Tom and I headed out for the night in one of my favorite towns to dine in--West Hartford--and decided to try something a bit different. McLadden's was hopping when we got there, with a large crowd of people in the bar area and quite a few more waiting for tables. We were seated after about a 20 minute wait. I like the feel of this place--dark, wooden seating area with the signature Guinness harp towards the back of the room, beer taps mounted onto shelves along the walls and a stage area for live bands. I've never been to Ireland, but this is what I hope a traditional Irish bar looks like.
To start, we shared a bowl of the French Onion soup. Our waitress told us that so many bowls of that soup had been ordered tonight alone. Maybe it was the chill in the air that got people craving some warmth in their souls or patrons just know how good this soup is, either way, it was a great choice. The onions were cooked perfectly and just melted as they hit your tongue. The Gruyere and provolone topping a crostini gave the soup that bite that hits you in the back of your mouth, while the beefy broth melded all the flavors together.
For entrees, Tom went with the corned beef and cabbage. The portion size was excellent and adding some mustard to the mix really made the dish for him. I am not a big fan of corned beef myself (contrary to my red hair and fair complexion, I am not Irish in the least) but the few bites I stole were pretty good. I decided on Bangers and Mash for myself--the Irish sausages had that distinct flavor that I expected, but it was the three onion gravy that really ramped up the flavor in this dish. The potatoes were fluffy and plentiful and also benefited from the gravy.
We were quite full by the end of this evening and we overall had a good experience. I would definitely come back--maybe next time to hang out at the bar and enjoy my own crock of french onion soup!