Claddagh Irish Pub
5075 Deerfield Blvd
Mason, OH 45040
|Hours:||Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m. – Midnight
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.
There have been signs up advertising a new chef at the Claddagh Irish Pub in Mason. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, and remembering my previous mediocre experiences with the Claddagh, I thought we could give it another shot. We went on a weekday night hoping the crowd would be low and that we could be seated quickly.
I was surprised to see how many cars were in the parking lot, and even more so when we walked in and found that only the bar had patrons, while the regular dining areas were sparse.
We were seated almost immediately, and reminded by the hostess that they have a new chef and the menu had been through some changes. The interior is pretty neat with lots of stone and dark woods, almost like being in a tavern somewhere in Ireland.
But that’s about where the fascination stops. Despite having ample space in the restaurant, they still felt it necessary to cram too many tables too close to each other, even the hallway had tables in it. It was lucky they didn’t have any patrons seated in the hallway tables, as you wouldn’t have made it through if people had been sitting down.
When we were seated, the table and menu were sticky, really sticky – kind of gross if you ask me. But, our waitress was polite and very friendly so we decided to stick it out. For an appetizer we shared an order of the hummus with crispy pita chips – which were neatly placed in a basket with faux-newspaper in it that I thought was a nice touch. The hummus and pita chips were pretty bland and boring.
It was also made quickly apparent that we had apparently wandered in during happy hour – as the bar was pretty full and they were doing a silly trivia game. Despite being around the corner from the bar and the lack of many patrons, the restaurant was still pretty noisy – but not unbearably so.
Before we get too far into the review, I feel it necessary to point out that I realize most people go to the Claddagh for the bar as it apparently has a great selection of beers. We’re not bar people and even less so beer people – so we skipped all of that and just had a regular dinner. Besides, we were hungry – not thirsty.
The lack of many choices on the menu was a little bit saddening. I was tempted to get the Shepherds Pie as it’s a good traditional dish, but the memory of how horrible it was the first time I had it at the Claddagh years ago prohibited me from ordering it. It was like eating soggy cardboard on a bed of mushy wet paper (the mashed potatoes).
So, against my wish of getting good Irish fare, I just ordered a Monte Carlo. I figured that I had only had a bite of one once before at a different restaurant and it was pretty tasty, so I wouldn’t mind having it again. Adam ordered the Bacon and Cheese Tartlet. His came with a side of salad and mine with fries.
The Monte Carlo was the most horrifying thing I’ve eaten in a long time. It tasted like a sugary soppy breakfast omelette, particularly with the jelly alongside it. I figured when they said it was griddled that it would have been crispy – you know, like grilled cheese. But no, it was soggy more like french toast, had a hefty dusting of sugar on top, both so overpowering that it was hard to taste the turkey, cheese or anything else inside it.
“This is…” Adam said to me in regards to his Bacon and Cheese Tartlet, “not fit for human consumption…” Considering that Adam has an iron stomach and will eat just about anything – no matter how bad it is – that was a surprising statement. After taking a bite, I had to agree with him, it was pretty terrible. The dressing on the salad was very runny and tasted like lemon Pine Sol in a horrible way. Because of it being runny it went all over the plate and the tartlet had soaked a lot of it up which was most unfortunate. The parts of the tartlet that had not soaked up the dressing tasted pretty much just like basic unseasoned fried ham and egg.
So then I decided it was time to try the fries I had. They were actually okay, and I was happy to have something decent to eat after that nasty sandwich. The fries had been lightly salted and seasoned, then fried as usual. I decided to put some of the ketchup on my plate and dip some in it and decide from there if I wanted to eat them with or without it.
I’ve always avoided the ketchup and other condiments on tables as I’m a mild germaphobe (compared to the hard core germaphobes in my family – you know who you are) but I never felt bad about using them when I felt it necessary. However, when I bit off the chunk of french fry that had been dipped in a generous amount of ketchup I suddenly felt as though I would vomit on the spot. The ketchup tasted like someone had stirred in dish soap; it was horribly offensive. I suspect it could have mixed with some soap that must have dried on the plate and went overlooked, as I can’t think of any other reasonable explanation – and I’m not about to blame the restaurant for putting soap in their ketchup, that’d be crazy. This took the cake as the worst thing I have eaten in a long while.
Our waitress wandered by after we were done to take the plates and asked if we had saved any room for dessert. Her friendliness helped us to forget the nasty meal we had just had. After we replied yes (and I regret doing that now) she seemed shocked, like nobody ever ordered dessert. Polite and friendly as she was, I only wish she would have been polite enough to tell us please don’t make another mistake.
Adam ordered the Bread and Butter Pudding while I ordered the Beautiful Baby Banoffee. Neither beautiful nor delicious was either dish. They used soda bread and cranberries in the Bread and Butter Pudding, which added some flavor in addition to the intense kick of sweet from the glaze, but it was still a pretty bland dessert.
The Banoffee had graham crackers on the bottom, a lot of bananas and toffee in the middle, and terrible whipped cream on top. The bananas tasted old, like they had been sitting out too long but to be honest, the dish overall was just shockingly bland. Aside from the terrible choice of whipped cream and the bananas being excessively soft and sugary, this dessert was as bland as the other.
Well, did we get this one all wrong? Do we have to redo it or try a different location? Or did we get it right? Let us know in the comments.
Verdict: Avoid Like A Soapy Plague
The appetizers, entrees and desserts that we had were downright terrible. Terrible enough that I wonder how on earth this place has staid in business for so long. But then I realize that not only is it a small chain (only around 10 locations, mostly in Ohio but a few in other states) but nobody that I’ve heard talk about liking it had the dinner – they went to the bar. Having not done so, I can’t really say anything about it. So, maybe you’ll like it, maybe you wont. I’m sorry we cannot afford to be much help in that regard. Some time in the future we will try the other location in Kentucky and see how it stands up. Different chefs could mean a much better experience.