Longbow proudly advertises itself as the city's only Welsh pub, and plants a flag right in front to stake the claim. It is a friendly place full of local Bay Ridge revelers, can be a bit on the rowdy side, but seems to keep its composure for adults. For those seeking an authentic Welsh experience, it can be a complex process to dig into here, but we tried.
Sitting at the bar before my entire group arrived, I ordered the only Welsh beer on the menu; Tomos Watkins Old Style Bitter ($7.50, below), a complex red amber style beer with sweet and sour notes and a dry finish. If not my favorite, it made me want to try more Welsh beer.
We got things started with three appetizers, beginning with the steak & ale pie ($7, below), which was very hearty and warm. The dough peels off flaky and the thin gravy that accompanies it just adds to the savoriness.
We also tried the bubble & squeak ($6, above), mostly because of its name. Traditionally this dish is made from the leftovers of a roast dinner, and is composed primarily of mashed potatoes. Also inside is cabbage, carrots and peas. Honestly, it did not do much for any of us.
Our meal could not be called fair without the Welsh rarebit ($7, below), melted cheddar cheese aged with beer and spices and poured over thick slices of toasted bread. Doughy, simple, and satisfying.
The entrees commenced with the chicken curry ($13, below), which comes much sweeter than its brothers in Asian countries. Like most curries from the British isles, this one is fantastic lapped up with a generous portion of chips. The curry is very thin, and has subtle flavors mixed with mushrooms, onions, and peppers.
The best fish & chips ($13.50, below) in Brooklyn is boldly advertised on their website, so we had to test this theory too. It's pretty close, I will give it credit. The tarter here is homemade and very tasty, while the crispy beer-battered skin of the cod can hold up to quite a bit of malt vinegar.
I was also satisfied with the lovely Scotch egg ($7, below), which came on a bed of salad. It had a great thick skin from baking, and generous layer of mushy sausage meat between it and the hard-boiled egg. Bites are best taken with the vinegary greens.
The final arrival was the Longbow burger ($14.50, below), which is a juicy patty topped with bacon and served with the Welsh rarebit cheese on the top bun. Simply put, we should see a lot more burgers doing this concept.
Not that many fries came with it oddly, but we had enough from our other dishes that it was not as disappointing as if it could have been if served alone.
Back at the bar, the draught and bottle lists are well crafted with good mixes of English and US crafts, as well as many shelves worth of Scotch. This is a place to come back to and feel amongst friends if you do not bring your own. On the night we came, the bartender was severely overextended but still did her best to make sure we were always taken care of during our stay.