WTGW 3/29/17: Hooley House, Fairlawn – REVISIT

Standard

Oh, Hooley House. I remember when we first met, two years ago (almost to the day, ironically – what does it say about our timing when we continuously pick an Irish place in the weeks following St Patrick’s Day?) – we were so excited to finally get there, so filled with promise for what you could be for us … and then we left disappointed.

In remembering that first visit, or main contention was … well … pretty much everything. The service was extremely slow, our glasses were left empty for 20+ minutes at a time – even when we were seated essentially right next to the auxillary bar, the burgers weren’t cooked to our individual specifications, and my chicken sandwich may or may not have been trying to kill me.

But the apps were good, so score one for them there, I guess.

At the time, we chalked it up to the fact that they hadn’t been open long, so they were probably still working out some kinks. Plus we also chose poorly on our seating for the evening, not realizing that there was another full bar and dining area with far more seating – and that was consistently beating us in the loudness and “sounds like fun is happening over there” departments – opposite from where we were sitting.

But even with all those negatives, we still always talked about going back to give it another chance. Because we’re fair like that.

This time around we knew right off the bat not to make the same mistakes in the seating department, and requested to head for the opposite site – otherwise known as the “East Eden” to our last visit’s quieter side. And while it was definitely an improvement, we also weren’t instantly in heaven.

Maybe it was because we also happened to be there on trivia that night. And I think we’re learning that’s a whole different crowd on those nights … who don’t particularly care for people talking loudly when they’re trying to be all smart and stuff, and who shoot us looks of death when we have our cell phones on the table. Hey, listen, we’re taking pictures of food for important research, not googling your answers. Well, OK, maybe we’re doing that, too … but don’t worry, we heard the rules, and we’re not playing your little game anyway. We just like to pretend to be smart, too.

Also, the girl hosting the trivia on this particular night had an amazingly monotone, still-not-loud-enough-even-with-a-microphone voice that was putting me to sleep. Because that’s good for bar business.

So clearly we’re off to an amazing start already.

But nevertheless, we ordered beer, because, well, that always seems like a good place to change the tides for the better. Ted started off with a Guinness. I asked which Leininkugel’s seasonal was on tap, since their “winter specials” table tents said Cranberry Ginger, but it’s after St. Patrick’s Day so that technically means spring in Ohio, and usually the Summer Shandy is out by now.

The server’s answer pretty much ambiguously implied it could be either. Oh, OK. Well luckily I like either one, so whatever, I guess, just give me what pours out of that tap, please.

Meanwhile, Shane ordered something from the same “winter specials” flyer that involved Guinness mixed with the seasonal Cranberry Leininkugel’s.

Me: You know, if they don’t have that cranberry beer anymore, they won’t be able to make that drink.
Shane: Oh, good point, you’re probably right.

Sure enough, about two minutes later our server appeared with mine and Ted’s beers, and that exact message for Shane.

Just call me Miss Cleo.

So Shane ended up with a Michelob Ultra. Probably tasted exactly the same.

Speedy Ted wasted no time and tried jumping right to appetizers as we were putting in the drink order, so Shane and I scrambled and just came up with our usual of late – pretzel sticks.

Because really, if you mess those up we should probably just leave.

My addiction to bread continues

Fortunately we didn’t have to chug our drinks and bolt for the door, as these pretzels were delicious. They were done just right so they were slightly crispy on the outside but still doughy inside. And straight from the oven just like last week at R Shea’s – only this week it was Shane who lost a few layers of skin just trying to eat them. He tried about four times to pick one up, each time about 30 seconds from the last, and continued to declare them “still hot.”

Catches on quick, that one.

Meanwhile Speedy Gonzalez over there had been so impatient to order because he had his eye on the Maple Glazed Bacon app – which he had spotted on another menu somewhere not WTGW related but never got to order then, so he was all about ordering it now. The app is really just what the name suggests – bacon strips cooked and coated in candied maple syrup. So basically kind of like your entire breakfast served in one cute little bar glass, and without the carbs of pancakes.

The perfect breakfast in a glass

And he wasn’t disappointed. To quote Ted, “It’s like you soaked your bacon in maple syrup. And come on, it’s maple and bacon, what’s not to like.”

We don’t ask for much, people. Really.

As I mentioned already, we were once again coming off the corned beef fest that is an Irish holiday, so we may have been just a tad burnt out to order anything remotely Irish on the menu. Shane and I actually ended up with a bit of a southwestern theme between us – he ordered the beef quesadilla, which I made fun of him for ordering at an Irish place … and then I promptly turned around and ordered a spicy black bean burger.

Don’t judge.

On the other side of the table, Ted ordered the BBQ bacon burger, thus proving that apparently his theme for the night was just “whatever has bacon on it.”

And just like our last visit to HH, the apps were better than the actual meals. We all thought our food was just OK. Ted thought his burger was alright, but that the tater tots were too salty. I also was not a fan of the tots – and that’s not a sentence I say many times. But I also just had really good tots at a restaurant in Chicago a few weeks ago, so that memory may have infringed on my opinion here.

Look at those tots. Just look, though, because eating them isn’t recommended.

My burger was OK, I liked that it had lots of avacado, and my bread loving self was of course a fan of the soft bun (that’s what she said …). But I could’ve done without the overload of onions that seemed to not want to be evicted from the sandwich.

Ignore my half eaten pretzel stick, that didn’t come with the entree

Shane said his quesadilla was also just OK, nothing special.

Mex-Irish

Our server was good, very talkative and sweet, although she did disappear a few times when glasses were empty and not reappear until we were about ready to go up to the bar and order for ourselves. Do they teach that tick to all of the servers here? I seem to remember that disappearing act happening a lot on our last visit. But she also tried to give Ted an extra Guinness at the end of the night, so maybe that was her way of making up for it? I’d like to say we’ll return to find out, but that’s probably pretty doubtful at this point. The way things have been going with this place so far, the third time is either the charm … or one of us ends up with food poisoning. That’s a game of Russian roulette I’m not sure any of us are willing to play.

Re-picked by: Shane
Original pick by: Amanda
Next pick: Steph

Steph

Ted

Shane

WTGW 1/18/17: Melt Bar & Grilled, Fairlawn

Standard

OK, I know what you’re thinking … how has this group never been to Melt before? I mean, we find obscure little places like Joey’s Kendal Tavern and The Caddyshack Inn … but somehow Melt – and its ever-growing list of locations across Ohio – has been off our radar?

Yeah, no. There’s actually only one person in the WTGW group who hasn’t visited one of these restaurants before. And once I say his name, I bet you’ll realize why.

Ted.

