Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 1:02 p.m.
Ah, the Scotch Egg. While the origin of this British picnic or pub staple has been contested, it was often served as a portable snack to Coach travelers in the 1700's. Whether cold in a picnic basket or warm in a pub, a Scotch Egg is a hardboiled egg with sausage packed around it, coated with bread crumbs then fried.
The Scotch Egg is well-known in the UK, but not as common in the US, although you do find them on some pub/gastropub menus. We went to The Rose and Crown in Heritage Square and D'arcy McGee's at Tempe Market Place -- both of which fit firmly into the pub category -- to see who made the better egg.
See which egg wins after the jump.
In One Corner: The Rose and Crown Pub, 628 E Adams St., Heritage Square, Phoenix.
Located in one of the gorgeous old houses in Heritage Square across from Pizzeria Bianco, The Rose and Crown has a large front porch with sturdy wooden tables. It was a welcoming sight to see several people already drinking beer and enjoying the Ramones before noon on a weekday.
We ordered, and when the egg arrived, it was larger than expected and cut into five pieces. The layer of finely ground sausage was thick and a little undercooked next to the egg. The egg itself was cooked perfectly so the yolk had some softness to it. The Rose and Crown Scotch Egg comes cold on a bed of greens with grapes, a large flavorless strawberry and a cup of a dark sticky sauce they call a "chilled fruit relish" but tastes more like French salad dressing from an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet mixed with Heinz 57.
We asked for horseradish or mustard instead and the barman returned with a small jar of Colman's English Mustard and a ramekin of Horseradish Ranch salad dressing, both of which worked MUCH better with the Scotch Egg. We cut the undercooked parts out, and enjoyed being able to pick it up with our hands. It was actually quite good after we modified.
In the Other Corner: D'Arcy McGee's,
2000 E Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe Marketplace, Tempe.
Located in the mall near Harkins, D'Arcy McGee's has an Irish Pub ambiance and young female servers dressed in schoolgirl skirts (Or is it kilts? Are kilts Irish? Are Scotch Eggs Irish?). Our egg arrived pretty quickly and we noticed right away that is was a lot smaller than we expected. One of the wedges had just a wee bit of yolk on it. Served hot, the egg comes with an Apricot-Mustard Chutney. A slaw of thinly sliced vegetables came with the egg. The slaw was pretty, but the creamy cole slaw style dressing was bland. Although the portion is small, the breading was seasoned and had a nice crunch to it. The yolk was a tiny bit over cooked, but the coarse ground sausage was packed with flavor and it all worked well with that delicious chutney.
This was a tough call, because each Scotch Egg had its merits and drawbacks: The Rose and Crown Scotch Egg is bigger, the sausage more refined though underdone, the egg itself was perfectly cooked, and the sauce was terrible (although they brought better condiments to the table when asked); meanwhile, the D'Arcy McGee's Scotch Egg had a tasty sauce, flavorful crunchy coating but was kind of small and the egg was a tad overdone, so we declare each a winner in their own way:
Winner for Best Flavor: D'Arcy McGee's
Winner for Best Presentation: The Rose and Crown