Todd English: Not Your Typical Bar Food


By Jan Walsh     

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Todd English Pub “raises the bar” on bar food. From surf to turf, every dish has foodie appeal. The Raw Bar features fresh oysters, shrimp, crab and Maine lobster—or combine in a seafood tower. The Carvery boasts prime beef and roasted fowl. Even the sandwiches include an artisanal hot dog and a hand chopped tuna burger. Yet, English’s Southern roots also shine with offerings of baby back ribs, chicken wings, pork sliders, a fried green tomato salad and accompaniments of grits and collard greens.

 

The Place 

The original Todd English Pub is located in Las Vegas. It opened in 2010 and was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012. Birmingham’s Todd English Pub is located alongside the new Westin Hotel in downtown Birmingham. Inside the pub are exposed brick and floor to ceiling windows—lined with tables that provide window seating in comfy red leather chairs. The bar is centered in the space, showcasing a marble encased Raw Bar filled with colorful, tempting seafood. High top tables also dot the space. No matter where you sit, you won’t miss “the game” with 13 large screen televisions. Other spaces include a private dining room, game area, and chef’s table. The pub is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily as well as a weekend brunch.

 

IMG_1180-EditThe People

English was born in Texas and grew up in Georgia and Connecticut. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. After gaining culinary experience in New York and Italy, he settled in Boston, and eventually opened his first restaurant there in 1989, the original Olives. A second location of Olives was later opened in the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. English’s Figs, an upscale Neapolitan-style pizzeria is another famous, multi–location restaurant, which came after Olives. But he did not stop there. English has since grown his restaurant empire to include more than a dozen restaurants across the United States and others abroad. And today he is not only a celebrity chef and restaurateur, he is an entrepreneur, television personality, and author of four cookbooks: The Olives Table, The Figs Table, The Olives Dessert Table, and Cooking in Everyday English. Accolades are far too numerous to name but include James Beard Awards and an Emmy nomination. Executing on English’s vision at the Birmingham restaurant is executive chef Jamie Pruitt, a culinary veteran to English Enterprises. And assisting Pruitt locally is sous chef, Eric Rivera.

 

Favorite Fare & Beers

With more than 100 beers on the menu, this is definitely the place to have a brew. We opted for a Beer Flight and allowed our server Haley to make a wide selection of 12, along with a taste of Mead. And our favorites were Good People Bearded Lady, Old Chub, UFO Unite, Pear Fox Barrel, Kronenbourg 1664, and the Mead.

Seafood lovers will fall for ahi tuna “Tar Tare” and brown butter lobster rolls. The Hawaiian blue fin tuna is beautifully presented on a fried wonton, topped with a bed of seaweed salad. The brown butter lobster rolls are highly recommended. The bread is a light roll, sourced from local Crestline Bagel Company. It is buttery and soft, topped with succulent Maine lobster claw meat and a warm brown butter aioli. Alongside the roll is a tasty and tangy house-made slaw and thick, homemade kettle chips.

From The Carvery comes a selection of rotisserie meats, ordered by the half a pound or pound. We select prime beef and corned beef and combine them with TE Brisket and Pastrami from the Smokehouse menu. The carving board feast arrives with our hand sliced selection of meats, pickles, onions, breads of whole wheat, sour dough, and ciabatta, plus all sauces and accompaniments on the menu. And we have everything we need to make open-faced sandwiches, pile them high, or a plateful of protein. Favorites are the fabulous, peppery, pastrami and the delicately shaved, melt in your mouth prime beef. We could not stop nibbling until dessert arrived—one shake and one cake. We enjoyed scrumptious, creamy Irish Jigs (adult milkshakes) and a warm, chocolaty Minute Molten Cake and ice cream.

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