2853 Dixie Highway
Crestview Hills, KY
On a recent outing we decided to visit The Pub at Crestview Hills, one in a small chain of British-themed restaurants managed by The Tavern Restaurant Group, which also operates DeSha's, Polo Grille and Nicholson's in addition to The Pub at Rookwood Mews, and Pub locations in Louisville and Lexington.
The restaurant certainly looks like a British pub from the outside, although once inside it feels more theme-y than authentic with it's Pink Floyd posters, kilted servers and gigantic Union Jack ceiling mural. But hey, that's expected considering it's situated in an outdoor shopping mall in middle America rather than England's green and pleasant land. Be aware also that there is no indoor smoking ban in Kentucky as there is in the U.K. (and Ohio), and people can - and do - smoke in The Pub.
According to our server, The Pub's menu has undergone a recent transformation, albeit a change that apparently doesn't extend to their drinks list, where my husband's choice of Carlsberg was still listed as a draught option but isn't. Too bad. I opted for a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, served up in a 10 oz. snifter. YUM.
Among the usual appetizers (spinach-artichoke dip, fried mushrooms, pizza) are a sprinkling of more authentic British fare, of which the goat cheese dip and curry chips are vegetarian. I must say that I am over the moon that they serve curry chips. This is a favorite of ours whenever we go back to Blighty, and I've been known to whip up a mean batch at home on occasion. The dish is similar to American-style gravy fries, but with a curried kick. The Pub's version comes with the sauce on the side rather than poured over and tastes suspiciously like instant curry sauce a la Bisto or McDonnells, but it is still a joy to find on a menu this side of the pond.
Unlike pubs in the U.K., which as a rule offer numerous vegetarian options, The Pub has only one - a portobello goat cheese sandwich topped with roasted red peppers on focaccia bread and served with sweet potato chips and a fried pickle. It is very, very tasty...at least the few bites I had of it, anyway.
I say "few bites" because just after my sandwich and Steve's order of fish'n'chips arrived, we started smelling something weird, like a cleaning solvent or chemical compound. We had managed only a couple of bites before the harsh smell overpowered us and we began to feel dizzy. I thought maybe there had been a chemical spillage in the kitchen, but when we located our server were told that an employee was using a polyurethane varnish on the patio. By the time they closed off the patio from the main dining room the damage was done.
The manager apologized for the blunder and comped our meal, which was good of her to do even though it didn't clear the air - the lingering fumes were too much for us. We ended up leaving our meals virtually untouched and walked out with eyes watering and noses burning.
Without a doubt it was a poor decision to use a pungent varnish during the day. Usually that sort of cleaning is done after hours, once patrons have left the establishment. I guess it's a good thing that The Pub at Crestview Hills isn't located in the U.K. because more than likely they would have been slapped with a fine and possibly even closure by British Health & Safety.
It's a shame that someone's gaff ruined not only our meal but our likelihood of a return visit, curry fries or no.