The Luck of the Irish (Craft) has Run Out

Omar and I began hearing about a local pub our friends started frequenting and had great things to say about. Irish Craft on Mound, just South of 16. We were apprehensive at first due to the multiple reincarnations of the restaurant. Previously Rosie O’Gradys, and many other failing restaurant/bars we didn’t have a lot of confidence in its success.

Our first visit was a welcomed surprise! The burgers were fresh, tasty and really lived up to the “best burger in Detroit” rating they claimed they achieved. The fries, although still battered were better than most. Onion Rings crispy and flavorful, not too greasy. I ordered potato skins, rarely anyone does those well, but we were pleased to find they were cooked well, lots of cheese, fresh crispy bacon and green onions. Not the typical “yesterdays leftover baked potatoes reheated with some greasy cheese and bacon bits” that other local venues have to offer. The beer menu is extensive, with multiple craft offerings including IPA’s, stouts, lagers and porters. Most recently Omar tried the Rochester Mills Blueberry Pancake Milkshake Stout, 5.25% apv, this alternate version of the standard Milkshake Stout has all the characteristics of the classic, with aromas of blueberry and a bready, creamy almost pancake flavor. The blueberry seemed more pronounced in aroma rather than taste, but an interesting accompaniment to the classic. Although Omar enjoyed his beer, he will stick to the classic in the future.

Follow up visits to this bar brought still enjoyable experiences, with us branching out trying new burgers, French Onion Soup, chicken tenders (which you could tell were made fresh), wraps and more. We were never really disappointed.

We then discovered that Wednesday Nights they hosted a “Jeopardy” style trivia that we really enjoyed playing. On Wednesday nights Irish Craft got to be our “go to” place for date night where we could play trivia, grab a cold beer and have a nice night out.

We started a “healthier” eating lifestyle January 1st. For those opting for healthier fare we found that Irish Craft was not an easy place to eat well. The salads were mediocre and the rest of the menu was laden with carbs, cheeses and fat. Spitting Fajitas is really your best option, and at the time they were ok.

However, the quality of Irish Craft has gone down significantly. I don’t know what happened. A change in management? Lowering quality to increase revenue? Whatever the reason, they have made some very bad changes. Trivia on Wednesdays has been cancelled with no explanation, which is surprising because they only people there on Wednesdays were there just for trivia. The food quality has noticeably declined. The burgers are just ok now and tend to be overcooked and dry. Fries are no longer included, with soggy stale chips now substituting. The potato skins which were once cooked so well, now were under cooked and hard, with melted cheese, soggy, fatty, bacon and sorely lacking green onion. They have removed items from their menu like the French Onion soup. They have added a pizza menu which we have not tried. Sides like stuffed mushrooms, chicken tenders and onion rings which before were clearly made from scratch are now pre-made and bought in bulk and sadly dropped in the fryer. Looking for a nice fresh salad? You no longer will find that here. If you enjoy bagged salad with some chopped up lunchmeat from yesterdays sandwiches and some shredded cheese, then this is the place for you. The beer offerings are still vast, and served iced cold. The beer is really the only thing now that they have going for them.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and there was 3 patrons. Omar and I and some random dude at the bar, that clearly was friends with the bartender. I get that it wasn’t prime time, but that amount of people on a Saturday was not only sad but very telling. Do yourself a favor, and go somewhere else. I would have told you to go last year, but oh what a difference a year makes.

I Couldn’t Have Done it, I Was at the Alibi!

Omar and I were heading to a fundraiser for a friend way out in Leonard, MI. Basically take Rochester Road for a very long time. We decided to stop for a quick bite and a beer before we headed out and decided to try, or should I say re-try the Alibi in Troy. A Troy historical restaurant, its known as being one of the longest serving restaurants in the Troy area. Starting as a country fried chicken establishment in 1927, serving diners out of a small house on that property, the restaurant has maintained its appeal and morphed over the years, changing owners and menu items but maintaining its family owned appeal and has now become one of the pizza restaurants in the area.

