Restaurant Review: Kitty O’Sheas
4624 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC
I so wanted to like Kitty O’Sheas, Tenleytown’s own Irish pub and eatery. The idea of a small, friendly neighborhood watering hole seems perfect for this community, and the kind of place I’d like to frequent.
Walking in the door over the Labor Day weekend for a mid-afternoon brunch, a friendly server/host who was manning the cozy dining space by himself greeted my family and me as if we were old friends stopping by for a visit. The restaurant was bright, with light from the large windows reflecting off the mirrors along the left-hand side, which made the small space seem more expansive.
There was a homey feel to this little pub, with wood floors, bar and trim, warm red walls and a bookshelf in the back corner filled with board games waiting for someone to sit back, have a beer and play a round. Black and green Guinness advertising banners from St. Patrick’s Day 2013 rimmed the walls, and five flat screen televisions hung around the room broadcasting, what else, soccer. Twentysomethings nursing hangovers and families out for a casual afternoon meal sat around high and low top tables comfortably filling the room, while a few diners braved the heat to enjoy the outdoor patio.
The brunch menu featured traditional American and Irish fare, as well as build-your-own burgers and club sandwiches. On special, Bloody Marys and mimosas were only $3. I sipped a spicy Bloody Mary while I perused the menu, ultimately choosing the Irish Benedict – two poached eggs over Irish rashers on an English muffin, topped with hollandaise and served with home fries. My husband decided to build his own club sandwich, while my son went for pancakes, bacon and fruit.
We eagerly awaited our meal, anticipating that the fare would be as homey as the pub. Unfortunately, the food didn’t fully live up to the ambiance. While my husband was extremely pleased with his club sandwich – perfectly grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, red onion and bacon on wheat toast – and seasoned fries, my Irish Benedict left a lot to be desired.
The hollandaise sauce had an unpleasant acidic tartness; the eggs were hard boiled rather than poached; the rashers were unmemorable and the English muffin was soggy with butter. To his credit, the server had the kitchen cook me another serving, but the second attempt resulted in under cooked eggs with glassy whites and the yolk pouring out rather than gently oozing as I cut into it. I will say that the home fries that came with the dish were nicely seasoned with a hint of Old Bay and were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. I enjoyed those while forgoing the rest of my meal. As for my son’s pancakes, his verdict was “I’ve had better.” They were buttery, but nothing special.
Overall, I wished I had ordered a burger like the family at the table next to us. I don’t know how their burgers tasted, but they looked yummy and the family left looking happily satisfied.
I love a good Irish pub, and would love to have one in Tenleytown, so I’m willing to give Kitty O’Sheas another try. Maybe I’ll play it safe with a burger and a Harp when the next big game is on. I’ll let you know how it goes. (UPDATE 10/14/13: See how things went the second time around.)
Kitty O’Sheas hosts a happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. everyday with food and beverage specials. A full schedule is available on its website.