Saturday, November 17, 2007

Daniel O'Connell's Restaurant and Bar

Last night, being a Friday night, we took a walk up King Street to find something to catch our fancy. For whatever reason we were really in the mood for some fish and chips (minus the fish part in Kym's case). Originally we had planned to Eamonn's, which I had heard from a coworker has some of the best fish and chips you can find in DC. However, when we got in there I couldn't understand what they were thinking when they designed the layout. There appeared to be plenty of floor space yet hardly any tables or chairs. Certainly nowhere to possibly sit down and with the prices they were charging, that really wasn't going to fly, so we ducked out and kept walking down King Street.

After a good walk, we finally came across a place that looked like they might have what we were looking for, Daniel O'Connell's restaurant and bar--basically an Irish pub/restaurant. The place looked pretty busy and the prices not too extravagant (at least on the bar menu) so we headed on in. I didn't get a chance to see the downstairs, but the upstairs, at least where we were seated felt rather packed in and claustrophobic. Nothing too crazy, but certainly not one of the restaurants strongest points.

We started off with a couple of drinks. I tried the O'Connell's-brewed Ale which I didn't think was particularly good. And as I found out when I got the menu, unlike most places I've been to that brew their own beer, it was not less expensive than any other beer on the menu.

As planned, I ordered the fish and chips. Kym, on the other hand, didn't have a single vegetarian entrée available to her so was forced to go with a starter salad and a side of chips. I'll never understand why restaurants who already serve burgers don't just keep a few vegetarian burgers in the freezer.

The food took a while to arrive and when it did wasn't great. The chips in particular were poor as they tasted old and reheated which is completely unacceptable when you consider how cheap they are to make and how much they were charging for them. Also, as any restaurant serving food from the British isles should, they had malt vinegar on request, but unfortunately it was a wide-mouth bottle clearly designed for pouring out into measuring cups in a kitchen, not for sprinkling onto chips. Kym's salad was too small of a portion for a $9 salad, the dressing wasn't great and the goats cheese was very sparse. My fish wasn't too bad, but the batter was a bit on the soggy side.

Lastly, the service was pretty poor. It took two tries to get the dessert menu, Kym's coffee arrived cold and the replacement cup didn't return until after the dessert was finished when she had been looking forward to having it alongside the dessert.

Not a place I recommend, certainly not on a busy night.


Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that you claim there wasn't a single vegetarian item on the menu at O'Connell's as there are several that don't force you to resort to a salad and chips as you claimed.

While their bar-menu tends to lean a bit heavy on the meat-end of things. They do have the "veggie fries" which I personally love, as well as the "Vegetarian Tandem Tarts" on their dinner menu which are very filling. Being a frequent diner there, I can also tell you that their menu is changing sometime at the end of this month and the chef has stated that he is bringing in more vegetarian options. It may be worth another look. As for prices, it's old-town. There's no such thing as cheap eats if you are on King Street.

KC said...

Hmmm, thank you for the comment 'anonymous', I don't understand why people aren't forthright when they clearly come from the establishment in question.

I was mainly referring to the bar menu when speaking about vegetarian options. However, I don't see how 'veggie fries' is really much of an improvement on potato fries when we are talking about lack of vegetarian entree options. And I'm always wary of something like vegetarian tarts since from my experience in working at a restaurant, chances are pretty good that something like that is made days in advance and simply reheated rather than made fresh.

Finally, when I say it was expensive, I am of course taking value into account and I just didn't see how the dishes deserved the high prices being asked, particularly when it results in old fries, cold coffee and poor service.