Friday, May 25, 2007

Casey's Bar & Grille

I love it when I can combine history and food and Casey's definitely has both. :) First, a little history.

While Casey's as a bar as been around for over 30 years, the original building built in 1917 started off as a Turkish bath house and made many transformations since then, from a cafeteria than to a part bank, part private supper club. It wasn't until 1969 that Casey's as it is known today began to take shape after it was purchased by Lawrence Frank and Walter Van de Kamp, of Van-Frank Restaurant Inc.

Already famous for creating the Tam O'Shanter Inn, on Los Feliz Boulevard and the original Lawry's The Prime Rib on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills, these two partners now set out to create a one-of-a-kind pub that would withstand the test of time and withstand time it did. Several owners later, Casey is still going strong and serves as Downtown's only Irish Pub.

What's cool about Casey's is that this was the first time I had to walk downstairs to get to a bar or restaurant. Usually, if not at street level, I'll walk upstairs, so Casey's being below street level was something a little different. When I walked in, I just fell in love with the brick entrance, dark wood wall panels, the wood booths and the pictures on the wall, The whole place had a real nice vibe about it.

So let's talk food now. In truth, I wasn't expecting much, but I have to say that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed my meal. I also had tried some of the other dishes that our group ordered and found them tasty as well.

For my entree, I had the Beef & Guinness Pie which was Guinness braised beef with potatoes and carrots topped with puff pastry and I finished it to the last bite. The beef was tender and I really liked the rich flavor of the sauce. Beer and beef was a great combo for this particular dish. I also liked the pastry shell. It wasn't necessarily the lightest, flakiest pastry shell I've ever had, but it held its own. Besides, with the hearty filling, I think that a denser pastry is appropriate.

I also sampled the Sheperd's Pie. The mashed potato topping was nice and fluffy and the filling also had good flavor with the meat being moist and the vegetables tender and not over-cooked. As for the Bangers &
Mash, translated to Sausages & Mashed Potatoes, I had a piece of the Irish sausage and thought that the meat was spiced well. I would actually order any of these dishes on a return visit.

The only thing that I didn't care was for the dessert. I ordered their Brownie Sundae which was a warm fudge brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. Unfortunately, the brownie wasn't very warm and also, I didn't like its texture. The brownie was a bit dried out, so it was a little chewy. So I wouldn't order that again.

Overall, I had a good dining experience at Casey's and would certainly come back for a meal. I wouldn't say that the food was mind-blowing, but for pub food, it was awesome and when you come into a bar that has a sense of nostalgia about it, how can you go wrong?

To see pics, go to:

Casey's Bar & Grille
613 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 629-2353

Casey's Irish Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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