Easton eatery stocked with holiday-appropriate grub
For those about to shamrock, I salute you.
Yes, St. Patrick's Day is nearly upon us. To honor the many hardy souls planning to celebrate that “alco-holiday” until they're green in the face, I have two recommendations: 1) Leave the driving to someone sober; 2) Prime your Guinness-hole with huge plates of rib-sticking, occasion-appropriate, good-tasting Irish food.
Cabs and driver apps will resolve that first concern. For the latter matter, go to Fado Irish Pub.
This entails heading to Easton Town Center and entering a dark and rambling establishment brimming with wood and the kind of nooks and crannies and odd-angled spaces associated with pubs in Ireland. Fado is also packed with old farmhouse implements, vintage kitchen knick-knacks and antique-store goods and furniture that look like they've been summoned from an early 20th-century book penned by the great Irish writer, James Joyce.
Sure, this “ye olde quaint tavern” decor is touristy, but in an amusing and almost convincing way. Besides, the 21st century streams in through numerous flat-screen TVs beaming local sports and European soccer matches — which are very popular here, often attracting an exuberant crew of English Premier League “footy” fans during Saturday brunch hours.
Whether you show up then or not, Fado's traditional Irish Breakfast ($14) is a great way to go. Served all day every day, it's an immense and delicious platter of two eggs, seared mushrooms, broiled tomatoes, brawny, beer-flavored brown bread and a two-of-each array of morning meats: hefty links of juicy, seared-yet-tender banger-style sausages; rashers (think salty, serious ham); patties of goetta-like “white pudding” (pork-and-oatmeal sausage); plus slightly spicy, aromatic “black pudding” (pork, oatmeal and blood sausage) that will be surprisingly accessible — even delectable — to many American palates.
Pairing this Irish breakfast with a Fado Irish Coffee ($7.75) is an inspired, if extremely indulgent, delight. Fado serves the mood-altering beverage with a theatrical tableside presentation: A generous splash of Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey is poured into strong java and then garnished with spooned-on real whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles that mimic the swirls in Fado's logo.
Instead — or on the side — you could sip what James Joyce called “the wine of the country”: correctly poured Guinness stout ($6.50). Actually, several varieties of Guinness appear on the large drink menu, which includes Guinness cocktails, whiskey flights ($12 to $35) and abundant other beers.
Beer is the best companion for Fado's terrific Corned Beef and Potato Dumplings ($16). Salty house-roasted meat, shaved Parmesan, sauteed kale and grape tomatoes top lots of excellent house-made dumplings that resemble tender gnocchi. A bright wine-butter sauce, nutmeg and herbs contribute crisp, rich and fragrant accents to the attractive dish.
The always-available lunch portion of Fish and Chips ($12) comprises one piece of “wild-caught” cod, fresh and vinegar-forward cole slaw plus plenty of crisp flour-dusted potato wedges. Had the flaky, good-tasting fish been less oily, it would've been a bigger hit.
Served with beer bread and a perky kale, barley and pickled onion salad (hard to eat from its little jar), Fado's whopping version of Shepherd's Pie ($15) is a loose ground-beef blend that tastes like beef stew capped with whipped potatoes. The comforting combo is broiled and presented in a cast-iron pan. Although light on the advertised vegetables, it's a winner.
Similarly, if you receive two slider-style Toasties ($6 each; one a hot chicken riff, another with ham, cheese and mango chutney), that, like mine aren't perfect — ingredients were missing — they'll still be pleasant defenses against boozy overindulgence.
If you nonetheless mistakenly have a few too many, possibly due to any St. Patty's festivities, take solace from that immense genius, Joyce, who wrote, “Errors are the portals to discovery.”