Sunday, April 1, 2012

Village Pub, Gulfport, FL

I had the delightful opportunity to snarf my way around southwest Pinellas county this weekend due to a friend's birthday celebration in Gulfport on Saturday night, which I felt was bound to leave UD and me too wine-fueled to even think about driving. With that in mind, we booked a charming room at Sea Breeze Manor Bed and Breakfast for the evening...just a short stagger from the party venue of La Cote Basque (which I'll get to later in the blog).

After checking in around two, we were both ravenous. It was monsooning, so we grabbed an umbrella and agreed to roll the dice and hit the first place we came to for lunch as we set out on foot. Lady Luck was clearly not with us on this particular occasion.

Village Pub was dry and appeared to be relatively clean, but that's where its charm ended. I wasn't expecting much from the cuisine since British pub food would probably be my verylastchoice in the world, so I wasn't as disappointed as I could've been. The offerings were inexpensive, but lower price doesn't necessarily have to equal no love and no soul. However, in this case, it did.

Dogboy was about to lapse into a diabetic coma, so we ordered some naan right off the bat, which was anemic-looking and clearly served straight from the plastic bag without butter or any other accoutrement.

Service was rather harried and I felt somewhat pressured to make a quick decision. Since nothing on the menu turned me on much (besides fried clams, which our waitress admitted were frozen), I defaulted to the roast beef sandwich thinking it would be relatively tough to eff up. I guess I shouldn't try to reason when I let myself get this hungry.

Thick slices of gray, overcooked, dry roast beef were presented on a wan hoagie roll (again, right out of the bread bag sans toasting) with no garnish save a ramekin of au jus. When I asked for some mayo with which to moisten this monstrosity, our server pointed to a dusty basket on a ledge above our table containing plastic condiment packets that looked like they'd been sitting there since the '80s. The steak fries, while also obviously of the frozen variety, were fried to crisp, golden perfection and probably the highlight of my lunch.

The spousal unit's liver and onion entree was equally overcooked and served with bland frozen veggies that had the taste and texture of something that had been poured onto the plate straight from the freezer bag and left to thaw there. Mashed potatoes were tasteless as well...most likely pre-fab, but at least a notch above Potato Buds (barely). Jimbo, who has spent time in Ireland and "dined" in its pubs, attested to the fact that "overcooked" and "bland" are key elements in bona fide pub cuisine, so I guess I could make a leap of kindness and call the food here "authentic".

We got out for around $40 with two domestic beers apiece. Considering service, quality and the sterile ambiance (with the exception of a water view, which seems to give many restos a license to stay in business despite their lousy food), I honestly would've been just as satisfied (maybe more so) with a McDonald's Value Meal. Being in a relaxed and generous mood (having been drinking beer all afternoon), I will rate this lunch as mediocre at best...but will probably be back to edit that downward the next time I'm feeling hormonal.

Village Pub on Urbanspoon

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