Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Irish & American Comfort

Is this the place where people go to silence their inner demons over a pint of Guinness? Perhaps. This Irish pub, after all, is named after the young patron saint of mental afflictions. It's a neighborhood pub on St. Mark's Place between Ave. A & 1st Ave. (and luckily not located on the the tourist trap/little Tokyo part of St. Mark's. This street and the surrounding streets have tons of great restaurants and shops).

So if you read our Sunday blog below, you know we were in the East Village from day to night. St. Dymphna's is where we started our excursion. St. Dymphna's doesn't seem like the standard Irish Pub. Yes, it's an Irish pub that sells Irish breakfast, Guinness, and has an Irish following. But it doesn't have cheesy Guinness light decorations or other "green" decor, and it didn't become an Irish pub by default by putting up dart boards or naming its bar with the "Mc . . . " or the "O' . . . " monikers. It was quite a refreshingly different kind of pub, almost homely. The kind of pub you could take your grandmother to without feeling guilty. The front area was small and cozy. The back "garden area" was great, although no one wanted to sit there despite the heating lamps.

Just the night prior we were watching Bobby Flay's visit to Ireland. So we were craving a taste of Ireland ourselves. We had their Irish breakfast, which consisted of scrambled eggs, rasher, sausage, black and white pudding, beans, home fries, mushrooms, and tomatoes. It was good and hearty. Nothing outstanding but definitely satisfying. The sausages were good, the black and white pudding were delicious, and quite frankly the worst part of this meal were the mushrooms.

Their veggie breakfast was pretty much the same as the Irish breakfast without the meat - so you got eggs, veggie sausage, beans, home fries, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

Toast somehow tastes better served in this rather than just on a plain white plate.

This was a vinegary sauce that complemented the sausages nicely but went horridly with the eggs.

We ended our day (still in the East Village) at S'MAC on East 12th Street between 1st and 2nd Aves. S'MAC (or Sarita's Macaroni & Cheese) only sells mac & cheese. You can even build your own mac & cheese or order it multi-grain or gluten free. You can also choose your size - ranging from the smallest "Nosh" to the largest "Partay!" Or if you can't decide, you can opt for their S'MAC Sampler.

We ordered the Nosh-sized Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese (cheddar, American cheeses with seasoned Ground Beef). The Nosh for $6.25 was plentiful for one adult. It was okay but way too oily.

Really, it would have been better called oil and cheese.

The Garden Lite Mac & Cheese (yes, sounds scary to me too) consists of lite cheddar, parmesan, roasted cauliflower and portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, broccoli and scallions. It ended up actually being better than the Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese because it wasn't swimming in a gross puddle of oil.

We absolutely adore the idea of an all mac & cheese place (would have been my dream come true as a child), but we wouldn't go back there because it wasn't exceptional. The Inn's mac & cheese is still on top. With thousands of restaurants in this city, if it 'aint exceptional, we 'aint going back. But this would definitely be a fun place to take kids or do their mac & cheese party platters for the little ones.