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“english pub” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The White Horse Country Pub

The White Horse Country Pub
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American, Bar, British, Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Local cuisine, Kids, Bar scene, Families with children, Business meetings, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
USA
Level Contributor
100 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“english pub”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013

Take a break from antiquing or leaf-peeping and head to this lovely pub for traditional (and not-so-traditional) fare. Very popular place. It is usually crowded on weekends, so try to go during the week.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Italia222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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291 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    151
    89
    27
    13
    11
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New Fairfield, Connecticut
Level Contributor
452 reviews
210 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
“English theme, adapted for local tastes; highly recommended”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 1, 2013

Quite simply, the White Horse produces some of the best comfort food I've ever had in the Tri-State area. Its 'shtick' is that it is a New England take on an Olde England pub (or, more accurately, modern English 'gastro-pub'). But although the White Horse was founded by an Englishman, it is a delightfully Americanized pastiche on what you might actually find in England. Many of the dishes, for example, may have English-sounding names, but they are localized adaptations of the originals. Other dishes are very original, but the menu descriptions are either perhaps adapted for local expectations, or perhaps they are simply tongue-in-cheek. Describing Crème Brulee as being "English" was one of the funniest examples of the menu's whimsy! The Crème Brulee, by the way - so often something that is unnecessarily messed with, or simply not well executed - was absolutely 100% excellent. A faultless execution of the FRENCH classic!

Fans of original English pub food may miss some obvious items - such as English custard, which is notably missing from items such as "sticky toffee pudding" - but I appreciate that this is probably a pain to replicate when you are based in Connecticut. On the other hand, if you order fish and chips, you WILL also be offered malt vinegar as an accompaniment (which IS a traditional restaurant accompaniment for fish and chips in the UK, although at most takeaway establishments it would be a cheaper liquid known as "non-brewed condiment" sprinkled on the chips, rather than the more expensive "malt vinegar").

Talking of the fish and chips - the fish was beautifully cooked, but I couldn't help thinking how their profit margins would be improved if they served a smaller, more sensibly-sized portion. In Jolly Olde England, you would be lucky to get ONE piece of battered cod as a standard portion, whereas at the White Horse, the plate contained THREE large pieces; impossible to eat all of it unless you really have a ridiculously large appetite. I would also take issue with the "English fries" (or "chips" as they are known in England and many Commonwealth countries (where American "chips" are known as "crisps"). Quite simply, the so-called "English fries" were more akin to American "steak fries" - much bigger than authentic "English fries". However, as another adaptation to meet local expectations, this is not necessarily a criticism, just an observation.

The main criticism I would have of the "fish and chips" is that although the menu says it is served with "English fries", in fact it came with a mixture of potato fries and sweet potato fries. And that just didn't work with the fish. However, the sweet potato fries were delicious on their own and absolutely worked beautifully with the burger dishes, for example.

Talking of the burgers, the Signature House Burger was simply superb. Presenting the burgers in buttery brioche-based buns is a touch of genius, and the burger itself - which I had cooked medium - was juicy and delicious. Other members of our party had different burger variations and everyone was making appreciative "foodgasm" noises!

To see so many people at the White Horse on a Tuesday evening was impressive - and I understood from another member of our party that at the weekend, they have experienced an hour-long wait for a table. I'm not surprised - this is a place where you are unlikely to be disappointed with the food.

Service was a little slow to get started on the evening of our visit - quite a long gap between the delivery of drinks and the taking of our order - but once the order was in, the food appeared quite quickly.

The White Horse has two dining areas - the restaurant area to the left is quieter than the noisy tables out in the bar area, but I'm sure most people would enjoy the atmosphere in the bar area. There are lots of interesting artifacts on the walls, plenty of horse brasses and old signs - mostly British-based. A big feature behind the bar is an old Indian-brand motorcycle. Very cool.

Out in the bar area there is a background of mostly British-invasion music, although the playlist seemed to be interrupted from time-to-time by some tracks that were out of period and out of place wth the general programming. However, all-in-all, the music was well chosen to enhance the overall atmosphere.

If I had one criticism - or could offer one piece of advice (and given the popularity of the place I am cautious about offering ANY advice!), it would be that the menu falls into the trap of being way too large. The place surely isn't trying to be a diner, it's trying to be a pub and restaurant, and many seasoned restaurant-goers know that it is difficult, if not almost impossible, to prep for such a huge menu. Inevitably a huge menu can be a warning that preparation short-cuts may have to be taken - and that can be off-putting for those "in the know". I would rather have seen a cut down menu, with specials on a chalk board, rather than a huge book of a menu PLUS specials! Having said that, apart from a "crispy (or was it crunchy?) chicken" appetizer that wasn't crispy or crunchy, all of the food that came out certainly seemed to be fresh, appetizing and very much enjoyed. So maybe the White Horse has found a satisfactory way of dealing with such a huge menu - or maybe it has a huge kitchen brigade!

Our party unanimously voted the White Horse as a "do-over" and we are looking forward to a return visit. Highly recommended.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank CastawayKnight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, South Carolina
Level Contributor
124 reviews
96 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Worth Repeating”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2013

The White Horse is worth revisiting again and again. Service very friendly, food excellent, prices nice and the atmosphere is so unique with a tavern feel, brookside, fireplace and how about that Indian motorcycle! We had a mushroom soup that was delicious and of course the chicken pot pie--classic. Love it!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank eastcoastdiner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Connecticut
Level Contributor
78 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“great place, but...”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 15, 2013

Overall, a very cool place. The vibe and the energy in the bar area is great albeit quite the zoo on a Saturday night. I like the authentic menu items for a British pub feel.

My two dings against it were the music and the wine. I don't know what the proper music choice should be for a British pub other than maybe British Invasion music, but cranking out The Beach Boys was definitely NOT the answer. Maybe some guitar, acoustic type stuff in the background would be better.

And the wine. We had a glass of the house Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio. We are FAR from wine snobs, but we do appreciate good wine versus cheap wine. These were both very cheap. With the volume of booze this place does, I am sure they can invest in better wines by the glass. Please someone tell them.

Like I said, overall, a fun place for dinner.

P.s. The bar service was a bit slow at times as the bartenders need to develop "bar eyes". (the ability to see who needs service as you are getting drinks and food for others)

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Honest_Direct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level Contributor
562 reviews
401 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 234 helpful votes
“A Little Bit of London in Litchfield”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 13, 2013

Always great food -- creative, generous portions & a wait-staff who tries very hard to please. It's worth the trip and you can always park in the post office lot if their own lot is filled. Very big bar business. The entree of mussels is too large to be believed!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank damg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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