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Martin O'Grady's Irish Pub

CiderIn a word: Enh.

The specs: #0371
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Badger Herald, Madison Fish Fry; Martin O'Grady Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Latest Martin O'Grady's Irish Pub news and reviews at del.icio.us

JM ate the Texas burger with a lemonade.
John ate the blackened prime rib sandwich with a diet Coke.
Nichole ate the cardiac burger with a hard cider.
Rose ate the prime rib sandwich with a diet Coke.
The bill was $44, or $11/person, plus tip.
JM, Nichole and John gave Martin O'Grady's Irish Pub a B; Rose gave Martin O'Grady's Irish Pub a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest Martin O'Grady's Irish Pub news and reviews

Labor Day lunch at Martin O'Grady's across from West Towne Mall started out quiet enough (as in calm, not as in free of commercial rock radio). But by the end of the meal, our solo hostess/bartender/server was saying to the regulars at the bar that "If you bus some tables, I'll buy you a drink!" Earlier she'd offered to let Nichole pick the drink special of the day. It's just that friendly kind of neighborhood place, sans the neighbors unless you count the ones in Sunset Memory Gardens.

Burger and prime rib sandwichThe menu offers standard pub fare, which is how we ended up getting two pairs of variations on a theme: the prime rib sandwich and the burger.

The former inspired little enthusiasm in John and Rose. Other than the toppings, their prime rib sandwiches didn't differ much despite one's claim to being "blackened." Both were tasty but a bit tough. Rose's could have done without the lettuce, though she (and Nichole) put the horseradish mayo to good use.

Likewise JM wasn't thrilled with his "Texas burger," with cheddar, bacon and good BBQ sauce. It also had something incongruously crunchy (a la cardboard) in it, like tomato or too-thick onion. Nichole wouldn't have dreamt of ordering the "Cardiac burger" with bacon and a fried egg had she not biked 45 miles that morning to prep for Bike the Barns. It turned out to be a good recovery meal with a day's worth of protein. As assessed by Kate's burger rating guide:

  • Bun: hearty wheat with bits of grain, toasted and buttered. Got a bit soggy by the end.
  • Meat: decent.
  • Bun/meat ratio: ideal.
  • Misc.: leaf lettuce and a tomato slice do little to moderate the calorie density of this protein bonanza. But it was hella tasty, the fried egg done to the perfect bun size, with crispy edges and a yolk that held together. Two pieces of chewy bacon were, in this context, mere condiment.  About an 8 of 10 overall, but one every year or so is more than enough.

As for sides and garnishes, they too ran the gamut of quality. From overcooked fries to standard onion rings to good, crispy hashbrowns to the most impressive: the fresh fruit that was not only ripe and mostly seasonal but arranged on the plate in rainbow order. Watermelon, canteloupe, pineapple, honeydew, and pickle, arranged just so, whether intentional or not, made Nichole smile the smile of the slightly compulsive, slightly tipsy Virgo.

Irish Creme pie

We split a piece of Bailey's pie: a filling of French silk texture with a swirl of Bailey's Irish Creme topped a moist cookie crumb crust with fudge on top and a spurt of whipped cream on the side that tasted just exactly like it sounds, no less and no more.

We've since learned that some dishes at Martin O'Grady's can hint at use of a bit too much cleaning solution, but to us, it seemed rather average and not outstanding when set beside its peers.


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Oh man, Nichole's BtB preparations are way better than mine. But I'll be there, granted at the back of the pack, huffing and puffing my way to good food!

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