Sunday, June 2, 2013

Murphy's of DC Food Review

Irish Country Breakfast at Murphy's

I woke up this morning longing for an Irish breakfast. Thank goodness it was Sunday, the one day of the week when Irish pubs come to their collective senses and offer Ireland's best meal to appreciative locals. I live less than a block away from an Irish pub (Nanny O'Briens) but they don't serve breakfast/brunch, opting for a Mad Men happy hour instead (how Irish!) No matter: Murphy's of DC (2609 24th St., NW, behind the Woodley Park Metro) is less than a mile away, and proudly advertises a champagne Sunday brunch from 10 AM to 2. Off I went.

Woodley Park Metro was a zoo (pun intended) thanks to extensive weekend repairs; and I had to make my way through scores of Metro passengers being shuttled back and forth to Dupont Circle and points south. There were even more people lined up to get into Open City at the corner. Nestled in between, stands Murphy's. Their outdoor dining area had plenty of open seats (how much better could Open City's eggs and bacon be?) but the thought of inhaling all those bus fumes pushed me inside the air conditioned dining room, where I was joined by a couple at the bar and a row of empty tables.

Less customers meant faster service, and I was handed a menu by the host in no time. I'm assuming he was the host, because you couldn't tell by the way he was dressed (t-shirt, shorts and flip flops.) I've spent more than a few hours in Irish pubs, and this guy stood out like a sore thumb. He wasn't the only one: Murphy's isn't very Irish at all (outside of the green, white and orange flying outside.) Tables were covered in white tablecloths and Frank Sinatra/big band music played over the speakers. It's nice, but just doesn't feel right.

My server arrived shortly after, and took my order for an Irish Country Breakfast ($9) and a Diet Coke. Sadly, Murphy's doesn't serve a traditional Irish breakfast (rashers, puddings, etc.) but rather American fare... Eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries and a biscuit. No big deal: I was hungry for anything at this point. My breakfast took only a couple of minutes to arrive (talk about fast!) and looked nice enough. There's plenty of food, but most of it lacks flavor (especially the sausage.) The biscuit was a bit dense, but I enjoyed it all the same. Kudos for crispy, salty bacon; and they're more than generous with the potatoes.

After placing my order, my server apologized for not bringing me my soda (the CO2 was on the fritz.) He brought a glass of water, and asked if I'd prefer juice instead. This turned out to be most fortuitous for yours truly, because not only did I get OJ and water... He also brought me the soda later (after the dispenser was fixed) and didn't charge me for any of the drinks. Customer service? A++ That's how you make lemonade out of lemons.

I'd have preferred a truer taste of Ireland; but I got a sample of outstanding Irish service (by a Yank, no less.) I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would want to wait 30 minutes to an hour to squeeze into Open City, when a spacious Murphy's awaits literally steps away.