Jones Wood Foundry | 401 East 76th St. (just off 1st Ave.) | 212.249.2700 | | |
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I JUST RECENTLY FOUND IT fascinating how worked up about—and interested in—a majority of this country's public were regarding the recent wedding of Prince William and Kate, apparently choosing not to consider the thousands and thousands of American soldiers who died desperately defending this country against such monarchies and their social, cultural, and political representations.

I find likewise interesting how quick we are to dismiss all ideas British that pertain to food. We have been brought up to laugh at the idea of spotted dick and insist on not caring what exactly is in black pudding, and we insist that shephard's pie only be made with ground beef, since most Americans don't know why they don't care for lamb.

Yet, as food culture continues to expand the culinary horizons of increasingly curious "foodies" (and, yes, I'm starting to really hate that term too!), American's have learned to not just embrace, but enjoy, foods such as, first sushi, then eventually arepas, uni, kimchee, and even cod milt (Google it).

And so only a few years ago did chef April Bloomfield bring her Spotted Pig to New York City—with much fanfare and great word-of-mouth—introducing its denizens to the gastrobub and the yummy reality that Britain's pony has more tricks to it than fish & chips. And now, Englishman chef Jason Hicks (who previously had cut his very nice teeth executing excellent French fare at Orsay and La Galou) has taken over the kitchen at the "food-driven pub" named Jones Wood Foundry, which popped up just a few months ago, gratefully right up here in Yorkville on the Upper East Side. (Be careful, it's so quaintly tucked away that I walked by it twice...!)

Talk about fanfare and word-of-mouth, JWF's long bar is one-deep long, as we say in the biz, even before dinner service begins at 6 p.m.

Their many outdoor tables were already reserved as well—where I would have preferred to take natural light photos—so I waited for a seat to open up at the bar, ordered a bottle of something called a Skull Splitter (an Orcadian beer!), and perused the many traditional English dishes on the menu.

They offer as well a "toast" menu from 3 – 6 p.m., offering a nice variety of more appetizer-like options, such as chicken liver & foie gras, crumpets (of course), egg & "soldiers" (toast sticks), marmite, and potted shrimp. I decide to first try the Scotch egg.

Excellent start to the meal with a perfectly cooked through egg surrounded by a thin cloud of nicely savory sausage and a crunchy and toasty breadcrumb casing. The side of tartar sauce that came with with was flavorful and zesty, without the egg or the sausage's aromas and savory seasonings.

I have had a Scotch egg twice before in my life and this one excels. I have not, however, had the pleasure of a traditional steak & kidney pie, so I ordered that as my entrée.

I was at first so impressed with the idea that this burnished-brown suet pie crust could completely contain and hold up to its piping hot, meaty, and chunky contents that I almost prepared myself to order the lamb & rosemary pie right there on the spot. Good thing I didn't, as this was well enough a filling and fantastic treat on its own. Only slightly forcing the side of my fork through the crust to reveal the pie's rich interior was a welcome interactive tease. Large chunks of very tender beef and properly firm kidneys made for great chews along with flaky bits of crust, pearl onions, thick carrot slices, and a lush savory brown sauce.

My Irish friend Mike showed up to meet me at JWF halfway through the pie and I let him enjoy a couple of forkfuls off my plate. And although he claimed that the chunks of a meat were bigger than he had experienced in his childhood, he confirmed that the flavors and textures were spot on. The side of mashed potatoes were smoother than my personal preference. but well tasty enough finished them completely.

I had never heard of Sticky Toffee Pudding until I saw it on the menu for Schiller's Liquor Bar, so when I saw it for only the second time on JWF's dessert menu, I had to indulge.

Indulge being the operative word indeed! A very moist and flavorful cake somehow infused with a thick toffee sauce of brown sugar and dark rum, ladeled with treacle (their version of molasses, I guess), and served with a scoop a vanilla ice cream over toasted slivered almonds. Just imagine how possibly good that all sounds, because that's exactly how excellent it was.

The staff there couldn't have been more kind or diligently on-point—What's up, Wes and Stuart!—the only negative of my entire time at JWF being that the dark, intimate lighting of the interior bar is less conducive to sharp photos (of the over 30 or so shots I took with my usually capable $100 point & shoot camera, these are the only ones that came out anywhere near in focus!), which is just as well since this American is looking very much forward to making a reservation to return to the British gastropub, Jones Wood Foundry, to explore the menu more, as well as to take some "brilliant" pictures of their "smashing" food, this time, outdoors where the bountiful light is!

And I highly suggest that you do the same, bar or outside!

Bun Apple Tea!


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Jones Wood Foundry | 401 East 76th St. (just off 1st Ave.) | 212.249.2700 | | |