I didn’t know what to expect from 4 & 20 Pasty Company, mainly because it’s a pasty shop on the gulf side of Florida, but my expectations were low. It wasn’t without research that I learned that 4 & 20 refers to any kind of meat pie, with the usage found from England to Australia.
After one step into the shop, I knew immediately this was going to be a good pasty. The smell overtook me, maybe more so than any other shop I’ve been in. The combination of meat, potato and a well-cooked crust dispelled any of my previous doubts. And then the owner came out with a thick English accent and I was sold.
While the shop has a number of options from a Steak & Blue Cheese Pasty to a Curry Pasty, the best selling one remains the Original Cornish Pasty, according to the owner. Of course, I chose the Original without gravy.
The thing about this pasty is that it may be the first of its type that I’ve ever had. Most of the pasty reviews on this site encompass places throughout Michigan, the pasty capital of the United States. But with this being straight from England, the pasty is a bit different. Michigan pasties have been passed down from generations of coal miners that came from European countries. This pasty is from an owner that is straight from England.
The difference can be seen in the pictures. The crust looks nothing like a pasty you’d find in Michigan, unless I missed a shop. Some may even say it looks like a Cornish pasty. But also as seen in the picture of the insides, it’s not as photo-ready as others. The one I had was flat and dominated by crust.
That’s not entirely a bad thing, as everything works together in unison. The dryness of the crust goes up against the insides and creates an almost perfect combination. I’m not exactly sure what’s in the pasty outside of the usual ingredients and it could be how they season the meat, but it’s almost like a chunky soup inside. According to the site, the pasties are seasoned and then casseroled for tenderness and perfection.
But while these pasties aren’t like anything experienced in Michigan, they are worth a visit. The seasoning on the meat is fantastic and keeps the overall flavor high. There may be too much crust, but in the end, that doesn’t really matter due to the insides.
Found about an hour south of Tampa in the prime vacation spot of Sarasota, 4 & 20 Pasty Company is a great pasty shop that can be visited for a quick lunch, or anyone from the north on vacation looking for a taste from home.
Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Crust: 3 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 4 (out of 5)
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 2 (out of 2)
Total Pasty Ranking: 16 (of 20 points)
(Reviewed Fall 2017)