Sunday, August 15, 2010

Amazing Irish-American food in Utah? Ah yeah!

The moment you step out of your car in the parking lot and you get a whiff of roasting lamb, and you know this is going to be a good night.  Welcome to MacCool’s.

MacCool’s Public House bills itself as an “Irish pub-style family restaurant for ALL to enjoy!”  Culinary speaking, it serves traditional Irish fare with local influences. 

All your Irish favorites are there.  The appetizers start the menu off full-steam with bangers & mash, sweet potato fries, and lamb ribs.  Remember the smoky BBQ smell in the parking lot?  Multiply that by a million and that’s the flavor you’ll be enjoying with a Jenga-esque stack of char-grilled lamb ribs.  The sauce is definitely boss though, so don’t worry if you’re a lamb virgin.  It’s delicious and sweet.  No meal at MacCool’s is complete without lamb ribs and one point or another.

MacCool’s has a smorgasbord of nine different salads, including the Tossed Salmon (char-grilled salmon fillet chopped and tossed with grilled green beans, tomatoes, candied walnuts, dill, shallot, and yogurt dressing) and the Curry Chicken Salad (smoked chicken, peanuts, red grapes, spring mix, cucumber, curry dressing).

The menu also boasts no fewer than 15 tempting sandwiches (and nine burgers!).  There’s the traditional Irish corned beef special, and even a sandwich made with their house smoked gravlox (potato cakes), bacon, red onion, and tomato on ciabatta.  The BBQ pulled pork sandwich puts their legendary sauce to good use.  As with all of their meats, you can tell it’s fresh and all made in house.  The BBQ pork sammy comes with slaw and a mix of russet and sweet potato fries.

The Traditional Irish Fare entrees include fish & chips, corned beef & cabbage, stews, chowders, and several meat pies.  In addition to the Classic Sheppard’s Pie with roast beef, there’s its American cousin, the Buffalo Sheppard’s Pie.  This dish convinced me that bison was meant to be eaten in pie form.  Buffalo burgers, steaks, and jerky are just too dry to really be enjoyed.  But mixed with venison and Andouille sausage simmered in English ale, and layered with roasted corn, mushrooms, mashed potatoes and Irish cheddar?  Yes, sir, I do believe you are a genius.

Finally there’s the Ploughman’s Breakfast.  This meatfest includes four lamb ribs, two fried eggs, two strips of bacon, a potato cake, sourdough toast, and the best sausage I’ve ever had stateside.  The sausage (called a banger) was exploding with delicious, fresh, natural flavor.  There were no distracting herbs or spices.  It didn’t need any.  The meat stood on its own two feet.

Summary: Please, for the love of food, go eat at MacCool’s as fast as you can.
Rating: Astronomical

Salt Lake (1400 S. Foothill Blvd.), South Jordan (11610 S. Main District Dr.), and Layton (855 W. Heritege Park Blvd.)  Open from about 11am-10pm daily.

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