The restaurant underwent some remodeling in 2015, adding a nice outdoor patio and some updates to the interior.  The place is very homey, with a two sided fireplace, cozy seating and warm ambient lighting. We ordered a few things so we could sample the menu. I was craving the turkey reuben, but Omar suggested the burger. As they claimed to have the “best burger in town” I was willing to give it a try. We also ordered a pizza with pepperoni and a nice cold lager. My apologies, as I am writing these blogs a bit late due to our crazy busy lives lately, I forgot the specific beer we ordered, I know, unacceptable!

Let’s talk about the good, the Meh and the Ugly. Ok, there was nothing ugly. So I guess lets talk about the good, the great and the meh. The Good, was the pizza. The pizza was really good. Did it rival Green Lantern? Probably not, but it was a darn good try. The sauce was flavorful, the crust had the right amount of crunch and chew, and the cheese was plentiful. The pepperoni had those curled crispy edges that did rival Green Lantern, although Green Lantern’s pepperoni is slightly thicker with a bigger grease pool in the center (mmmm…. grease pool). The great? Maybe it was because we hadn’t enjoyed a beer for a while, but the beer was exceptionally cold and really hit the spot. The meh? The burger. The burger was surprisingly small and was very similar to that backyard burger that dad always overcooked and put on his special grilled partially burned wonder bun. The burger was seasoned well, but very overcooked, and basically amazingly pedestrian. The fries were the super popular “battered fries” and were awful. No point whatsoever in wasting a single calorie on them.

Would we go back? Yes, under a few conditions. Only for the pizza and the beer and only if we were either in the area or meeting friends. If we are looking to just get a great pizza, and craving round, then we will just go to Green Lantern.

I have tuned in to Penn Station!!

Penn Station Subs – where have you been all my life? I failed to pack a lunch today so ventured out to one of the local fast food establishments for lunch.  Typically, I would not feel compelled to blog about a fast food experience, c’mon, we all know they are just mediocre.  Or just bad. But the sub I got today was amazing. Really.  I ordered the steak and cheese, with melty ooey gooey provolone cheese, grilled onions and banana peppers.  The sub bun, more like home cooked French bread, was crispy on the outside and chewy inside, and still warm, just how bread was born to be.  The steak was tender, not gristly (which is one of my key indicators of a good cheesesteak sandwich) and the rest of the toppings all melted together in 8 inches of pure heaven. (Yes, I will do you ALL a favor and NOT add an Omar comment here!!)

Let’s talk about the French fries.  I am a French fry snob as some of you know.  I feel fries are only worth eating in one of three ways, fat, tender, crispy steak fries, skinny, salty shoestrings, or, and this is exactly how Penn Station’s fries were prepared, natural cut, a bit brown, and drizzled with malt vinegar.  In my opinion, any restaurant that has malt vinegar out next to the ketchup is doing it right. Five Guys Burgers is one who does it right with the fries.  Granite City used to have the world’s best skinny fries. Salty and served up in a small metal cup.  Our last venture there, we discovered the fries had changed, hopefully temporarily or I will cry.  The waiter at Granite City had no idea the fries had changed, nor do I think, he really cared.

Which brings me to my Frirade as I will call it.  That is a fry tirade.  I abhor the latest craze “crispy fries” or “battered fries”.  They are frankly an abomination and I simply cannot waste the calorie intake on them. When I go to a dining establishment, and deciding between a sandwich or salad, it is the fries that will determine which way I order. Unfortunately, most wait staff have NO idea what I am referring to when I ask “do you have those battered fries?” Most say, “No, we have AWESOME fries” and proceed to bring me the most NOT awesome battered fries, which really makes my belly sad.

I could go on and on with my Frirade all day.  Come on people, cut up a potato and drop it au naturel in some delicious boiling fat and throw some salty goodness on them.  That is the way they were intended to be prepared.

So, Penn Station, your subs rule, you do your fries right, and I think I love you.