Hi, I just wanted to check in and let the folks who chimed in with their great suggestions know what happened with my sister's birthday celebration.
When last we left our heroes, Sister, Cranky Old Dad, Even Crankier, Even Older Friend of the Family, and I were supposed to go to Fork Saturday night. The rain and concerns about flooding put paid to that plan, so we decided to go to brunch Sunday instead.
After a round of negotiations, we settled on the Plough and the Stars, which seemed to have a nice broad menu acceptable to all parties. We were more than half an hour late for our reservation due to the St. Patrick's Day parade (and what was up with that? seems like next Sunday would be more appropriate), but had no trouble getting seated.
We chose to sit downstairs because Friend has trouble with stairs. I was disappointed in the ambiance -- it was more casual and less comfortable than I imagined, although maybe it was nicer upstairs. The ambiance wasn't helped by the too-loud music, which had all of us wincing; once we succeeded in having that turned down, the live entertainment took over, even louder than before. Service was friendly but spotty -- Dad had trouble getting his coffee refilled (and few things are guaranteed to make him crankier).
As for the food, we all enjoyed the selection of breads: a hot cross bun, a raisiny soda bread, and a dense brown bread. I also appreciated the chance to try Kerrygold butter, which, while fine, does not inspire me to run out and pay $8/lb for. I had a large waffle with some pretty good sausage and an excellent Irish coffee. Sister had the full Irish breakfast (without the black pudding), remarking that it would certainly fuel one up for a day of ploughing the fields. Dad had the Plough omelet with sausage, pears, and blue cheese; he said he was not that wild about it, but he polished it off. Friend had a cup of the seafood chowder and the salad with crab and seared tuna, which she liked although she was freaked out to find that "seared tuna" meant not cooked all the way through.
In all, it was a decent meal but by no means stellar. Nevertheless, we got through it with a minimum of grumbling and recriminations, so I must pronounce it a limited success. I doubt I would go back for more than a drink, however.
Anyway, thanks again to those who gave help and advice. I hope to be able to take you up on some of it another time.