Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Fiona’s Irish Pub-Catch the Spirit!

With St. Patrick’s Day happening his month, we decided it was a good time to visit Fiona’s Irish Pub in Kingstown. Although only open for about a year, owner Martin White is no stranger to the restaurant business. White came to the States from his hometown of Dublin, Ireland in 1986. He got his start in the business when he went to work for the Hamburger Hamlet restaurant group and eventually bought four King Street Blues franchises. But his dream has always been to open a decent, proper Irish Pub. I think that he has realized his dream.

White transformed the King Street Blues restaurant in Kingstowne to a dark wood, first class Irish Pub. The bar (a staple of any Irish Pub) dominates the back of the room that also has many high-top tables for dining as well. If you want to get away from the chatter and quality music piped in, you can dine on the other side of the full glass partition that divides the entire room and subdues much of the noise.

As with most Irish Pubs, to me, the best spot is at the bar. That is where the action is and bartenders, unless they are slammed, are a great source of information. The bar area was about 1/3 filled and as one would expect around here, we ran into a few friends. Dave, our bartender was delightful and helpful and as we had hoped, he had that great Irish accent.

After a perfectly poured pint of Guinness, (when in Rome do as the Romans do) I ordered the Guinness and onion soup. Now I am a big fan of onion soup, especially the French version (first time I ever had it was in Montreal in 1971 and I was hooked). This hearty onion soup was a half version. A very large serving had the Irish toastie instead of croutons and the cheese was plentiful but not overpowering. Served with a slice of brown bread (a family recipe) and Kerry Gold Irish butter, this dish could make for a quick lunch all by itself.

My companion ordered the scotch eggs, which were 2 hard boiled eggs in an Irish sausage crust and cut in half – another traditional dish. I understand that they were very good. I am not a boiled egg person, but the crust was terrific.

For dinner we ordered a bottle of Kono Sauvignon Blanc priced at $27.00. It was a great wine and as the rest of the Fiona’s menu, very reasonably priced. It may not mean much to most folks, but the wine glasses are large for what one would expect, which to me, shows a certain level of class.

I ordered the bone in pork chop with a brown mushroom gravy. This entree comes with their signature champ (smashed potatoes with scallions) and brussel sprouts for $16.00. Once again, a very reasonable price and a huge portion. Don’t expect a center cut pork loin…this is a pork chop. About an inch thick, it was cooked correctly, cut easily and tasty. I think that the thick brown gravy overpowered the meat a little, but I love gravy. The potatoes seem to be baked and then smashed, because they tasted like a baked potato. I thought they were very good and hot. Brussel Sprouts!…as a kid the only vegetable that I liked were green beans. Now, many decades later, my tastes have come around to where I even like brussel sprouts. These were little guys, and a lot of them, that were perfectly cooked…tender and warm and not burned on the outside, as some restaurants like to do.

My companion ordered Corned Beef and Cabbage with parsnip carrot mash and a parsley cream sauce…now that is Irish. Almost a quarter of a cabbage cooked just right and a sizable serving of corned beef that was extremely tender. Every thing was hot, no complaints here, and the carrot mash was sensational (I stole a few forks full).

Our normal M.O. when dining for these reviews is to get way too full for dessert. This time, however, we chose to save some left-overs (which all reheated very nicely) and order the Irish sherry truffle. It is served in a tulip sundae dish and is very tasty. Layers of fruit, whipped crème, pound cake and other amazing ingredients made it perfect for two. They also offer bread pudding with berry compote, fruit crumble with vanilla ice cream and a Baileys chocolate mo

The menu is extensive offering Irish favorites such as beer battered cod and chips, Irish seafood stew, lamb chops, Shepard’s pie, Dublin mixed grill, bangers & mash and Guinness beef stew. The rest of the menu includes the black & blue sirloin steak, liver & onions, chicken pie, mussels & shrimp linguini. For lunch there are 13 sandwiches or toasties available.

No white tablecloths, no expensive fine dining…just what you would expect from a Dublin Irishman…great, hot food at a very reasonable price…and a lot of it!

Written by: Bob Tagert

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