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Restaurants & Bars 5

O'Reilly's Holy Grail

rworange | Sep 16, 2005 01:01 AM

OK, those oft-repeated words … I really wanted to like it more but …

Concept A, Service A, Bar scene B +, Food, with one exception C, Music F.

Dinner was:
Lovely creamy draft Boddingtons Ale (got hooked on this in England)
Cockles and mussels stewed in fennel, leeks and creamy lobster broth
Peat smoked pork shank, butter beans, Mission figs, mustard sauce
Peach Melba with Grand Marnier and raspberry coulis

The peat smoked pork shank was the real winner. It is peat smoked for 13 hours and has the most amazing layers of smokey flavor in addition to being fall-off-the-bone tender … and HUGE. Highly recommended.

However, the kitchen over salts, so much so that my lips are still tingling. The butter beans with a few fresh limas and some chopped tomatoes would have been lovely, but the salt took over. Two figs cut in half merely garnished the dish. They in no way complemented the flavor and were pointless.

The presentation was impressive in a big black iron serving dish that would be big enough to roast a whole chicken. Points off for the dish not being warmed enough and the beans being luke warm.

There really didn't seem to be a mustard sauce. I forgot about it until checking their menu. And even writing this, it's the last edit because it just wasn't there.

It was probably a while since the cockles and mussels were alive, alive-0. Never had cockles which are a clam and had a slight ammonia taste. The mussels were just way too small and didn’t have that fresh flavor either. The broth would have been lovely, but again, too over salted. It also had some nice pieces of white fish for extra flavor. Not recommended

Even worse is that I’ve been humming the old song Molly Malone all night ... she pushed her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow, crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh"!

They really need a box of baking soda in the fridge, because both the seafood and the dessert were picking up refrigerator tastes. The Grand Marnier seemed to be missing and both the raspberries and peaches had that refrigerator taste.

Speaking of music, even the first post mentioned the music being distracting. There was no live music while I was there but the taped music was horrid … horrid. Awful Irish music with 5 songs that seemed to be repeated over and over. I wasn’t thrilled the first time I heard the song with a chorus that repeated endlessly “you can kiss my Irish ass”. That was followed by an updated version of Danny Boy. It made me want to drink more.

It does have a great bar scene though with about ten beers on tap, lots of different whiskey’s and scotches. There were only two other tables occupied in the restaurant, but the bar was packed.

Service was friendly, professional, knowledgeable and just wonderful.

I was a little put off at first by the décor which seemed to try too hard. It had that touristy Fisherman’s Wharf feel or the type of restaurant some hotel chain would put in as a theme restaurant. However, when the candles are lit and the lights are low, it is very cozy.

That peat smoked pork was so good, I’ll probably try some of their other house-smoked items like the trout. But, to me, although it is different than other restaurants, on this visit it seemed like a B restaurant in a town full of A restaurants.

The picture below is of the dining room. There are more pictures on the website.

Perhaps my feelings are colored by the fact that I wasn’t searching for the Holy Grail tonight. I had more heathen intentions of chowing down on a pupu platter at the new Tiki restaurant which is in the site of the old Hamburger Mary’s.

However, there was no parking so I was on my way to either Citizen Thai or Moose’s or the Richmond. Driving up Polk, there was a parking place in front of the Holy Grail and I felt a calling …

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

Image: http://www.oreillysholygrail.com/gall...

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