Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Something Good in the Neighborhood

It's been a while since anything blog-worthy's happened- had a bout of bronchitis last week that's been a slow recovery plus we've been pretty good about cooking at home instead of eating out after our vacation. I did find a new place near work for lunch- Cafe Navarre in Lakeview. Had me a pork panini and it was tasty!

BUT, I want to get in on the ground floor of a new place on St. Charles that I've been hearing about for a while. It just opened up on Monday and it's had a lot of buzz because the chef, Matt Murphy is quite well regarded in the community. It's called The Irish House, and despite my previous Boston area associations with the Irish pub/restaurant thing, I wanted to try it out.

We were both pretty wiped out and weren't really up for anything high (or medium) impact- just wanted some food and a beer. It was PERFECT! The space is beautiful- gleaming gorgeous wood bar, leather sofas and chairs by a (fake) fire, tables with long lovely wooden benches - comfortable but elegant. The staff was friendly, it had a respectable beer list on tap and in bottles (we had a couple Squatters IPAs on draft), and the food was AWESOME.

We ordered off the bar menu - the dinner menu looked amazing too, but we were in the mood for comfort food. Definitely want to go back and check that out soon, though. HelLO, Lamb Belly appetizer and Fig and Brie Stuffed Duck! Daaaammmn.

But that will be for another time- tonight we ordered and enjoyed our personal comfort food faves. Tom had the fish & chips (which tends to disappoint over here) and he loved it- fish was cooked perfectly, the breading was thin, crisp, and adhered perfectly to the fish. Seasoned beautifully. The french fries were also great- that is, till Tom over-vinegared them. Ah well, what can you do, the dude loves his malt vinegar.

I ordered the bangers and mash, which was fantastic- the fat delicious, savory pork sausage is apparently ground in house (or close by), split in two lengthwise and fried up nice on the griddle on the cut side. Over mashed potatoes and a perfect mushroom gravy. It was simple, but so, so good. Executing simple dishes with humble ingredients like this is actually not as easy as it looks, and it made me very happy.

I know this is a little gushy, but you know how sometimes you wander into a bar or restaurant and it ends up being exactly what you need and want at that exact time? It just hit us like that on all levels.

Cannot wait to go back. (I want to go to lunch there tomorrow but I'm afraid I will look stalkery/geeky if I go back the next day.)

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