Kitty O’Sheas Revisited – A Good Irish Pub in the Making

Nachos and Rummikub bReaders of my initial review of Kitty O’Sheas last month may recall that I promised to give our neighborhood Irish pub another chance after a mediocre brunch experience.  Twitter followers, and my husband, urged me to stick with more standard fare of burgers and sandwiches, assuring me that I would not be disappointed.  This Sunday I decided to give it another go.

Despite my culinary experience the first time, I really enjoyed the homey atmosphere and friendly service that give Kitty O’Sheas the potential to become a favorite local spot.  It’s just the kind of place you want to hang out in to escape an otherwise dreary day, which after a week of rain Sunday definitely was.

The cozy eatery was full – but not overcrowded – with afternoon diners when my husband and I walked in.  We were able to settle into a table in the corner and were quickly greeted by Kitty O’Sheas friendly host/server.  Taking a cue from the shelves of board games at the back of the restaurant, we brought Rummikub with us and spread the tiles across the table, playing a friendly game as we noshed on nachos.  Covered in cheese, jalapeños, salsa and sour cream, the nachos were just the kind of comfort food you’d expect from a pub.

Clearly patrons playing table games is nothing new at this restaurant.  The server didn’t bat an eye as he carefully placed our food on the table, and a neighboring couple chatted pleasantly about their own Rummikub strategies.  Combined with the countless Sunday football games playing unobtrusively on screens around the room, it felt like being in a friend’s living room.

Unfortunately our main fare was a bit of a mixed bag, putting a slight pall on the experience. My husband ordered the chicken club – a favorite from last time – and was just as pleased the second time around.  He continues to sing the sandwich’s praises, as well as the onion rings that accompanied it.  They were lightly breaded and not too greasy.

My burger however left something to be desired. It was okay, but there was some essential flavor or seasoning missing, which neither my husband nor I could quite identify.  And the hamburger patty left an odd coating on my tongue.  The lettuce in the side salad was well past its prime, though the cucumber, tomato and red onions were nice and fresh. Unsolicited, the host discounted our bill because of the salad – a very generous and unexpected gesture.

The food is still a work in progress – though my husband does swear by the chicken club.  But what makes Kitty O’Sheas a place that I’ll still keep coming back to is the atmosphere.  The host feels like a friend who wants guests to have a great time.  He chats pleasantly with diners, makes sure their favorite teams are in view and takes the extra step to make them happy – whether letting us have nachos a bit before they’re on special, giving a couple the full menu even though it’s still brunch or helping someone who stops in for directions.

I’m definitely not giving up on Tenleytown’s Irish pub, and I’m betting the third time will be the charm with Kitty O’Sheas.  I think I’ll order the chicken club just to make sure.

Kitty O’Sheas is located at 4624 Wisconsin Avenue, NW and hosts a happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day with food and beverage specials.  A full schedule is available on its website.