When a new restaurant opens in town, people often tell me a month or two later that it’s still on their list of spots to try. Not so with the Little Pub. Just a few weeks after the much-anticipated pub opened its glossy red door, many had eaten here multiple times or at least grabbed a drink at the bar. Fans of the Ridgefield and Wilton locations knew that this is the type of place that serves up quality comfort food, coziness and convenience. Outside, it’s an authentic Tudor-style pub-meets-Hansel & Gretel’s cottage with the nontraditional upgrade of valet parking. The restaurant is set just over the crest of a hill on the Post Road, and occasionally traffic backs up with cars trying to turn into its parking lot. An outdoor wood-burning fireplace sets the mood, scenting the air as you walk in. Inside, the rustic pub theme dominates, starting with a sign reading “The Tally Ho” above the entry to the bar. It continues with wide-plank flooring and old barn beams on the ceiling punctuated by iron chandeliers that cast a dim, forgiving light.
By the time I ate here with friends for a tasting dinner, we had already visited four times, for weekday and weekend lunches and dinners. Our most recent meal happened on a cold, pouring-rain Friday night before 7 p.m., an ideal evening for warming up by the large stone fireplace, though we weren’t the only ones with this bright idea and our friends got stuck in that potentially dangerous valet waiting line that winds up the street. Still, we managed to score a table with banquette seating on one side, close to that hearth, one of the last available. Kids are welcome here—our group loved the Wikki Stix they were given to play with while waiting for the meal—but the pub attracts couples and groups out for the night, too.
Unlike the pared-down menus you might find at a British pub, this one has loads of variety and starters to pair with drinks. The by-the-glass wine pour is generous and the beer selection ample—another reason to walk here or have your Uber app ready. Appetizers we liked include the Parmesan-laced Eggplant Fries (a massive portion) served with a garlicky, creamy aioli; the Ladder Co. #1 wings, with just the right level of spice; and the Harvest Bruschetta, a crostini with goat cheese, squash and balsamic. Crunchy spring rolls are tasty but a little greasy.
If you can resist the more indulgent sandwiches (see: Buttermilk Chicken Wrap filled with fried chicken, tater tots, avocado and barbecue sauce), the salads are fresh and satisfying. There’s a $2 charge if you want to share a salad and have it split between two plates, but our server was happy to bring the Iceberg Wedge Salad chopped to make it easier for everyone at the table to grab a little. One of the most decadent salads, this one is heaped with blue cheese, tomatoes and dressing, the perfect partner for burgers and steaks.
My go-to entrée when I want something healthier is the Ahi Tuna Tacos, an artful arrangement of rare tuna, greens, jicama-mint slaw and a refreshing wasabi-lemon yogurt sauce, plated with the tortillas on the side, so you can fill them to taste. At our most recent dinner, however, we were all about the comfort food. When you have a major appetite, consider the Steak Frites, a sizeable New York strip that’s served with caramelized onions and mushrooms over garlic bread. That pub classic of Fish 'n' Chips is crispy and authentic, no trace left on the plate; shepherd’s pie is done with turkey instead of lamb and sweet potato tater tots, a clever spin on the original. Texas-sized burgers showcase some of the best, juiciest beef I’ve tasted in ages, with fun topping combos like the Habañero Jack with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, sautéed onions and habañero aioli; and Graceland with grilled bananas, bacon and Thai peanut sauce.
I can’t imagine polishing off a meal here and still wanting dessert, but if you do, check out the specials like the cheesecake with caramel sauce (it looked like “zebra stripes” one of the kids said). We each had a bite. Our server offered to gild the lily with some whipped cream. What could we say but yes?
531 East Putnam Ave., Cos Cob, 203-717-1147
Hours: Mon.– Sun., 11:30 a.m.– 10 p.m. (Bar open later)