Surprised? I didn’t think so.

OK, so does it surprise you that cheese-hater, I’ve-ordered-a-pizza-without-cheese-on-it Ted actually not only voluntarily walked into a place where the menu is pretty much almost entirely made up of grilled cheese sandwiches – but he was the one who decided we should go there?

Yeah, define irony.

So for those of you who may have been living under a rock these past 10 years or so, Melt is one of those kind of iconic Cleveland restaurants – one of those like “oh, you’ve never been to our city before, you should try this place” kind of restaurants. They have several locations – the original in Lakewood, then three or four more around the Cleveland area (Cleveland Hts, Independence, Mentor), and have also recently branched out to Columbus. Clearly grilled cheese is kind of a big deal.

This location in Fairlawn is one of the newest, opening at the end of last year. In another twist of irony, we actually tried to come here for WTGW a few weeks back … specifically the week between Christmas and New Years. And being that this is a fairly new location, we expected it to be busy … but not “sure we’d love to wait an hour for grilled cheese and beer” busy. So we gave up that night.

In a related story, since we were out, it was Wednesday, we were hungry, and we’re all about going somewhere new, we tried venturing down the street to check out the newly opened Fairlawn location of Burntwood Tavern … and were greeted with the the same predicament. Apparently everyone goes out that Wednesday between the holidays to exchange gifts in restaurants and meet up with long lost friends who you sit at tables for hours talking to. Who knew?

That night eventually took us to the one place in that area we actually hadn’t been to and knew there would be no wait – Yellow Tail sushi buffet. Also now known as Shane’s version of heaven. Guess we really should’ve reviewed that one, too – but I couldn’t keep up with photographing all the plates that he and Ted kept showing up with at our table.

Anyway.

Back to this week – we arrived at Melt at about 7pm and there was no wait at all. What a difference a few weeks makes.

So, circling back to Ted, his dislike of cheese, and the irony of him picking this as his WTGW choice … when asked why he picked this place this week he pretty much stated that he got tired of everyone asking him if he’d been here before, and wanted to see what all the hype was about.

Alrighty then. Reasonable enough.

So it made perfect sense that when it came time to order his meal, he ordered his grilled cheese sandwich WITH NO CHEESE. Seriously Ted? That’s a curveball. I mean, are you truly experiencing the place if you leave out the key ingredient to their signature meals?

The best part was that instead of being outraged, surprised, or ousting him for being the cheese-hater he is, the server didn’t blink at all when he ordered. Which means there has to be someone else (or potentially even more than ONE someone else) out there who has done this same thing.

Ted may just have to start eating at Melt every night until he meets those people. They can start a club.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. To start the night we of course ordered drinks. Because you didn’t see that coming, I know. Vanilla vodka and OJ for me, Bud Light for Shane, and a Founders Breakfast Stout Nitro for Ted. Which came in the smallest glass possible for a beer.

It's a dainty beer glass

It’s so dainty

Shane was jealous I didn’t take a pic of his fancy bottled Bud Light. Because we’ve never seen one of those before.

For apps we got the fried pickles and the fried green tomatoes. Yeah, that’s a shocker. It may be a new year, but we still like to test our abilities to clog our arteries and remain on this side of the dirt apparently.

Mmm, fried goodness

Mmm, fried goodness

Both apps were tasty. And, well, they were kind of the same food, just different vegetables under the batter, so really how could we like one and not the other? Even the sauce was the same for both dishes – but that’s OK, because that was truly the best part in my opinion. Even though we still weren’t exactly certain what it was made of or where we’d tasted it before (and no, Shane, there was no ginger in it). I could probably order just a bowl of that sauce and eat it with a spoon, like soup. Because I’m sure that’s healthy. And not weird at all.

I'll dream about you, yummy orange sauce

I’ll dream about you, yummy orange sauce

Ted got the Hot Italian sandwich (ham, pepperoni, salami, garlic, provolone, romano and banana peppers) – which I already mentioned was lacking cheese. Weirdo. And fries.

But what holds it together if there's no cheese?

But what holds it together if there’s no cheese?

He said it was above average but not necessarily something he needs to have again. Also said they definitely weren’t shy with the meat (that’s what she said!) and that he struggled to finish the entire thing (that’s what she … oh, never mind) along with all of the fries – so it was definitely a lot of food.

I got a half sandwich of the Smoky Russian (smoked turkey, saurkraut, gouda and something called “zippy sauce” – I wasn’t going to ask) with a side of the vegetarian chili.

It's like a baby Melt

It’s like a baby Melt

The half was a great option, I wasn’t absolutely stuffed when I left, but full enough. Even though my sandwich had cheese, it still wasn’t held together real well (it seemed to be one of the smaller ones – and by that I mean it’s not stacked a foot high with ingredients – which was what I was looking for) but yet I still ate most of it picked apart with a fork instead of picking it up and eating it. If I were to get it again I might request a meltier cheese. Meltier? OK, so maybe that’s not really a word. A cheese that melts better. You know what I mean.

The chili was amazing. You would never guess there was no meat in it, because it was still very thick and chunky. (OK, that made me feel a little gross just typing that, but you know what I mean). It also had a lot of flavor without being too spicy.

Shane got the Purple Parma (eggplant, marinara, garlic, mozzerella and romano) with fries.

Is that parmesan cheese or powdered sugar?

Is that parmesan cheese or powdered sugar?

He ended up taking half of his home. He said it was OK but that “for all that was going on there, there didn’t seem to be much flavor.”

Overall, it’s a fun place that as mentioned is kind of a “Cleveland thing” – so you have to say you tried it at least once. Even if you’re Ted, who can now tell all those people to shove off, because even a cheese-hater can eat there. I mean, I doubt he’ll be going back anytime soon, and he especially won’t be trying the Melt Challenge, and all of it’s huge pile of fries, giant plate of cole slaw, three slices of grilled bread and TWELVE CHEESES glory. For real? I’m not sure I could even name 12 cheeses, much less know what to do with all of them lined up in front of me.  I mean, does the cook just take all the available cheese at that moment and throw it on the grill? Does he count put all twelve? Do you know if he leaves one out? And most importantly WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THAT SANDWICH COOLS AND THE CHEESE HARDENS? It could probably be considered a weapon at that point.

BTW, someone tried this insane challenge while we were there this evening. He seemed very confident he could do it. Sadly, he left with two to-go boxes full of the remnants of his $35 meal-o-cheese, some dented dignity, and what appeared to be a need for some Tums and Pepto. Ouch.

We forgot to do our usual rating system photos at the table, so had to do them by the front door before we left. Thus resulting in my husband taking what probably could be called the single worst photo of me of all time.

