Saturday, October 6, 2007

REVIEW: Fadó Irish Pub- *** / $$

The old Lincoln Park is certainly making a go at being a true destination. Still, knowing the previous clientèle for which what is now Twin River was known, namely those who are 9.5 million years old and those to whom dental hygiene means little, I did not enter with high hopes. Aside from the same old clientèle, Twin River and its selection of restaurants impresses.

While Fadó does not impress as much as its Twin River roommate, Fred & Steve's Steakhouse, it was still a good restaurant. Entering, I was struck by how large it was. It seemed to continue onward in all directions. The layout borders on labyrinthine. The bar is enormous and it had a vast selection of beers that any brew-lover will certainly enjoy. It's obvious Fadó fully embraces its niche. They are pushing themselves as a true Irish pub, with all the trappings one would find in a European counterpart, including an obsession with soccer. If you like soccer, this is a dynamite place to go if you like strikers. If there is a single game on in any deep, dark part of the world, it's probably on their TV's.

We were seated promptly in a cozy little corner near some wall-mounted knick knacks. It was fun-enough, but the whole junk-on-the-walls motif, to try and somehow drive home the fact that this place is just another neighborhood haunt when in fact it's a chain, has been driven into to the dirt by TGI Applebee's.

The seats were uncomfortable and my dinner partner's bum found itself falling to sleep on a number of occasions. It also took a very long time for our server to apparently become aware of our existence. I'm not sure how one forgets about customers, but they managed. Once she did, though, service was prompt, if not a bit strange. They are all older than you would expect, as was the clientèle. I, 25, and my girlfriend, 23, were the youngest people in the room by at least a decade. The average age of the wait staff was probably in the late forties or fifties. Moreover, everyone working there seemed to be bored, or drugged. Not bad, just strange. Our waitress apparently had a nervous breakdown halfway through our dinner, necessitating help from another server. She explained that she was helping out our original waitress with the work load. What work load? I think we were her only customers.

We got a three-cheese toastie which was the best grilled cheese I've ever had, and we both got corned beef boxties, which are potato pancakes cooked crepe-style and wrapped around corned beef and cabbage. Very good but unbalanced. I'm not going to knock a restaurant for giving me a healthy serving of meat, but I really would have liked some cabbage in there. There was almost none and the very salty corned beef overpowered the rest of the boxty. The French fries were tasty. Very crisp and well seasoned.

None of the desserts were very impressive, considering the bakery downstairs. The Black & Tan brownie is decent, but its party piece, the Guinness ice cream, isn't very Guinness. It's basically vanilla ice cream with the faintest hint of Guinness that is immediately lost upon biting into the very chocolaty brownie. The chef's dessert of the day is perpetually chocolate cake. The bread pudding is very good and really the only dessert worth considering.

In the end, the star of the show is the rustic charm of the food and the prices. Fadó intelligently doesn't try to outclass its ambiance with its food. Instead, it allows its food to simply be cheap, tasty, and provide just the right kind of sustenance for a night out with other Manchester United fans. All in all, good place, just not a place I'd seek out unless I was really hankering for a boxty.

Fado Irish Pub: ***
Price range for two: $25-$45

Fadó Irish Pub
100 Twin River Road
Lincoln, RI. 02865

Closed Monday & Tuesday
Wednesday & Sunday 12:00pm - 11:00pm
Thursday through Saturday 11:00am to 12:30am

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