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Elephant & Castle, Penn and 12th NW.


iamthestretch
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This is supposed to be going in down by Les Halles, in a space that used to be some (other) chain restaurant. Promises "heart-warming comfort foods from Britain", which conjures visions of stodgy steamed puddings with runny custard, but also "imported beers, ales and a variety of single malt scotches," which could be OK. Anyone been to any of their other spots before? Any better than the generic Oirish Craichouses?

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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This is supposed to be going in down by Les Halles, in a space that used to be some (other) chain restaurant. Promises "heart-warming comfort foods from Britain", which conjures visions of stodgy steamed puddings with runny custard, but also "imported beers, ales and a variety of single malt scotches," which could be OK.

I'm actually pretty pumped about this place. Look!

"and the great favorites of American fare such as grilled fish, chicken, pasta and a wide variety of sandwiches."

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There's an Elephant & Castle on Greenwich Av. in Manhattan, but it's rather more upscale and French-influenced than what I'm seeing on the website and apparently unrelated to the chain. Interesting. (For the record, I haven't eaten there.)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I knew this place sounded familiar - I spent a looooong weekend at the Crowne Plaza (which is just shy of a dump) in Philly.  Not impressed.

I have also seen the one in Toronto. 

Just what we don't need.

I wonder if they have a nice selection of bitter/ESB.

It's hard to find a good pint of bitter in DC. Red Hook is all over the place - some places have Fullers. Busara in Glover Park occasionally has Bluebird.

If anyone can fill me in on a good place to enjoy a pint I'd really appreciate it.

Barry

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The original Elephant and Castle is a district in London.

The name may be a corruption of "Infanta de Castile" usually said to be a reference to Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I (in Spain and Portugal, the infanta was the eldest daughter of the monarch without a claim to the throne, around 1600, via the name of an inn to the trade mark of the Guild of Locksmiths (a castle like howdah on an elephant) who flourished in the area

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No, they serve beer and porky scratchings and have sawdust on the floor.

More seriously pubs come in every flavour, from basic to gastro.

Used to be if they served food (a curled sandwich) they could sell alcohol for longer hours, but the licence laws have changed and they no longer need the pretence of serving food to stay open. Some just serve crisps (chips) and snack food, but many serve often very good home cooked food, and some are substantial restaurants.

That said, Nachos and calamari I would regard as distinctly naff and sad, and owe more to the freezer and deep fryer than proper food. Pub food at that level is ploughmans, pork pies, sausage and mash, and maybe a decent roast.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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And if near the coast they should offer good prawn and crab sandwiches.

Unfortunately your are more likely to encounter (Microwaved) nachos in a pub than a decent ploughmans, pork pie or roast.

Not that I have anything against Nachos in principle - they actually make quite good pub sharing food, as long as they aren't glued together with far too much industrial grade melted cheese.

Even the bit's on that 'Pub' menu that have any sort of british heritage are messed up. Roast beef yes, 'Au Jus' WTF? And Sausages and mash comes with onion gravy. No beans and no sodding apple chutney. Don't even get me started on garlic mash.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Since we've pretty much answered the questions at the top of the thread, here's an extension: Are there any worthwhile pubs in DC? I've enjoyed a couple of nights at the Flying Scotsman down on the Hill, but otherwise the pickings are pretty slim. Maybe it's best not to even aspire, as British pubs always take on that unmistakeable Ye Olde Theyme Parkke quality when established on foreign shores. The Irish variety seems to have traveled far more widely, though not necessarily to any better end.

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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There's an Elephant & Castle on Greenwich Av. in Manhattan, but it's rather more upscale and French-influenced than what I'm seeing on the website and apparently unrelated to the chain. Interesting. (For the record, I haven't eaten there.)

Upscale & French? I haven't eaten there either-- but I thought they were known for brunch, burgers and chicken wings. Check out the menu-- I guess you can make a case for French, but I think upscale is a little misleading.