Steph

Steph … we think

Seriously, what’s up with the lighting? Did he not see that when he was taking the photo? I mean, Ted has taken better photos of me when the camera is in motion.

Let’s just forget we ever saw that, OK?

Shane

Shane … of course he looks normal

Cheese-hater Ted

Cheese-hater Ted

Picked by: Ted
Next pick: Shane
Melt Bar & Grilled Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WTGW 8/31/16: Bomba Rum & Tacos, Fairlawn

Standard

OK, let’s be honest, do I even need to write a review here? I mean, this place has the words “tacos” (delicious) and “rum” (even more delicious) right in the title. Could anything be more up our alley? It’s like someone fashioned a WTGW oasis just to lure our group into its clutches. The only thing more appealing to us might be if someone opened a place just called “Cheap Wings and Beer.” I mean, really.

So it’s probably no surprise that both Shane and I had been eyeing this place up since it opened a few months back. On many occasions we’ve been in the area and almost just broke down and stopped in for dinner, but were trying to hold out to use it as a pick.

Must. Not. Break. Down.

The struggle is real, kids.Bomba Tacos and Rum, Fairlawn

Bomba is located in the old Hudson’s Restaurant space in the Montrose Center in Fairlawn. Having been to Hudson’s a few times, I can say Bomba definitely gutted the place when they moved in, as it’s barely recognizable now that it’s been redone. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I mean, Hudson’s was OK – but I always thought parts of it needed more lighting. Like they were going for that romantic date spot, but when a few of the tables around us had like four kids with them then the darkness just kinda came off as a bit creepy. No wonder the kids are crying, they can’t see what you’re feeding them.

Anyway.

In contrast, Bomba has a great atmosphere, very open and much brighter. There was also patio seating, although we didn’t opt for that since it looked like the skies might open at any moment. And you know our luck there.

So when you’re in a place that has the word “rum” in the title, it makes perfect sense that Ted gets a beer. Because, well, Ted.

Well at least "Lagunitas" sounds Mexican, no?

Well at least “Lagunitas” sounds Mexican, no?

I mean, he did redeem himself later by switching to a mojito, but sheesh. Damage done.

I got the Tropical Mango White Sangria, which sounded delicious on the menu but ended up tasting a little less so when I actually tried it. Kinda like those deceptive beer descriptions I always want to volunteer to compose.

I should know by now not to trust descriptions

I should know by now not to trust descriptions

Jerrid got the Brazilian Red Sangria – which also sounded delicious – and he was far happier with that one than I was with mine.

Check out the size of that berry!

Check out the size of that berry!

But it was Shane who once again won the drink lottery with the Blackberry Ginger Mojito. One sip and I knew that’s what I would be switching to next. It was similar to the mules we had at Caston & Main a few weeks back. He’s on fire with his choices lately.

Winner winner chicken dinner

Winner winner chicken dinner

And for Amanda … water. Boo.

No rum for you!

No rum for you!

For appetizers, Shane and I picked the bacon wrapped jalepenos – which Shane liked but I wasn’t crazy about. I didn’t think they had much flavor. So either I got the lame pepper with no taste, or my taste buds are permanently scarred from weeks of hot wings.

That's not a hot dog. Really.

That’s not a hot dog. Really.

Jerrid and Amanda got the beef empanadas. Which, aside from just being fun to say, were tasty.

Fun to say, good to eat

Fun to say, good to eat

We also got an order of the fire-roasted salsa for the table (this is one of those “fancy” Mexican places where you have to order the chips & salsa/guac, they don’t just bring it to the table automatically) as well as the house made guac. Because it’s made fresh when you order it, they have stuff you can add in to make it your own custom mix. Our server was kind enough to suggest a few things that he usually adds to his … but we just went with plain for our first try. Because, honestly, some of the add-ins seem a bit strange. Candied pumpkin seeds? Chipotle honey? Goat cheese? We’re simple folks. Just bring us the green stuff to dip our chips in. For reals.

We like our guac non-fancy, just tasty

We like our guac non-fancy, just tasty

Speaking of chips, this might be a good time to mention that they’re also on the fancy side. The chip baskets include four different kinds of chips – yucca, plantain, malanga (five dollars to the first person who can tell me what that actually is – without googling it), and regular corn – so of course the new table game became “guess what strange toasted substance you’re using as a vehicle to get the salsa/guac into your mouth.”

Good times.

At least I’m happy to say that we chose wisely, and the plain guac was really very good. As was the salsa. And most of the chips. Although I honestly can’t tell you which ones we liked least, because, as I mentioned, I still don’t think we really knew what we were eating.

Toast and salsa?

Toast and salsa?

Moving on.

To tacos. So, remember what our table looked like last week at Cruiser’s with our little wing fest? Well, just picture that same thing for this week, but with tacos.

So the gist of this place is that basically they have a bunch of different kinds of tacos, and they’re all a la carte, so you can mix & match. They’re all like $3 or $4 each, and they recommend 2-3 per person.

And now comes the part of the review where I test my own memory and ability to take notes, since, well, let’s face it, pretty much all tacos look the same in pictures.

I got the potato chorizo, braised beef and spicy shrimp, along with a side of mango cilantro rice. The spicy shrimp was definitely my favorite, it was for reals spicy – but in a you’re-killing-your-taste-buds-for-good-reason kind of way. I thought I would like the beef the best but when it turned out that it was primarily jalepenos, I decided that wasn’t so much a winner. The rice was delicious.

That rice was a meal in itself

That rice was a meal in itself

Amanda had the blackened fish, potato chorizo and chipotle ground beef. She liked the chorizo the best. She and Jerrid also got a side of the adobo fries, which she hardly touched because the three tacos were enough to make her quite full.

Same shells, different filling

Same shells, different filling

Ted went with the blackened fish (the server highly recommended this one and said that was his favorite … can you tell?), crispy fish, smoked brisket and slow braised duck. He said the dusk was his favorite. He thought the blackened fish didn’t have much flavor (in your face, server). The other two were OK but the definite winner for him was the duck.

Ted's side dish was apparently an extra taco

Ted’s side dish was apparently an extra taco

Jerrid had blackened fish (seriously, I’m getting tired of typing that), bbq pork and smoked brisket. Agreed that the fish wasn’t the best. He liked the pork and brisket though.

They're all starting to look the same

They’re all starting to look the same

And then there’s Shane … who went the “Ted’s getting a beer” route for his meal, ordering the Smoked Brisket Torta (that’s a fancy way of saying sandwich – I only know that from reading it on the menu) with adobo fries. Or adobE fries, as he called them. Like the photoshop software. Because who doesn’t like a little lesson in filters and levels while they eat french fries. Whatevs. He said the brisket was a little dry, and he compared the bread to an English muffin. Hmm, that’s not so tasty.

That doesn't look like tacos. Where are we Shane?

That doesn’t look like tacos. Where are we Shane?

He did mention that he thought it would’ve been better with some guac on it. Because woudn’t everything really?

Overall Bomba is a fun place with great options if you’re in the mood for tacos and don’t want the cookie-cutter options at the local Mexican joint. It’s a little pricy, but the a la carte is nice so you can try different things – or get a whole bunch of the one thing you try and decide you like. They had rice bowls that looked intriguing also, I would be willing to return to try one of those at some point. The chips and salsa/guac were good – although I’m still not sold on the list of additional add-ins, but that’s just me and my somewhat uncultured taste buds, perhaps. And I’m not a fan of straight-up rum without some type of mixer, but if you’re into that kind of thing they also have a ton of flights and sampling options for you to find the one that suits you best. I could see this being a good spot for a late night snack and drinks, or maybe a midday late lunch with day drinking. Because who doesn’t love cocktails at like 2PM? I mean, other than your boss when you’re supposed to be at work … but that’s a whole other blog there I suppose …

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Jerrid

Jerrid

Amanda

Amanda

Steph

Steph

Picked by: Steph
Next pick: Amanda asked for a week off, since she just started this new job that puts her on a regular schedule and back to being with us on Wednesdays. So Ted’s up next week.

Bomba Tacos & Rum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WTGW 1/13/16: BJ’s Brewhouse, Fairlawn

Standard

You know we’ve hit a lot of restaurants in the area when we see one being built and in the back of our minds we’re all kind of thinking about whose pick is going to line up with the week of the opening. BJ’s Brewhouse is a fairly recent addition to the Fairlawn food landscape, located in the southeastern corner of the Summit Mall parking lot. Construction began around the middle of the summer, I think, and then all of a sudden, bam, it was open. I know Shane and I were invited to meet another couple there a few months back, which must’ve been right after the opening because the wait was like, two hours, on a Saturday night. Um, no thanks. I mean, you’d think there were absolutely no other places to eat within a 10 mile radius or something. Please.

So anyway, fast forward to this week, when we think the hype may have died down a little, and Amanda announces this is her WTGW pick. When I texted Ted to tell him the news, his response was “well, dammit. that was going to be my next pick.” So I’m thinking we can all assume that at least some of Ted’s Google searches for the next week will involve area restaurants. Just some. *wink, wink*

And either the good word of mouth is spreading about BJ’s (can we all just talk for a minute about how places need to stop choosing this horrible name for their establishments?) or there are still a number of people in the Summit County area who haven’t tried it yet and were, like us, waiting for the first wave of patrons to cycle through (overachievers) … because even with going on a Wednesday late evening there was still a wait for a table. Only about 20 minutes, but still. Impressive. Amanda and Jerrid were the first to arrive, so they got to be the lucky ones to wait – but, hey, with a place that has the word “brewhouse” in the title it’s not hard to find a way to occupy that amount of time, right?

Anyway.

So we’re seated, and the first thing we notice is that the menus weigh about six pounds each. And, just like last week, flipping through them is similar to reading a short story. While I appreciate the variety, sometimes maybe you can find the few things you want to specialize in and just stick to that, no? Or at least a certain nationality of food? I mean, it’s like you kind of have to just narrow it down to the basic type of food you think you might want and then just stare at those 2-3 pages until you decide on the actual item to order. Because one more flip, and before you know it you’re back on the winding road of delicious sounding food options.

At least the drinks were a tad bit easier for us. BJ’s (seriously, I giggle every time I type that) brews their own beers, but they do also offer a pretty impressive selection of other domestic and craft beers as well.

So, you know, it makes perfect sense that Shane and Amanda both chose Miller Lite.

Ted, Jerrid and I were a bit more adventurous. I got the Hefeweizen (which I’ve found to be my “go to” pretty much any place that offers it), Ted got the house made IPA, and while Jerrid didn’t go with one the house made beers he still went with a craft, the Magic Hat #9.

And I think this is the first time in months we’ve all ordered beer. WTF?

Ted ordered the wings for an appetizer, while Shane pretended to not know what he wanted until I mentioned they had calamari. Surprise!

Because we never order this

Because we never order this

Or this

Or this

Both apps were good. We all agreed that we really liked the aioli sauce that came with the calamari. And Ted called the calamari “tender.” Which he later clarified as “not over cooked.” Just in case we were confused that it may have been emotionally fragile or something like that instead. The wings were a siracha dry rub. They were kind of sweet and kind of spicy, with enough flavor to give them a kick without being so hot that you need a bucket of water to wash down every bite.

And good thing, too, because asking for water with our server was somewhat like asking a cat to, well, do whatever it is you want a cat to do. Shane asked three times for a glass of water – and despite taking our alcohol orders, bringing those drinks, bringing the apps … and asking each time what else we needed (to which Shane responded “a glass of water would be great”) – she still didn’t bring it.

Then Jerrid casually mentions “hey, can we get a couple of waters here?” … and suddenly like seven glasses appear at our table.

Is anyone thirsty? I'm parched.

Is anyone thirsty? I’m parched.

Clearly this time Jerrid was the magic name in our group, not Shane. Payback for the Rush Hour Grille incident maybe?

For meals, Amanda and I ordered off the “light menu” – she got the seared ahi salad and I had the blackened barbacoa chicken. Amanda said the salad was so tasty, she would almost order another one to take home. She particularly mentioned the dressing as being really good, and although the tuna could’ve used a bit more seasoning on it, it it was overall a really delicious meal. And it was enough to be filling – something that doesn’t always happen with those tricky “light” menu items  (I mean, really, just because we’re trying to eat healthier and lose weight doesn’t mean we want to starve, am I right?) – but she didn’t feel stuffed.

Healthy eating can be pretty

Healthy eating can be pretty

Mine was also really good, and filling as well. It was a bit on the spicy side … but thankfully we had a crap ton of water if I’d needed it, so crisis averted there.

It's strange to not see fries on this plate

It’s strange to not see fries on this plate

Ted got the ribeye steak with asparagus and rice pilaf. He said, and I quote ” the asparagus was good, rice was good, steak was … good.” Hmm, seems like there’s some hesitation there perhaps? But he said if he had to rate it, all in all he would give it a solid 7 out of 10. He said he had actually been deciding between like three different things on the menu (and, I mean, with that menu that’s totally understandable) – so he would definitely come back to try something else. Particularly the crispy jaelepeno burger, that’s the next thing on his list.

