Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kelly's Irish Times Food Review

Kelly's Irish Times

Ireland's Black Eye

"Give me your thirsty, your famished, your befuddled masses," so it says, above the front door of Kelly's Irish Times in Capitol Hill. A play on words of Emma Lazarus' The New Colossus, it begs the question, "and then what?" Unfortunately, I found out exactly what happens when you step foot inside Kelly's Irish Times. If only I could post it as a limerick...

It began with the swing of a creaky door, and a disinterested host tapping away on his cell phone. One look inside this "restaurant," and I asked if I could eat outside: This request went over like a lead balloon, and the surly host/server appeared upset at the thought of having to seat me outside (at 11:35 AM on a beautiful, sunny day.) Two audible sighs, while he grabbed a menu... and he let me hold the door for him on our way to the patio. If I didn't have to review this so-called restaurant, I would have kept walking; but food critics have to swallow their medicine just like everyone else.

Rather than examine a menu, I decided to place an order straight away for a Burger Platter with Onion Rings ($9) and a Diet Coke ($2.28.) May as well get out of there sooner, than later. It took me five minutes to get over the fear of someone spitting in my drink... the first time I've felt like that in a long while. One look at the fancier, cleaner Dubliner next door, and I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd been banished to the children's table at a wedding I didn't want to go to in the first place.

Speaking of clean, allow me to go back inside for just a moment. The Irish Times looks absolutely disgusting: Its' spacious interior was cluttered with dirt and knick-knacks (akin to visiting a crazy old lady's house, only dirtier.) It looked like a dive bar at the end of the night, rather than the next day. Gross.

The Burger with Onion Rings

Speaking of gross (these segues write themselves sometimes) my food arrived less than 10 minutes after my order. My server actually managed a kind word, "Enjoy," after placing a relatively nice looking plate before me: I was instantly suspicious. The onion rings were OK (although a bit oily.) Still, an improvement over pedestrian fries... You can choose from eight different sides, including tater tots. The burger? Awful. I asked for MEDIUM, got EXTRA WELL-DONE. The bun was cold, straight from the bag. The meat had no seasoning (more on that later) and tasted off. I can't prove it of course, but I know hamburgers (good and bad.) As for burger knowledge, I'm getting sick and tired of line cooks who can't cook a simple piece of meat properly. From now on, I'm automatically deducting two letter grades when you burn my burger. Yes, I'm angry: It's a burger for goodness' sake: How can you muck it up?

Seasoning. Let's see... No salt, no pepper (and no ketchup bottle either.) I went for the salt, but the dirty (sense a theme here?) shaker wouldn't dispense any. How come, you ask? Well, those little holes won't let a big clump of wet salt through. While we're at it: How long before you toss a nasty salt shaker away? One year? Five? 10?

Note the clump

To my surprise, the server brought out two extra napkins without my asking. Perhaps I'd misjudged him? No such luck. After telling him, "Thank you very much sir. I appreciate it," when he returned my credit card, he merely grunted, "hmm, hmm." Nice. It's hard to believe I was the only person eating here. At least I was able to leave. I'd prefer to eat stale rice cakes for the rest of my life, rather than return to this horror of an eatery.

Atmosphere: F (I just described it as disgusting, dirty and gross: You tell me.)
Burger: F (Inedible and way overcooked.)
Rings: C+ (Good quantity, average taste.)
Service: F (Worse than poor.)
Value: D- (Fair price, but they should pay us to eat here.)
Overall: F (If they were shut down tomorrow: I wouldn't bat an eye.)