Monday, April 28, 2008
Restaurant review: Delaney’s Irish Pub in McKinney
From the standard fish and chips to the not-so-standard cheeseburger and fries, it’s seriously quite good.
MCKINNEY It’s a wide open super-sized Americanized version of what one might expect to encounter in Ireland – minus the charm and sense of place (character) that only 200 years – and A LOT of spilled beer (and who-knows-what other liquids?) can add to a joint.
This week, CH visited the barely month-old Delaney’s Irish Pub, a pub that sits not in the rolling, verdant hills of Ireland, but in the monotonous concrete monstrosity (shopping strip) anchored by Market Street off of Eldorado Parkway.
The pub’s one room is vast – very vast – and is divided into subsections: one for darts, one for dining, one for pool, and one for drinking (they’ve got lots of booze – multiple beer offerings, ciders, and yes, the hard stuff).
It’s dark – not as in the brooding kind of dark, but the kind of dark that will certainly offer reprieve from what we got coming in the next few months -- and there’s a lot of dark wood accenting around the joint.
Obviously the owners have attempted to create a pub-like ambiance, but come on, this is Texas, not Dublin. Oh, and the little waitress was dressed as what can only be described as a chic Catholic school girl, replete with a short plaid skirt (far too short for a true Catholic), knee-high socks, a white shirt, and a very loose striped tie.
Let’s give the joint a “B” for decorating effort and move on, K?
On Chow Hound’s two visits to Delaney’s, he stuck with traditional Irish fare: one Famous Fish and Chips “voted best in Texas” ($10.50), one Guinness Stew ($9.50), one strawberry shortcake ($5.95), and one cheese burger with fries ($8.50). CH has no idea if strawberry shortcake or burgers are traditional Irish fare, but play along.
Let’s stop for just a moment so CH can spill the beans: The food was absolutely great. Boing! Bong! Ding!
The fish and chips plate featured two plump Haddock filets that were flakey and perfectly fried. The batter – which hinted at a taste or two of vinegar – was light and crispy and delightfully golden. The fries were some of the freshest and perfectly prepared in town – no BS (boondoggle/spuriousness) here.
Of course, CH had to drip several more ounces of vinegar (provided by a bottle that stays planted on the table) on the fish. The vinegar with the ketchup-drenched fries made for a wonderfully satisfying – if not delightfully messy – taste sensation.
The Guinness stew provided another pleasing – and certainly different -- taste sensation. Tender cubes of beef married with potatoes and carrots all swimming contently in a thickened Guinness stew juice (gravy) served in a nice fat hollowed out chewy and soft bun. Yum! The dish’s grilled veggie medley of squash, zucchini, and red pepper was a bit hardcore on the oil so make a little note to yourself if you’re not into that sort of thing.
The Strawberry shortcake ($5.95) with three cool (temp.) layers of sponge cake separated by a strawberry puree and whipped butter cream AND topped with a whisky bourbon sauce was very effective. And by effective, CH means delicious. Great hot weather dessert. Yum (again)!
The half-pound hamburger with melted jack and cheddar cheese was stupendous. What made this burger different from the kajillions available around town? Funny you should ask. Most importantly, the thing tasted fantastic. Why? The burger had a wonderfully smoky flavor and the Kaiser bun it was served with was fresh and quite chewy. Very nice. The only drawback was the price. Plunking down $8.50 for a burger (even with fries) seems excessive. But then again, a loaf of bread is $3.
Folks, there’s a new player on the west side of town. You might do well to stop by and check it out. It’s seriously quite good.
CH bone rating: 4 big bones out of 5.
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