That's a nutritious looking meal. And a sharp looking knife.

That’s a nutritious looking meal. And a sharp looking knife.

In case we weren’t all sick of their continuing antics yet, Shane and Jerrid kept the bromance alive and actually split a dinner. Really guys? People are going to talk. In any case, they shared probably one of the most typically non-shared foods, a full rack of ribs, paired with a very easily shared food, the medium BJ’s special pizza (and again, see what I mean about the name? That just isn’t good marketing). Jerrid said his food was good, although Shane likened the pizza to that which you get at Pizza Hut. They also weren’t a huge fan of the ribs, which they said were just average.

Hi, Pizza Hut? We found one of your pizzas here.

Hi, Pizza Hut? We found one of your pizzas here.

There's a rack of ribs under those fries somwhere

There’s a rack of ribs under those fries somewhere

Although maybe Shane just was too watered down at that point to taste anything, what with the 18 glasses of water and all?

I have to say, our server was definitely not the most personable. Or loud. And that’s a bit of a problem, since the place is actually pretty loud inside, thanks to the openness and the high ceilings and all. So half the time I wasn’t sure if she was actually talking to us or just mumbling under her breath about something. Maybe about the high cost of tap water and how wasteful patrons like us insist on asking for it? Who knows.

Ted

Ted

Jerrid

Jerrid

Amanda

Amanda

Steph

Steph

Shane (he must be water-drunk?)

Shane (he must be water-drunk?)

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda

Drinks:  The house brewed beers are good, with an impressive variety. I’d be willing to try a few more on the list just to see what else they have to offer. But I guess being a “brewhouse” means the water tap is selectively broken. This is one WTGW where it didn’t pay to be named Shane for once. 
Food:
Not a bad selection – they offer anything from pizza to sandwiches to salads and lighter fare. And you’ll be extra hungry after you get done reading the short novel that is the menu.
Service: As long as you aren’t craving water – or a personality of some kind – it’s not bad.
Overall: This place was pretty much middle of the road for the entire group. It wasn’t horrible by any means, and I think we would go again if we happened to be in the area. But if we get the same server again I think Shane may sneak in his own flask of water.

Next Pick: Ted

WTGW 6/17/15: Ray’s Place, Fairlawn

Standard

Yes, I know, we’ve technically been to Ray’s before. But that was the Kent location. This is Fairlawn. This location is newer, with some added menu items. And trust me, Shane gave Ted enough of an ordeal about this very topic while we were out that we really don’t need to go into it here. Ha.

Ted also got an earful because it surfaced that he had actually been at this same building back when it was a Winking Lizard. According to Shane, he’s just breaking all the WTGW rules this time around. Anyway, Ted thought he remembered a patio when it was the Lizard – but it turns out that they turned it into more of an enclosed sun room. So at least we weren’t going completely for patio dining tonight, even though we technically probably could’ve squeaked a patio night out of this one. Although with our luck and the way the weathe has been around here lately, it probably would’ve downpoured on us as soon as we ordered our drinks. Because nothing says welcome back from a week’s worth of beach vacation like a boatload of rain. Thanks Mother Nature.

Anyway.

Another of Shane’s gripes about this Ray’s location – and I have to admit, something which we all found a bit odd – was that all of the servers were dudes. Like seriously, not a woman waitress in sight. It’s like the exact opposite of Johnny J’s over in Merriman Valley. I wonder if they did some big study that said they would get a different type of customer in if they only had frat boy looking male servers? Or was that just all who applied? Or are they all friends with the owner? Or maybe they only hire people named Ray?

So. Many. Questions.

In any case, this Ray’s wasn’t busy when we arrived, so the hostess (who was also a guy. Seriously.) told us we pretty much had our pick of seating locations. Ended up in the aforementioned sun room area. Because, well, why not.

The place has a pretty extensive draft beer list – and, even nicer, it’s readily available at each table when you sit down, thus knocking out all that “what do you want to drink?” “well what do you have on tap?” nonsense that we usually have to banter through when we first arrive. Of course we ended up with Summer Shandy for the girls.

Ah, the taste of summer

Ah, the taste of summer

Ted ordered a Mill Street Lemon Tea Beer … which honestly did sound rather tasty. Enough so that it even prompted Shane to follow suit. Shane then proceeded to make a bitter beer face every time he took a sip. So I guess not so tasty after all, at least by Shane’s standards. Although he later ordered a second one, which surprised the hell out of us. I guess it all tastes better after the first round? Or he just likes making that face when he drinks. Whatevs.

BTW, Ted’s second round was something called a Dirty Little Freak. **insert obvious and obligatory perverted comments here**

For our appetizer, we ordered the parmesan crusted calamari. Because, well, it was on the menu, and by now you know that’s what Shane gravitates to. It was actually really good. So good, in fact, that we devoured over half of it before I remembered to snap a picture, so sorry for that. My bad. Hey, it’s hard to get back into this blogging thing after vacation, yo.

It's like a pack of hungry dogs took over our appetizer

It’s like a pack of hungry dogs took over our appetizer

In any case, it was just a touch spicy but not too much so, with a light breading and very good flavor. And there was a lot more of it on the dish before I snapped that picture.

Keeping with the seafood theme – and because, honestly, after a week in OBX, we didn’t have nearly the amount of seafood (actually, let me clarify – good seafood) we thought we would’ve had – I ordered the steamed mussels. They were very good, served in a butter/olive oil/tomato broth that I actually wish would’ve had a little more girth to it, but was still tasty. I also wish they had gone with a crustier bread than Texas toast on the side, but it was still delicious.

I come back to Ohio to order seafood. Because that makes sense.

I come back to Ohio to order seafood. Because that makes sense.

Wait, back up … did I just use the word “girth” to describe food? WTF is that about?

Huh.

Moving on …

I also ordered a basket of fries, which I ended up sharing with Shane after the waiter heard him about to order one as well and warned us that it was about a pound and a half of fires in each basket and surely that would be enough for both of us to share. Um, right. Clearly he’s never met Shane or witnessed his eating prowess.

But the server turned out to be correct. I think we even had fries left over. I know, shocked the hell out of me, too.

Along with 3/4 of my fries, Shane also had the blue moon sandwich, which is a new item on the menu. It’s slow roasted pastrami and Swiss cheese on toasted rye. And it’s delicious. I tried a sliver of the pastrami and was immediately jealous of his order.

I think we'll all be ordering this next time

I think we’ll all be ordering this next time

The third and final item on Shane’s side of the table was an order of 12 of the Wasabi dry dusted wings. Which he shared with Ted … um, hello, who is this guy sharing all the food all of a sudden? Last I knew, Shane didn’t share food. Interesting. In any case, they both said the wings were OK but definitely could’ve used more flavor, and not as hot as something with the word “wasabi” in them would imply.

