With the various winter holidays, end of the fall semester of grad school, family time, and Christmas shopping pilfering the pocket book, my roommate and I hadn’t had much of a chance to go out hunting for new and exciting restaurants to try. Last Monday, however, we had a full day to ourselves complete with cash and shopping plans and the time to drive into Austin again. Of course, Austin is a HUGE city with more restaurants than a person could eat at in a year, so we spent the drive up to the city then down South Lamar on our way to Half Price Books discussing what we felt like eating that day. There were so many options!
Well, like my sister always says, you’re never really on a road trip until you’ve gotten lost at least once, and while Kass missing the turn we usually take down Manchaca to park at the back of Half Price isn’t technically getting “lost,” this deviation from our normal route caused us to park at the front of Half Price instead as well as stumble on the restaurant we knew we had to eat at that day. It was a cloudy day with the 20% promise of rain, so the gloomy atmosphere seemed perfect for finding a very British-themed place to eat, and when we saw the sign for 221 Baker St. Pub & Grill, we declared that there was where we’d have lunch. You see, one of my best friends, Rebecca, the owner of Black Mood Craft, is obsessed with the BBC show Sherlock, and she, Kass and I all geek-girl squeal over the movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, so this seemed like the ideal place for Kass and I to preview before Rebecca visits us (hopefully in May in time for The Avengers premier on the 4th!).
The choice was excellent. The whole restaurant was done up in British themed decor with an extensive bar and a lot of on-tap beer and cider that’s both domestic and imported (the imported beer and cider are what would naturally catch my eye, though we refrained from drinking with lunch because we just had too much to do before heading back to San Marcos). There was plenty of seating inside the restaurant, and they even appeared to have an outdoor seating area, which would be great during our warmer, prettier spring weather. Some of the outside and inside decor included British bar signs, pictures of British historical figures, a red telephone booth (sorry, Rebecca, no blue police box containing a Doctor inside — we looked for it!), Green Man faces and more.
Of course, the decor wasn’t the only thing that charmed Kass and me. I’ll admit that both of us were expecting the prices to be a bit high, especially for such a themed restaurant. Kass even worried at first that the prices were a bit much when she opened the menu and saw one steak plate costing $14.99 and another, steak and shrimp, at $16.99. However, those were the two most expensive items on the menu, and given that many chain restaurants have steaks in the upwards of $17.99 and higher (add in shrimp, and you’re looking at $20+), this place is a steal. The average price is between $8.99 and $10.99, and they have a lunch menu where several items, which are smaller than their non-lunch portions, are $6.99, such as what Kass and I ordered.
Kass ordered the Shepherd’s Pie, which is described as “Seasoned ground sirloin, cheddar cheese and whipped potatoes. Served with green beans.” There was also a tomato slice on top underneath toasted bread crumbs. This was fantastic. Sometimes in Shepherd’s Pie, the ground meat is really dry and bland, but this was savory and delicious, and the green beans on the side were fresh and obviously sauteéd with onions in what I’m betting was EVOO.
I ordered the lunch portion of the Fish and Chips, which was one piece of fish as opposed to two, and the description is this: “Beer-battered Atlantic cod served with seasoned fries, tartar sauce and malt vinegar.” It had been a while since I had beer-battered fish, and I have to say that this trumped all other beer-battered fish that I’d had. It was a light breading so I could actually taste the nice mild white fish, and it wasn’t overly salty. I’m not a malt vinegar fan, but I do like tartar sauce…from certain places or homemade. Normally, I steer clear from it at most restaurants because it tends to be really gross. Not here! Whatever they use or make (I suspect make) for their tartar sauce is just perfect. It’s not too sweet, not too bitter, not too…weird. It has the best flavor that complimented the fish wonderfully. The fries were seasoned but not overly so, and I didn’t have to add any additional salt.
There are a few menu items that are cutely and creatively named, given the name and theme of the pub. On the menu itself, there’s the Elementary Burger (which is your basic burger) and there’s the Watson’s Chicken Tender Platter. And then on the drink menu, there are a couple of tasty-sounding drinks, one with a particularly fun name that I know Rebecca will squeal at.
And there we go. I don’t have a number rating system on the restaurants that I rate, but I would have to say that if I had to rate this one, I’d borrow Kass’ thumbs just so I could give Baker St. Pub & Grill a Four Thumbs Up. The prices, the atmosphere, the service, the food…everything was 100% fantastic! Go there. Go there right now and tell them that Geek Girl sent you!
If you’re curious where it’s at, you can find them through their website, which I linked above or here are two quick map shots: