Irish Restaurant & Pub
195 Bridge Street
been contemplating a visit to the newly opened Molly Maguire's Irish
Restaurant & Pub in Phoenixville for any purpose other than a leisurely
sipping of the Emerald Isle's most famous liquid libations--Guinness, Harp,
Smithwicks, Jameson, or Old Bushmills, for instance--I have a solid piece of
advice: caveat emptor.
In any new restaurant, no matter how highly-touted or
competently managed, you can always expect a glitch of two until the kitchen
and members of the wait staff succeed in getting their act together. On the
positive side, I must admit that the service does hang in there remarkably
well, although the kitchen--even during a quiet weekday's late luncheon--moved
along like a herd of turtles. The food, however, in several instances, was
very nearly beneath contempt.
And let me hasten to add that the culinary faux pas
committed here, especially during a recent dinner visitation, were completely
inexcusable and obviously speak volumes with regard to the establishment's
ultimate commitment to quality. The "Farmhouse Salad" ($5.00/$7.00), for
example--incorporating bits of bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, tomato, and
cucumber--looked good on paper. But the bed of mixed greens was tired &
wilted, had obviously not been properly refrigerated in quite some time, and
should never have been allowed to escape the confines of the kitchen.
Another starter, the bâttonets (literally, "sticks")
of zucchini ($6.00), were decidedly generic and, unless I miss my guess,
probably sprang full-blown from a frozen plastic pouch. The deep-fried tempura
batter was far from ethereal, and the accompanying ramekin of horseradish-chive
dressing came replete with a tiara of yellow film, a definite tip-off that it
had been left to languish uncovered in the nether regions of the fridge.
Among the entrées, the traditional "Shepherd's Pie"--ground
beef combined with carrots, celery, onions, and peas in gravy and topped with
champ (mashed potatoes adorned with scallions)--was an unmitigated horror.
The topping of lumpy mashed potatoes actually wasn't too bad; however, given
the taste and incredible saltiness of the gravy, the kitchen must have dumped
an entire bottle of Gravy Master into this completely inedible witch's brew.
The only semi-acceptable --though far from outstanding --main
course proved to be the fish and chips ($13.00). The cod was of good quality,
but the steak fries were inordinately soggy.
If you are absolutely overwhelmed by an irresistible impulse
to try this place, I suggest that you keep things as simple as possible by
going for one of the sandwiches or burgers. The "Hibernian Club" ($8.00)--
smoked turkey breast layered with Irish bacon, lettuce & tomato, and a
generous slathering of mayo--is undoubtedly the least likely to cause any
significant peristaltic indisposition... and it is accompanied by some excellent
lightly battered shoestring fries (as opposed to the mushy versions cluttering
up the aforementioned fish and chips).
According to a recent article, the proprietors, Messrs.
Cummins and Mannion, invested a cool $3 million to renovate the structure at 195-197
Bridge Street. They obviously put a great deal of thought into the attractive
recreation of the building's Victorian-style ambiance... If only they had put as
much thought into the quality of the cuisine.
The Artful Diner
Diner is an independent, freelance food writer. His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.
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