Shane's shared fries and wings. Who is this guy?

Shane’s shared fries and wings. Who is this guy?

Ted’s supplement to half of Shane’s wings was the Italian burger, which he said was good. It was nothing special, but still good. Which I guess is better than absolutely awful, so there’s that.

Burger, no cheese ... this must be Ted's plate.

That’s marinara sauce, not an overabundance of ketchup.

Amanda stuck with her usual – and the sandwich she got the last time we ate at Ray’s in Kent – the Cuban. She said it seemed to have a different bread this time around – it was served on more of a flatbread than the usual sandwich-esque bread that you would expect a Cuban to be served on.  And she was thankful that the sauce was on the side because she said it would’ve ruined the sandwich if it had been mixed in. She requested regular mustard instead, and said that all in all it was a decent meal.

It looks like a quesedilla. Did I say that the last time?

It looks like a quesedilla. Did I say that the last time?

So, remember what I said earlier about the place being like the opposite of Johnny’ J’s? Well, that seems to hold true in the gender of the servers … but not necessarily in the style of service they provide. At Johnny’s it seems to be that you don’t just get one server at your table – you get whoever passes by and happens to notice that your glass needs refilled, or that you haven’t ordered yet, or that you’re missing silverware … you get the idea. It’s the same concept here at Ray’s. We started out with what seemed to be one waiter, who got us our first round of drinks and brought our food and I think even our second round … but then somewhere along the way he just kind of disappeared. Maybe he wasn’t upselling us on enough drinks. Maybe his shift was over and he just forgot to tell us. Maybe it was his first day and as part of his hazing they shoved him in a back broom closet somewhere and stole all of his tips. Who knows.

What we do know is that somewhere along the line he was replaced in part by a guy with hair in a man bun who appeared out of nowhere and cheerfully asked us if we needed more drinks. He was very talkative and knowledgeable about the beer selection (maybe the first guy just realized he couldn’t keep up with us alcoholics and Ted’s willingness to try anything on the menu with a strange name?) – so of course that translated into getting us to try all kinds of different beers. Which is always a good idea on a Wednesday night, right?

Case in point, Shane was convinced to try something called Magner’s Irish Cider, which sounded good on the menu and in the explanation, but we all sampled and agreed that it was awful. I swear there were ground up flowers in it. For real.

Me: It tastes like a funeral home smells.

Because that’s a good marketing statement.

Speaking of which, Amanda also learned the hard way that you don’t try Ted’s beers, no matter how delicious those crafty marketers make it sound on paper.

I love the look of sheer joy on Ted's face

I love the look of sheer joy on Ted’s face

I lost track of what Ted was ordering but lets just say the beers got darker and darker until they rivaled the color of his shirt. And that’s not just because the lighting was disappearing in the sun room as the evening wore on either.

Although I think this server’s proudest moment was when he convinced Amanda to relinquish her Summer Shandy for a grapefruit flavored shandy (the “Illustrious Traveler”). I had agreed to give it a try, after he talked it up to us as a nice “upgrade” from the Summer Shandy, although Amanda staunchly stood her ground and refused.

Ted: You even covered your glass when he asked if you wanted to try something new, like he was going to just pour it in with your Summer Shandy.

But lo and behold, Amanda sampled my drink, and declared it good enough to replace Summer Shandy for a round. I have to believe the server gave himself a pretty good pat on the back for that one.

All in all, we liked this location better than the original Ray’s in Kent.  The wait staff seemed to be much more personable (although we can’t forget that the one in Kent did go ask the cooks in the back about the mysterious spice Shane tasted in the wing sauce that he ordered there – thus sparking the infamous “is that ginger I taste?” catchphrase for our group) and with more room to move in the place it didn’t seem as much like they were just trying to turn over tables or shove as many people as they could in and out of the room during peak times. Definitely had a great time here, and the food was good. I’m sure we’ll be back.

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Steph

Steph

Amanda

Amanda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted

Drinks:   Impressive draft beer list, which seems to rotate based on month or season. Bonus points for finally sending over the server that had a real knowledge of the list and could match our tastes to the beers. 
Food:
 A little of everything – sandwiches, salads, dinners, etc. Decent sized portions, and everything we tried was tasty.
Service:  Hey, I don’t care how many guys you send over to my table to wait on us, as long as they’re all friendly and attentive I’m not complaining. (Just be sure to let the first guy out of the broom closet sometime soon, will you?)
Overall: While I wish the sun room was still a patio – since I think this would up the frequency of our return visitorship – I’d still put money on us returning sooner rather than later. It would probably be a fun place to catch a game or just have drinks while out in the Fairlawn area.

Next Pick:  Shane

Click to add a blog post for Ray's Place on Zomato

WTGW 6/3/15: Tres Potrillos, Fairlawn

Standard

And once again we managed to outsmart Mother Nature for a WTGW adventure. I know, it seems a little silly to be this proud of a chance to sit on a patio, but if you haven’t figured out our ongoing war with Mother Nature by this point in time then clearly you need to start reading this blog more often. She tried tricking us by bringing out the cloud cover while we were waiting for Shane to get home from work so the group could head out, but yet we weren’t deterred. It was like a staring contest. And Mother Nature blinked first, allowing the skies to clear as we were seated and happily eating on the patio. Yes.

And as if that weren’t enough excitement for one week, I’m proud to say this was also the week I also finally got to say that I’ve dined at the place associated with the generic “Mexican Restaurant” sign high above Rt 77 at the Rt 18 exit.

Because who really remembers the name anyway?

Because who really remembers the name anyway?

Clearly it’s been quite a week.

Anyway.

I think I have to be that excited over the little things surrounding this week’s adventure, as Tres Portillas itself didn’t seem to give me much else to talk about. And thank the lord we were able to sit on the patio, as I think that was the most redeeming factor of the entire visit – for me at least. Ouch.

Let’s start with drinks (as if you’d suspect otherwise with this group, right?). Of course we ordered margaritas, because, well, what else do you order at a Mexican place? They didn’t seem to have quite as many flavors to choose from as some of the other Mexican places we’ve been to, but enough for each of us to try something different. I had the mango, Amanda had peach, Shane had raspberry, and Ted ordered the guava. Which I’m still really not sure what flavor that is, but whatever. Ted’s was also the only one served on the rocks, thus proving once again that he just has to continue to be different from the rest of the group.

