West Toledo Irish bar imports enough charm.
Irish Eyes Heavenly Pub looks, sounds, and feels like an American bar, but its menu -- mostly off the fried/grilled grub grid and under $10 -- is a pleasant surprise.
In its sixth month on Secor Road at the edge of a strip mall anchored by Home Depot, it's owned by a couple of local men and staffed by 20-somethings, including young women in short-shorts. Bands often play on the weekends beginning about 9 p.m.
If your idea of a pub is a quaint little place with a hand-painted sign hanging outside and creaky wooden floors, reboot. This large interior is a mash up of whiskey-barrel tables, glass chandeliers above a verrrry long bar, tile floor, and a high, black industrial ceiling with red duct work. A few booths with church-pew benches are tucked along the window side, but seating is mostly at four-top tables.
There were few patrons on my two visits. I wished for a small, quiet room instead the big, loud bar but I was there to dine, not party. (Speaking of party, the dozens of beer offerings include eight drafts and eight bottled imports. An outdoor patio abutting the parking lot has picnic-style wooden tables and chairs.)
MENU: Irish Eyes Heavenly Pub
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The Irish may be known for wit and charm, but their kitchens are not famous for cuisine. Famine, climate, and soil probably have something to do with that. Irish Eyes, however, plucks the best of the Emerald Isle: bread, desserts, and many of its dishes are made here.
My favorite was lamb stew ($8) served in a beautiful bread bowl. Large chunks of meat were tender and the broth rich and well-seasoned. My only desire was for more veggies. I took half of it home, and three days later, opened the container with some trepidation. To my astonishment, the bread was still relatively firm even though it had absorbed much of the broth. Heated up, it was positively scrumptious.
Sheppards (their spelling) pie ($8), is a bake of hearty red-skin mashed potatoes covering a generous layer of ground lamb. Fish and chips ($8), lightly fried, were delish. The healthier fish option is grilled mahi-mahi ($9).
Corned beef and cabbage ($9) differs from the cooked-in-one-pot version ubiquitously served on March 17. Thick slabs of beef were accompanied by a couple of large cabbage leaves and carrots that seemed to have been steamed separately.
Stuffed cabbage with a light tomato sauce ($7) were two large pieces heavy on the ground beef, wrapped in cabbage leaves that were a tad overcooked. Bangers and mash ($8) is two mild sausages infused with a bit of Irish whiskey (couldn't taste it), accompanied by a cup of dense skins-on taters. Sausage casings were a little tough.
A couple of appetizers were top notch. Bacon-wrapped chicken skewers ($7 for four) and a honey-mustard sauce were mouth watering, with the bacon serving as condiment. Enough for a meal were blackened fish sliders ($7,three thick pieces of grilled mahi-mahi) topped with Irish Eyes' rendition of crunchy, vinegar-tossed slaw.
Delicious home-made chips arrive in a welcome basket and with the five sandwiches ($6, including corned beef, reuben, and sliced turkey). There are flat breads with toppings ($7; ordered without meat, it's one of two vegetarian options, the other being salad).
We adored two desserts: chocolate potato cake with ice cream ($4), warm, rich, and were it any moister it would be pudding. Warm Irish bread and butter pudding topped with a caramel whiskey sauce ($5) and enfolding whiskey-soaked raisins, is perhaps the inspiration for the word "heavenly" in the bar's moniker.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irish Eyes Heavenly Pub
Address: 3324 Secor Rd.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$
Credit Cards: Dis, MC, V.
Web site: irisheyesheavenlypub.com
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