Monday, May 2, 2011

Michael O'Toole's - Columbus, Ohio

I'll start off by saying that I added and removed the tag "Irish pub" from this post at least six times before just leaving it there. No matter how drunk I was when I got there, this place was no more Irish than my Uncle Mario. The most Irish thing about Michael O'Toole's is the name itself, which is a complete misnomer. I have a feeling that the person who came up with the concept feels that serving pasta and ribs is as authentic to Ireland as clover tattoos on St. Patrick's Day and Celtic tattoos on fat, pasty white folks.  If you're a dirty mick, people just deduce your heritage when you spit on cab drivers or your husband openly mocks your drinking problem.  At least that's what I hear.  At any rate, you don't have to go advertising it, and false advertising is even worse.

That said, they had a good looking beer list, and a decent, yet incoherent menu.  We ordered an appetizer sampler, but nothing was really memorable. My entree, the prosciutto and Gorgonzola stuffed chicken was tasty, but small.  When I read "whole airline chicken breast" I was expecting a fair amount of bird, but what arrived on my plate was somewhere under six ounces.  They left the skin on, which I think is great.  There are several different opinions about this, but in fancier-pants cooking, skin-on is the way to go.  It retains all of the moisture and a fair amount more seasoning than boneless-skinless.  The bird was well-seasoned and you could actually tell what it'd been stuffed with, without having read the menu description. 
I didn't get much scoop on the food that the other gents ordered.  You see, as much as I always detested Seinfeld, there was a lot to George Costanza's theory about worlds colliding.  It's a bit of a push for me to report on dining I did on business trips, but I'm certainly not going to ask my co-workers how their dinner hits their palate.  FvF world must stay completely separated from regular work world, as well as in-law world. 

Service was okay - just okay.  Nothing to write home about, and he wasn't very knowledgeable about their wines or top shelf bar items.  The price points, in my opinion, are a little steep, considering portion sizes.  The part of the menu that almost made me stroke out was the side orders.  Mac & cheese, cole slaw, fries, wild rice, any of them - $5 each.  Yeah, American dollars.   Shut the front door!  Do they have a special decoder ring in them?  Are they gemmed with gold bullion?  Will they be spoon-fed to me by an oiled-up immigrant?  Chewed up by my server and spit back into my mouth like I'm a baby bird?   If the answer to any or all of those questions is no, then I can see that we're quite finished here. 

3.5 out of 5 sporks!


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