|Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant|
|Like I said, you're not be able to miss the restaurant as you cross the bridge.|
|Samantha, our seater.|
|The bar from our initial table|
|The main taproom from our initial table.|
The gentleman in red continually rubbed his temples as the band did its sound check. He was, if anything, closer to the speakers than Nathan and I were.
|Stephanie, our waitress.|
I tell you, if all servers were like this one...
I've been to Ireland, and seen authentic Irish pubs, and I have to say I'm impressed. One thing that Raglan Road advertises itself as is authentically Irish (the owners are Irish, the chef is Irish, and even the building, they say, was built in Ireland and moved to the US), as opposed to other so-called Irish pubs in America which say they are Irish, but never seem to pull it off.
This felt authentic, and it certainly looked authentic. Other than being about three times the size of a real Irish pub, these guys got it right. The Raglan Room has wooden chairs with armrests, oak panels on the wall with paintings of notable Irish personages everywhere, and a fireplace that made of heavy wood, inlaid tile, and wrought iron. Nathan even noted that the glass in the partitions had to be close to 50 years old because they just don't make it like that anymore (Nathan is an artist who works in many media... he knows such things).
Stephanie returned to drop off a bread basket filled with a honey soda bread and a plate with olive oil and a Guiness reduction dipping sauce. The bread, while not warm, was a delightfully chewy, multi-grain bread that had a slight honey taste. The dipping sauce was different from anything I have had before. It was sweet, with a light caramel flavor, and I immediately started cataloging half a dozen things I could use that on (I'm thinking of a glaze for a grilled leg of lamb...). Stephanie helpfully let us know that the reduction was on sale by the bottle in their gift shop
|Soda bread, and the Guinness reduction dipping sauce.|
Stephanie let us alone to our thoughts, and eventually we decided: since we literally could not make up our minds, we'd order two entrees together, and split them both. In the end, we chose to get two more appetizers, the Dalkey Duo and the Mighty Mussels, and one entree, the Salmon of Knowledge.
|The Dalkey Duo|
The sausages had a nice flavor, meaty with just a hint of spice kick to them, and they were served already perched on the end of forks. The presentation of this appetizer just amused the heck out of me, because I had never actually thought of preforking an appetizer in any restaurant I've ever worked in. It was clever and amusing and the sausages were great, so all in all this is a very successful menu item in my opinion.
|The Mighty Mussels|
Nathan, in particular, pointed out one very important aspect about these mussels: there was no grit. We both are fans of well-done mussels, but we have to admit that we have often ordered mussels only to find that they are nearly inedible because of the amount of sand particles left in them. These mussels had been cleaned carefully before cooking.
One last thing: the garnish on the mussels was made of parsley and some crustinis. We didn't even glance at the garnish; rather, we just shoved it to the side to get to the shellfish. It seems a bit much for the dish, and was unnecessary.
|The Salmon of Knowledge.|
I should mention that the skin was charred. At first we thought that the skin on the fish had been blackened, as with some Cajun dishes. But no... it was charred. Nathan and I honestly thought we found the first little flaw in Raglan Road's food, but after a while we realized that this had been done intentionally so as to protect the meat of the fish from overcooking. The flesh of the salmon fell away from the skin easily, and we pushed it aside in our quest to get to the rest of the salmony deliciousness.
Once again, it was the garnish choices that came across as badly thought out with this dish as they had with the mussels. In this case, the garnish was a spray of parsley and a pair of grape tomatoes. Uncooked grape tomatoes. Grape tomatoes that were overwarmed by their presence on the hot plate, and thus were inedible and bad-tasting.
Yes, I eat my garnishes... don't you?
After the meal, Nathan and I sat for a moment, contemplating dessert... but we were both too full to even consider them. Besides, we were heading for the Magic Kingdom, and there were orange swirls to be had. Instead, we let our meals settle and talked about our dining experience.
The portions were a great value for their reasonable size and we were very pleased that we could get resat so easily when it was discovered how horrible our original table was. The prices were pretty reasonable (the entire meal came to $65, including tip), given that we ordered a lot of food. And Stephanie was the kind of server who was always on the ball with drinks, gave helpful hints, and didn't mind just having a quick chat about the place.
Would I recommend Raglan Road? You better damned believe I will. And I'm already planning my next trip out there. This time, I'm taking Mom, who does love her Irish food.
Five stars out of five. Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant has shoved the San Angel Inn out of the #2 spot on my list of the best Disney restaurants, just behind the Grand Floridian Cafe which still sits at #1.
Fulton's Crab House, at Downtown Disney.