It doesn’t look like much on the outside. Well, actually it doesn’t look like much on the inside, either, although it does have the usual pub appointments. And a free popcorn machine!
It’s also not particularly Irish, although there are a few dishes and brews that nod in that direction.
That all said, we really liked all the food we had. We started with guacamole (which must be Irish, since it’s green). It was obviously freshly made, chunky, and served with a mound of super fresh tortilla chips.
The chef’s salad with balsamic dressing was good, and the Chicago dogs were authentic right down to the green sport peppers and green relish (both obviously Irish).
Perhaps the best item was the chili, which was thick and rich and surprisingly spicy.
On nice days there is a large outside seating area under the trees along the river, which is really lovely.
This is one of the few good Mexican restaurants in the area. The food is a nice mix of authentic and creative. The focus here is on soft tacos and guacamoles and drinks. There’s a nice vibe from all the funky decorations, and an extensive bar for single businessmen at lunch time.
The Achiote Hummus was an interesting low-cal appetizer. The achiote chili flavor dominated, and the jicama was better for dipping than the cucumber.
Tacos Al Pastor De Pollo were authentically served on double corn tortillas. I’ve had pastor pork, but never chicken, and it was good, but not as rich as some. The traditional pieces of pineapple added a nice sweetness.
I would have liked to have tried more tacos, but each order includes two, and you can’t mix and match, which seems like an arbitrary restriction. The guy next to me wanted to buy three tacos, and you can’t do that, either. I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot with that arbitrary rule.
The highlight of my meal was actually the chips and salsa (sold as an appetizer). The chips were obviously home-made, and had puffed up like pomme souffle to give them a delicate yet somehow hearty crunch. The fact that they were slightly greasy could be forgiven, because of that great consistency. The accompanying green sauce had a slight hint of sweetness, and the red sauce had a strong ginger note that made it quite exotic. I couldn’t stop eating these!
The margarita was good if not remarkable. Service was friendly and attentive. The sidewalk dining is a bit too sunny at lunchtime, but might be nice in the evening.
OK, I admit I’m not a huge fan of Irish pubs, but occasionally I’m dragged to one by my wife and discover the food is far above my expectations. This was not one of those times.
A general fogginess from the server about the characters of the beers and Irish spirits available did not bode well. Irish coffee was potable but not stellar, and they were out of the Jameson I ordered.
Sometimes you get decent American bar food in an Irish pub (this even happens in Ireland) so it’s not entirely stupid to order stuff like chili or a quesadilla. The chili was acceptable, the quesadilla about as mediocre as you’d guess.
But what should be really good is fish and chips, and indeed it was beautifully cooked, with a crispy brown batter. Unfortunately it was pretty greasy, and the fish, although tender and flaky had no flavor whatsoever. The accompanying fries were excellent, though.
There was one standout dish, though: the smoked gouda mac and cheese. It was the best thing I’ve ever had in an Irish pub, and the best mac and cheese I’ve had that didn’t involve lobster. This dish might by itself justify a return visit.
Whiskey and burgers. What’s not to like about that concept?
We went with a large group at lunch, so I didn’t have a chance to sample any whiskeys, but we did peruse their list and it’s pretty comprehensive. Only a few really top shelf offerings, but at least a hundred interesting ones. I didn’t see any bargains, but the prices were okay.
The burger was great. Most of our group ordered The Whiskey burger, which had everything I like on it, include bacon that was nice and crispy. Accompanying fries were okay, although the sweet potato ones were a bit better if you like that sort of thing. I opted for the side salad, which was delicious.
Service was friendly, helpful and efficient.
If you visited this place when it was an English Pub you will be happy to know that it is now infinitely cleaner and better run.
What an array of options this place offers! Regardless of the style of beer you like best, they’re likely to offer a very well-made version of it at Crooked Can. The menu is on the wall behind the bar, and offers great explanations of what’s on offer, and how it is made.
Aside from the beers, though, it’s the environment that makes this place special. The concept they had for a new building to house their showcase brewery and synergistic businesses has been perfectly executed. The long counter lets you sip and enjoy your brew while admiring the stainless steel complexity behind the glass was. Or, if you prefer a table inside or out, that’s available, too.
A variety of tasty noshes are available just down the hall, from burgers to pizzas and all sorts of sweet treats. The whole of Plant Street Market is a great place to stop in after work, or enjoy after visiting the nearby Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.
Crooked Can is a great addition to the town of Winter Garden.
This Americanized English pub has a pleasant atmosphere and good service.
There are about a dozen authentic English pub dishes, and a larger selection of American sports bar type items. I only tried the pub pretzels, which we extremely doughy and covered in oil. I can’t recommend them.
There is a decent selection of draft beers, and a somewhat limited bottle list.