This photo makes me happy

This photo makes me happy

As does this one

As does this one

I will admit to being intrigued by something called the “Octopus Margarita”on the menu, which apparently is sangria and a lime margarita combined. I know, right? I like sangria. I like margaritas. But the two together? That can either be disastrously gross … or delicious enough to be dangerous.

Regardless, my liver was not up to the challenge this time around. Maybe next time.

We all agreed from the start that it seemed as though our server wasn’t exactly thrilled to see us. Which is always an endearing realization as you sit down for your meal. She also wasn’t exactly fluent in English. Which, hey, I’m all about authenticity at an ethnic restaurant … but after I’m well into a margarita it becomes a little harder to understand normal English, much less broken.

But at least we never felt like she was rushing us out. In fact, I have to believe that the word “rush” didn’t exist in her vocabulary, no matter what language. I would describe her pace as somewhere between a geriatric turtle and a sailboat on a day without wind. Which is extremely helpful when she also insisted on making a separate trip for every. single. thing. we. could. possibly. need.

Trip one: Take drink orders. Walk away.
Trip two: Deliver chips and salsa. Walk away.
Trip three: Bring water. Walk away.
Trip four: Drop off margaritas. Walk away.
Trip five: Oh, hey, did you want to order dinner now? It’s only like a half hour later by this point, no biggie. I’m half surprised she didn’t ask us if we were ready, then walk away for 15 minutes to get a pen and paper.

I mean, I’m no expert in the food service industry, but it seemed to me maybe a few of those trips could’ve been combined, no?

Bonus points for missing the silverware in all of that, too, so we had to ask for it after we got our food. Luckily we were able to flag down another server for that, or else we might still be sitting there staring hungrily at our plates to this day.

So there’s that.

I got the spicy grilled burrito with steak. Which seemed to be neither spicy nor grilled, so clearly that name is super appropriate. But it did have steak in it, so score there, I guess? The chorizo on top of the burrito was I think what was supposed to lend most of the “heat” to the meal, except it actually wasn’t spicy at all. And there seemed to be no sauce covering it either. The rice also had zero flavor – and without even a salt shaker on the table to help me there, I ended up leaving most of that on my plate. So unless my taste buds were just taking the night off, I was not finding this meal to be anything spectacular.

Burrito, side of flavor please

Burrito, side of flavor please

Ted had the carne asada – minus cheese of course, although it didn’t go unnoticed that this was really the first time in the past few weeks that he’s actually had to speak those words of request. He said the meal was just average.

Ted's two week streak of cheese avoidance continues

Ted’s two week streak of cheese avoidance continues

Shane and Amanda both got their usual Mexican restaurant staple, the fajita quesadilla. Can you tell they’re related or what? They both liked their meals, but it was definitely a lot of food, as Amanda was stuffed long before the end of hers. Shane also ordered extra guac for his meal – which in most places would be like a whole cup or small bowl full. But when the meals came out, we quickly realized that “extra” at Tres Portillas kind of just meant that he got two spoonfuls of guac on his plate, compared to the one that Amanda had on hers. Gee, thanks. He finally flagged someone down (again, not our actual server) and asked for a real side of it … which we then noticed on the bill later was an extra charge of $5.00. Ouch. Did they ship the avocados in special just to prepare his side?

"The usual" for the Keefer siblings

“The usual” for the Keefer siblings

BTW, this is "extra" guac.

BTW, this is “extra” guac.

So all in all, I think we decided that the patio was by far the best part of our visit. Well, that, and the completely inappropriate dinner discussion about weights of organs and tumors which led to us discovering that our dear friend Ted has never seen the movie Jerry Maguire. I know, right? It seems impossible.

Anyway, like I said, the patio was well worth the price of admission, and even if you just wanted to enjoy some chips, salsa and $5 guac with some drinks it would be well worth it. It’s quiet (although they do have what looks like a stage for bands) and nice lighting fixtures around. Definitely better than the food in my opinion, but I think I’m the minority on that one, as evidenced by the photos below. Or maybe they all just should’ve stopped at one margarita.

Amanda

Amanda

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Steph

Steph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda

Drinks:   I’m sure they have drinks other than margaritas – and I believe we passed a full bar on our way to the patio – but we stuck with the tequila. And were not disappointed.
Food:
 Typical Mexican restaurant menu. Although you may want to bring your own salt. Or hot sauce. Or really seasoning of any kind.
Service:  I think we got the server who didn’t expect to get another table this evening. She didn’t seem especially happy to see us, nor did she move very quickly. So that’s always helpful.
Overall: I seemed to be the only one completely unimpressed, although the patio did sway me a little. Maybe.

Next Pick:  Ted

Click to add a blog post for Tres Potrillos on Zomato

WTGW 3/25/15: Hooley House, Fairlawn

Standard

**sigh** Oh, Hooley House, we had such high hopes for you. I mean, really – you specialize in Irish food, bar food and beer. How hard is that to screw up?

Read on, my friends, and you shall see.

So the Hooley House is relatively new to the Fairlawn area, and located in the area just west of Rt 77 that we all seem to forget exists. That highway is like a moat.

Regardless, we were all pretty excited for an excuse to continue celebrating St. Patrick’s Day when Amanda announced this place as her pick for the week. We arrived at HH and noticed an open table in what we thought was the bar area – I mean, it had a large bar, and we all know that’s our usual gravitation point in any restaurant – to the left as soon as we walked in, so we asked to be sat there. It wasn’t until we were seated that we realized there was actually a giant dining room on the right side of the hostess station that had at least one more bar, and far more activity. Translation: we chose poorly, and were actually on the “quiet” side of the place. Also known as the “invisible” side, but we’ll get to that later.

I will say that things got off to a decent start. HH has great drink specials – Wednesdays are $4 Guinness and martinis, so that’s pretty much custom made for three out of four members of our group. Although Ted did save his Guinness for round two of the evening, starting out the night with a (very dark) vanilla porter. Maybe they should re-think that name. After much scouring of the martini list – because, let’s face it, they all sounded absolutely delicious – Amanda started with a birthday cake martini, while I went with the apple pie.

Not one to jump on a bandwagon, Shane went with a rum and diet. Drink specials be damned.

Small to tall, dark to light

Small to tall, dark to light

So we got our first round of drinks, and took a few minutes to check out the rather large menu. Seriously, this thing was like a small novel. And while I appreciate a good selection, sometimes by the time you get to page 8 it just seems rather overwhelming. Where was the sandwich page? How many different pastas do they offer? What sides come with those? It’s like studying for the freaking SAT’s just to be prepared when they come back to take your order.