There's another branch of New York's Elephant & Castle in Dublin. My wife & I were surprised to find that this unassuming sandwich place had apparently been the foundation for the gentrification of a whole restaurant neighborhood there! Apparently the chicken wings are famous in Ireland, and at least as of 2000, E & C was featured in all the guides as one of the best restaurants in Ireland! We didn't eat there in Dublin, either-- but we had a number of very nice meals in Ireland that I'd wager were quite a bit better than E & C's offerings.

Edited by SethG (log)

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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The original Elephant and Castle is a district in London.

The name may be a corruption of "Infanta de Castile" usually said to be a reference to Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I (in Spain and Portugal, the infanta was the eldest daughter of the monarch without a claim to the throne, around 1600, via  the name of an inn  to the trade mark of the Guild of Locksmiths (a castle like howdah on an elephant) who flourished in the area

I heard that the district was named after a pub, actually, called the Elephant and Castle. Or maybe it was two pubs near one another. I have no idea if it's true or not, but it's a good story if you're opening a chain of bars.

I was there once; I believe it's where the British War Nuseum is located. The neighborhood's most famous son is the estimable Sir Michael Caine.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Since we've pretty much answered the questions at the top of the thread, here's an extension: Are there any worthwhile pubs in DC? I've enjoyed a couple of nights at the Flying Scotsman down on the Hill, but otherwise the pickings are pretty slim. Maybe it's best not to even aspire, as British pubs always take on that unmistakeable Ye Olde Theyme Parkke quality when established on foreign shores. The Irish variety seems to have traveled far more widely, though not necessarily to any better end.

What's your definition of pub? Do you want food or just beer and atmosphere?

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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We are surrounded by too many abominations, like Sine in Pentagon Row, that claim to be authentic Irish-/British- style pubs. They concentrate so much on decor that they forget what makes these places real.

For starters, get rid of the televisions. Get rid of the piped in music. You want to be authentic? Then get some folks to play it live, preferably with traditional instruments.

Next, fix your beer. Stop pretending that you're the closest thing to Galway this side of the Atlantic and you're serving single pour Guinness that's not cellar temperature or (egads!) Killians Irish Red! It's just not that difficult to bring in quality imports these days from all ends of the spectrum. And pour it through the nitrogen, will ya?

And would it hurt to have a cask-conditioned ale? Even if you can't bring in the Bluebird and put it through the beer engine, why not try partnering with one of the many area microbreweries, or even brewpubs as a "guest ale?"

I'd be very anxious to see the beer list of Elephant and Castle before I pass judgement on them, but I have a strong feeling I know where this place is going -- right down the path of Sine, which I went to once, sat down, saw what they were about, and left, never to return again.

Of course, for that serious authentic feel, adding some slot machines would help! :wink:

I must really be on crack to think that any of this might happen around here, huh?

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We are surrounded by too many abominations, like Sine in Pentagon Row, that claim to be authentic Irish-/British- style pubs.  They concentrate so much on decor that they forget what makes these places real. 

For starters, get rid of the televisions.  Get rid of the piped in music.  You want to be authentic?  Then get some folks to play it live, preferably with traditional instruments. 

Next, fix your beer.  Stop pretending that you're the closest thing to Galway this side of the Atlantic and you're serving single pour Guinness that's not cellar temperature or (egads!) Killians Irish Red!  It's just not that difficult to bring in quality imports these days from all ends of the spectrum.  And pour it through the nitrogen, will ya? 

And would it hurt to have a cask-conditioned ale?  Even if you can't bring in the Bluebird and put it through the beer engine, why not try partnering with one of the many area microbreweries, or even brewpubs as a "guest ale?"

I'd be very anxious to see the beer list of Elephant and Castle before I pass judgement on them, but I have a strong feeling I know where this place is going -- right down the path of Sine, which I went to once, sat down, saw what they were about, and left, never to return again.

Of course, for that serious authentic feel, adding some slot machines would help!  :wink:

I must really be on crack to think that any of this might happen around here, huh?

Well put!

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Since we've pretty much answered the questions at the top of the thread, here's an extension: Are there any worthwhile pubs in DC?

Well, there's the Royal Mile in Wheaton. I know, not technically in DC but it's a nifty place & not a chain. There's a thread on here somewhere for it.

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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