaky but surprisingly successful pile-up that is crispy lobster caramel.

                It has a lively bar scene, too. I've found the dining room a bit dull, often mostly empty, and not a home for great service, but as dining rooms at this level of hotel go, it's rather good.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                1. re: MC Slim JB
                  davis_sq_pro Jan 22, 2013 01:49 PM

                  I've only made it for lunch, so I have not sampled the crispy lobster caramel, but I quite enjoyed the "Tuna Tartare Eggy" sandwich. Possibly because I'm a fan of raw tuna and anything featuring a runny egg. As might be imagined, it's a bit of a mess to put these two things together between slices of bread, but the end result is very tasty.

                  Agreed regarding the dining room and the service. Nothing very special.

                  1. re: davis_sq_pro
                    Bob Dobalina Jan 22, 2013 02:06 PM

                    Have had the lobster caramel - it's good, but I would recommend asking it to be more spicy. It needs some thai chile tang to really sing. I think the chiles are listed in the description, so the kitchen should be able to accommodate - I suppose it might have been dumbed down from its original conception.

                    Have had the Tuna Tartare Eggy - it is tremendous.

                    Have had the clam pizza - it was really clammy, as in fresh shucked with a bit of liquor on the pizza - a little unnerving at first because I expected a clean canned clam kind of taste - but that pizza, it tastes like the sea.

                    Agree - decor is ordinary, but certain no worse off than "faux Irish pub." Service was good on my visits.

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina
                      ebone Jan 23, 2013 11:18 AM

                      Along with the tuna tartare eggy (which I also loved), we had the Harbor Island Flatbread (Salami, pepperoni, tomato gravy, mozzarella, leeks, spicy fried rock shrimp), which had a nice combo of salty and spicy from the shrimp and pepperoni. I would like to get there again sometime soon.

              2. a
                asaw780 Jan 22, 2013 10:39 AM

                I'd recommend Elephant & Castle on Devonshire, near the Old State House. Menu isn't amazingly creative beyond the "British Isles plus American bar food" area, but it's good quality and a nice atmosphere. Fine place to have a sit-down lunch.

                3 Replies
                1. re: asaw780
                  trufflehound Jan 22, 2013 11:04 AM

                  isn't that closed along with the Pics?

                  1. re: trufflehound
                    a
                    asaw780 Jan 22, 2013 11:07 AM

                    I'm not sure what the Pics is, but no, Elephant & Castle is very much open. Some of my coworkers went there for lunch today, in fact.

                    1. re: asaw780
                      trufflehound Jan 22, 2013 04:12 PM

                      My bad. Did a littele research.The E and C group also owned the Picadilly Pubs. E and C filed for banruptcy and the chain was sold except the Pics.

                2. Alcachofa Jan 22, 2013 12:13 PM

                  I would pick Anthem over Clarke's any day. If Quincy Market would be considered "Fi-Di" (which I would not, but it is close). Saus is good, but even further away.

                  Kingston Station is much closer to the center of the Financial District than Quincy Market. That's a good pick.

                  What about J. Foley's? Not a huge menu, and not even super-great, but given the narrow parameters of what you're looking for...

                  There's something about Dooley's I don't like, but I guess it's OK. Probably worth being on the list.

                  Disagree whole-heartedly with Elephant and Castle. Might as well be closed, in my mind. I love its true English pub look, though.

                  I wrote off the Hilton after sampling the Caliterra mediocrity. So, Nix's Mate is actually good?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Alcachofa
                    Bob Dobalina Jan 22, 2013 12:57 PM

                    I am admittedly a fan of David Nevins, who helms the place. I think you should give it a try and vet my rec.

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina
                      hotoynoodle Jan 22, 2013 01:02 PM

                      jeebus! that's where he wound up? he was supposed to be at the "new" olives and i know he just couldn't keep waiting for them to reopen.

                      i've eaten at the kinsale (perhaps ot of the radius for you?) more than once and it's decent enough. very good beer selection too.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                        a
                        asaw780 Jan 22, 2013 01:22 PM

                        I was at the Kinsale just this past weekend. Had the Irish Cod sandwich, fried cod with Irish cheddar, tartar, and lettuce. A little simplistic, though admittedly that's how I prefer my fried fish. Didn't knock my socks off, but it was more than acceptable. +1 on good beer selection, and they have a very expansive liquor selection as well: whiskeys, etc.

                    2. re: Alcachofa
                      gini Jan 24, 2013 09:52 AM

                      The Foley's on Kingston smells pretty gross. But they have wireless, so it's a draw?

                    3. Niblet Jan 23, 2013 11:48 AM

                      Barracuda Tavern hasn't been mentioned yet. I like their fish tacos.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Niblet
                        ebone Jan 23, 2013 12:43 PM

                        They do have a good bottled beer selection as well.

                      2. 9
                        9lives Jan 24, 2013 10:16 AM

                        MC, I'm sure you remember the movie, Wall Street and the line from Michael Douglas, "lunch is for wimps"..:)

                        http://www.gotknowhow.com/quotes/lunc...

                        That said, I've had a good lunch at Granary Tavern, Vault (gone).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: 9lives
                          MC Slim JB Jan 24, 2013 10:19 AM

                          I'm new to the neighborhood, so am having fun exploring, but Boston-area faux-Irish pubs seem so interchangeable and frankly mediocre when it comes to food. This inquiry was for a birthday celebration, but mercifully I have managed to inveigle the crowd into doing Peking duck at China King instead. But there will always be a need for pub-type lunches closer to the office, so please keep the recommendations coming!

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        2. 9
                          9lives Jan 24, 2013 10:35 AM

                          Putting aside my joke about "lunch is for wimps." I've encountered very little good pub type food in the Fidi. I often walk to Chinatown..and as I'm sure you know, King Fung is great.

                          If you ever want/need higher end, City Landing is doing good things.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: 9lives
                            gini Jan 24, 2013 11:14 AM

                            Second City Landing.

                            The food truck situation along the greenway is pretty decent - plus there are two Clovers within a 5 block radius.

                          2. Bob Dobalina Jan 25, 2013 05:59 AM

                            Not pub food, but wanted to mention that the Hungry Traveler has a sign for stone pot bi bim bap for $9.99.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Bob Dobalina
                              MC Slim JB Jan 25, 2013 06:20 AM

                              I really like the Hungry Traveler. The owners are Korean ex-pats, and have a daily Korean special or two: japchae, bibimbap, or "BBQ" kalbi, usually. They make their own kimchi, and are tickled when you ask for it.

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            2. s
                              saltandpepper1 Jan 26, 2013 02:06 PM

                              If you like Silvertone then I think you would like Scholar's on School St., especially for the beer selection. I know it's a hike, but there is no better pub food in the city for the money than The Fours. It is worth the walk especially on a nice spring day.

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