Before my roommate moved back to Boston, we were trying to visit all the places and restaurants in our neighborhood that had been our to-do list for a while. One of these was Jones Wood Foundry, a British pub tucked away on east 76th street.
Jones Wood Foundry gets its name because the area between 66th and 77th street and third avenue and the East River used to be known as Jones Wood before it was the Upper East Side, Yorkville, or Lennox Hill. Jones Wood was named after John Jones who owned the area in the early years of the United States. Jones Wood became known as essentially an amusement park/playground, and in 1853, it was one of two tracts of land the state saw as a possible location for a park. The other tract of land was Central Park, which was deemed more suitable because it was more convenient and accessible. Despite this, Jones Wood and its forested land was still seen as as retreat from the busy, urban area downtown. In 1894, a fire destroyed 11 of its acres, and at the beginning of the 20th century, the land started getting developed. The “foundry” party of the name comes from the fact that the building used to house a foundry that made railings, staircases, doors, lampposts, manhole covers, and the like for the city. So, there’s your history lesson for the day!
There are three sections of the place: the bar, the communal table, and the dining room. The bar is at the front of the restaurant, the communal table area looks like you’ve stepped into an antique dining table and has views of a small courtyard (where you can also sit), and the dining room is decorated with beautiful, dark, wooden chairs and other vintage accents. The entire place really feels like a glamorous old home. It’s warm, cozy, intimate, and inviting.
The menu at JWF focuses on traditional British food. They offer soups (like celery root and stilton soup with croutons and chives and butternut squash soup with sage cream and toasted pumpkin seeds, starters (like cod cakes with lemon mayonnaise and arugula and woodland mushroom salad with mint, truffle oil, arugula, and parmesan), mains (like grilled hanger steak with sautéed spinach, caramelized shallots and chips and bangers and mash with caramelized onion gravy), and sides (like yukon gold mash and minted mushy peas).
There is also a section on the menu for “Foundry Pies” that are served with mash or chips, and I knew before I even stepped foot inside the restaurant that that’s what I wanted. So, I ordered the chicken pie with mash, and let me just say that this was by far the best pot pie I’ve EVER had. While I think a lot of things are delicious, it’s not every day that I’m completely amazed and rethink a type of food. Rather than being served in a dish, the pie is stand alone, which shows you how thick the crust is. Everyone knows the crust is the best part of a pot pie, and this one was flaky, buttery, and really just perfect. At first, I was like well, all the gravy is just going to spill out when I dig in…well, turns out that’s not a problem because then it just soaks in my mashed potatoes and still all tastes amazing! And there aren’t any of those processed chicken cubes that you can sometimes find in pot pies. Nope! This one has delicious shredded pieces of high quality chicken.
For dessert, we shared the sticky toffee pudding which came with toffee rum sauce and vanilla ice cream. Moist and rich, it was the perfect end to our dinner, especially because of how it was a little chilly and rainy outside.
I really do love this place. The decor and ambience is spot on and the food is excellent. Take a break from your busy day and have a leisurely meal here. You won’t regret it.
Chicken foundry pie, sticky toffee pudding
401 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021