Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tír na nÓg

My sister and I met a friend for dinner on Friday night. She and her coworkers have started a "dinner club" where they meet every few weeks for dinner. The only rules? Each place must be a different one from the previous ones, and we can't revisit the same cuisine twice. Last we went to my perennial fave Chiu's Sushi. That's when they unwittingly drafted me as their president, because of my vast knowledge in what there is to eat around town (I'm the only male, and all the women made me their president. Am I the only one that thought this was sexist?).

This time, our second meeting, we finally got to Tír na nÓg, the restaurant we avoided last Friday on account of the very sudden ice "storm." I'm glad we didn't go out last Friday - traffic into downtown was bad enough this Friday! Imagine traveling in all that icy slush.

Tír na nÓg is expensive, too damn expensive (probably I'll just head to Mick O'Shea's next time, like everybody recommended), but beautiful to look at. It has a wonderful view of the Harbor and the Light St. Pavilion. Inside the décor looks almost like a pub in an old Irish church, with a lectern-looking staircase and a pipe organ themed bar. March Madness was all over the TV's (the first time I had gone, last summer, it was nonstop soccer on every channel, which is no surprise). And there were all these ancient-looking photographs on the walls.

And the food is quite tasty. To go with my Guinness (you knew that was coming, didn't you) I had the house fish and chips (for $17 - my God, I paid less for it in London!). It was a BIG fish and chips, so much so that I boxed half of it. The chips were nothing to write home about, even in their mustard and butter sauce. The fish was juicy, plump, flaky and delicious, and the coating was crispy. This was after a sparse appetizer ($11) of caramelized scallops and watercress in a red wine sauce. My sister had the special, a small and flavorful steak. Our friend had the seared salmon. Both steak and salmon came with colcannon (mashed potatoes made with kale or, in this case, cabbage, and with a large dollop of butter in the middle).

I still forced myself to eat dessert (yes I know, how horrible). I ordered Ginger and Guinness Spice Cake ($7), and they were right - it was indeed spicy. Also very rich and a little chocolaty, this dish came with a large dollop of whipped cream (the real stuff). A very dense and gorgeous cake.

For the three of us - one appetizer, three entrées, three desserts, two sodas and a Guinness, we paid about $100 before tip. The service was good, so we were generous and gave a 20% tip. But the place is just so damn expensive!