We finally passed the test and put in our orders, and sat back to enjoy our drinks while we waited for our appetizers to arrive. And that’s when things started go downhill. And also when we learned the number one cardinal rule of dining at Hooley House: order a drink anytime you see your waitress. Any. Time. If she walks past the table. Or you catch a quick glimpse of her seven tables away. Or you run into her in the restroom. I don’t care where you see her, if your paths cross you need to take advantage of it. Because you never know when you might see her again.

Had we known this, we would’ve put in our order for our second round of drinks when we ordered our food – which was about two sips into our first round, just FYI. Instead, our first round of drink glasses sat empty for at least 15 minutes, with no sign of our servers whatsoever and despite Shane making loud slurpy noises with his straw in the empty glass like a 5-year old. Our apps were delivered by someone who was clearly not our server and who also scurried away immediately after dropping off the plates as if she knew we would ask for more drinks and she wasn’t able to get them for us.

So, OK, strike one.

But let’s just talk for a minute about the appetizers, which were so good they almost made us forget that we didn’t have any liquids remaining at our table to wash them down with. We had ordered the onion rings, which were hand battered but not so much so that they weighed 10 tons and dropped like a ball of grease into your stomach. Delicious.

Onions count as a vegetable, right?

Onions count as a vegetable, right?

We also got an order of the Irish Egg Rolls, which quite frankly may be the best item on the menu. The corned beef was sliced just right, and even though they were deep fried it wasn’t like they just dipped them in grease and threw them on a plate. They were less like egg rolls and more like little mini deep-fried corned beef sandwiches. Or pockets of heaven, whatever. Tomato, tomahto.

Pita pockets of tastiness

Pita pockets of tastiness

Plus if you order anything there and it says it comes with “hooley sauce,” consider yourself lucky because it’s to die for. Seriously. I think I could eat a bowl of that stuff by itself with a spoon.

Speaking of spoons, it’s a good thing we didn’t need an extra one for anything. Or any condiments. Or anything, really, to go with our appetizers (I mean, aside from the obvious drinks – we’re well past that at this point), because we were finished with our apps by the time we saw our servers again. And yes, I did mean to use the plural there, as our table was the lucky recipient of a “shadowing trainee” for the evening.  Who was apparently learning the fine art of avoidance, but whatevs. In any case, the next time we saw our waitress(es) was when our meals were delivered. I’m pretty sure we all burst out laughing when she asked us if there was anything else she could get us at that point. Oh, yes, please, a little more air for my empty glass would be perfection. Thank you.

So, OK, on to our meals. As usual we did our pre-meal interrogation of our servers prior to ordering, and were told that the burgers and the “bakes” (essentially specialty mac’n’cheese) were the best things on the menu. I guess maybe I should’ve listened to them and gone that route, as both the Irish bake and the Buffalo Chicken bake had caught my eye. But I was afraid that either of those options would be way too heavy, so I tried to make it a bit healthier and went with the Cajun Chicken Melt sandwich instead. It was billed as a “grilled cheese sandwich with extras.” Um, yeah, no. Typically grilled cheese involves, well, cheese, right? Yeah, that ingredient was basically non-existent. Like so much so that I think even Ted could’ve eaten this sandwich without complaining (gasp!). Conversely, the chicken breast was cut way too thick – to the point that the texture was a bit iffy and even though it looked to be cooked all the way through there just wasn’t enough flavor to it to make you feel comfortable finishing it.

At least the tater tots weren't going to kill me

At least the tater tots weren’t going to kill me

As usual, my love of carbs enabled me to finish off the bread, but that’s about all. Because it’s always best to order “healthy” and then eat only the part of the meal with the worst nutritional value. I should’ve just had a vat of the hooley sauce.

Amanda, Ted and Shane all ordered burgers. So, considering Shane’s pickiness and how this visit is going so far, I’m guessing you probably already realize that’s going to be an issue. Sure enough, despite asking the waitress and being told that they cook to order, Shane’s Jalepeno burger was still well done. And you know how much he loves that.

There's a well done burger under all those chips somewhere

There’s a well done burger under all those chips somewhere

Meanwhile Amanda’s Mushroom Swiss burger, while ordered medium, was pink inside. Because that seems normal.

Shane said if it had been cooked properly then it probably would’ve been a good burger. But this time around, unfortunately, the pepper jack cheese on his burger was the best part of the sandwich. Which ultimately doesn’t bode well for Ted, who got the same burger, sans cheese. He did say it was decent – he liked the mix of sweet and sour with the honey bun and pickles. But it wasn’t anything to write home about.

The bun blends in with the plate

The bun blends in with the plate

We did like the sides we had with our orders, which included chips, fries and tater tots. Amanda and I got the garlic parm seasoning on ours (I had tots and she had fries) and it was delicious. We would both highly recommend it.

Can we seriously just get sides and apps next time?

Can we seriously just get sides and apps next time?

But overall I have to say that the service really killed this place for us. We might’ve been more forgiving of the food if we also would’ve seen more of the wait staff. Or at least had full drinks to wash down the over-done burger and questionable chicken. We realized that part of the problem seemed to be that instead of assigning one server to just our section – which seemed to be further removed from the kitchen and the main bar area – they had at least four or five different servers working the eight or so tables in our area, in addition to holding down tables in the main section. No wonder they forgot to check on us. Our section was the Alaska to the rest of the bar’s Lower 48.

Several times we almost walked up to the bar near us and ordered rounds there, just to see if it would take less time to do it that way than wait for our waitress(es) – but watching the bartender behind the bar take her time with orders she received basically answered that question for us and made us just decide to stay comfortably in our seats instead of jostling for position at the bar. We were told – when we finally did see our waitress(es) and they took our order for a second round – that the main bar was “really backed up” … keep in mind, we were not apologized to, just told that. So hence why we ordered our third round when the second round arrived. Which I think at first the waitress wasn’t sure we were serious about. Clearly she has no idea who we are, or how much we typically drink in one sitting. So thanks for saving us money, I guess?

Lining up the beverages in case our waitress pulls a David Copperfield again

Lining up the beverages in case our waitress pulls a David Copperfield again

 

Ted

Ted

Amanda

Amanda

Shane

Shane

Steph

Steph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda
Drinks:   Good specials and variety. We’d be able to give more of an opinion on them if we were served more of them, though.  
Food:
The menu is huge, lots of Irish fare but also the typical bar food, too. We really, really wanted to like it. And if we would’ve just stuck to appetizers I have a feeling we would’ve.
Service: Houston, we have a problem. Namely that our entire section of the bar seemed to go invisible for a while.
Overall: In an area where bar and grille esque places – even those with an Irish theme – seem to be a dime a dozen, this place did nothing to make itself stand out.

Next Pick: Ted