Add this to the "are you sure we didn't write about this spot already‽" file.
We like The Elk well enough, but could live without the attitude some of the staff tends to have. Sure, they work in a pub (very hip) in Browne's Addition (so very very hip) where people line up to get a table (hipness running all over my face), but really, we could live without the attitude.
This may or may not be why we prefer The Elk's more laid-back cousin, The Two Seven Public House. While The Elk wears thick rimmed 80s glasses and a 15-inch v-neck shirt, the Two Seven prefers the button-ups and quite possibly also an ascot. It's like The Elk, but slower paced and more quiet.
The menu, also, is just different enough to make it worth the trek to the mean streets of the South Hill. The salpicon, for example, is pretty unique to this region. The beef comes shredded, covering a layer of jack cheese, and is served with a good spicy sauce. As opposed to the trainwreck that was the taquitos at Savory, here the meat is perfectly prepared, and the whole dish has a breeze of freshness blowing from it. The rice might not be the most exciting thing on the planet, but sprinkle some of the accompanying lime on it, and all gets better. As for the flour tortillas... Well, dull is dull, and there's not much more to say about them.
The red wine risotto, a special for the day (or possibly week), also holds a good standard. We're not talking Sante quality, but as far as pub grub goes, it's better quality than what we had expected. A bit more salt wouldn't have hurt it, but the mushrooms are fine, if, again, not super exciting. Overall a good special.
Really, all the food in The Elk Empire has kind of a particular flavor to it. I'm not sure I'd use the word "theme" as that is just a bit too Applebee's-like, but I'm sure you get what I'm saying. There's a familiarity through all of these pubs, and that's great. It works.
Beer selection, at all location, is also pretty excellent, and the Jubelale on cask is something everybody should try before they die. Add it to your Bucket List.
The Two Seven Public House is recommended. Of course, you already knew this, but it never hurts to hammer home the point.