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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Black Diamond Steakhouse- Newry Maine

My wife and I only went to the Black Diamond Steakhouse on the Sunday River Rd in Newry Maine, when our first choice ended up being closed for a special event and we ended up being happy that we did. It was the weekend of the Tough Mountain Challenge at Sunday River ski resort so everywhere in town was busy. The Black Diamond Steakhouse was no different but only being a party of two we were seated almost immediately when we arrived. Looking around the dining room you see lots of ski memorabilia on the walls and a huge moose head on the wall...WELCOME TO MAINE ! The staff was in (somewhat) organized chaos and the manager was very busy busing tables, seating people, bringing out food and pouring drinks. It looked as though the Black Diamond was very undermanned for the amount of people that were eating but they certainly get an A for effort. As far as the food goes, if you like the classic steakhouse menu then you're going to like it. If your a food yuppie and prefer your food fancy with ingredients that you can't pronounce then pass on by. For an appetizer we had fresh cut french fries topped with gravy.

 The fries and gravy were good but the portion a little small and we finished them in abut 30 seconds. Simone went veg head with her meal and ordered a portabello mushroom cap stuffed with boursin cheese and topped with breadcrumbs.

 I had the Chicken Cordon Blu , both meals came with the salad of your choosing, a diner roll, vegetable of the day and a choice of starch. For our starch we ordered the Rice Pilaf. My chicken was fresh prepared and perfectly moist. Stuffed full with ham and Swiss, It was not breaded like some Cordon Blu, so you can even claim it was healthier. The rice was fluffy and nutty due to the toasted orzo. It was a perfect pilaf.

The green beans on the side were tender but not overcooked and the dinner roll was light and fresh tasting. Simone and I both enjoyed our meals and cleaned the plates. We had received a coupon for a free dessert from the hotel we were staying at so we could not pass up the classic Brownie a la mode. A nice hunk of a rich brownie topped with classic vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, chopped nuts and whipped cream. It was just as mom would have made had she loved me as much as she claims. Overall this was just a simple comforting meal. There was no wow factor but one wasn't needed. It was a good and satisfying meal. The service under the circumstances was also very good and we could not have asked for much more. 4 stars for the Black Diamond Steakhouse,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Casa Novello- Westbrook Maine

Simone and I went to Casa Novello this past Sunday night with our Portland Dine around Club Card ( I should get some kinda discount for plugging this damn thing all the time). At the suggestion of other yelpers we made reservations but didn't really need them as the place had plenty of seats. Its about a 10 minute drive from downtown Portland to get to the Casa and from the outside its nothing special. Inside is also just okay as far as the decor, but what is lacking in decor is made up for with the smell of fresh tomato sauce and garlic coming from the kitchen. A little Italian music in the background and some dimly lit lighting and you almost feel like your in an Italian Cafe in Northern Italy (or so I'm told). The meal starts off with some slices of Italian Bread and a side of Olive Oil and rosemary freshly mixed by the waitress. The bread was okay but not as good as I have had in other places. There were many delicious sounding items on the menu but we decided on two homemade meatballs for an appetizer/side order. Simone also got an appetizer portion ( which could feed two people) of house made Butternut Squash Ravioli and I decided on the monster entree portion of house made Pasta with Bolognese Sauce(that could feed 12 people). The meatballs came out first.

Casa Novello

 They were about the size of a pool table ball and were topped with a fresh sweet tomato Marinara. These were hearty and tender with a mild hint of garlic and Parmesan. They were very tasty and better then my mothers ( probably because my mother never made me any).
Simones Ravioli came with an interesting Cinnamon and caramelized onion cream sauce. Not a combination that normally goes together but somehow worked . It was the perfect marriage in this sweet dish.

 I choose Angel hair pasta for my Bolognese. The pasta was cooked perfect and topped with the rich Bolognese made with shredded and chunks of beef pot roast. My only complaint about this was the sauce to pasta ratio was a bit stingy. To make up for the lesser amount of sauce I used the remaining sauce from the meatballs and it worked just fine.


When in Venice ( or Westbrook) do as the Italians do and order cannoli for dessert! Simone I each ordered a cannoli because I don't like to share. It was good with a nice crispy crust and smooth but not to sweet ricotta filling. The only thing i would have enjoyed with this would have been some kind of chocolate but it was still enjoyable. As a surprise the waitress figured out her tip for us ( 20%- she thought a lot of herself) and also did not punch our card thus allowing us to use our dine around club card a second time at Casa (that's almost unheard of and possibly against the club rules). Overall I really enjoyed this place and would suggest it to anyone looking for good Italian fare. 4 stars

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Muddy Rudder- Yarmouth Maine

I have passed by the Muddy Rudder on the border of Freeport and Yarmouth Maine a million times on my way to and from Portland, but have never stopped as I never really figured id like it do to being known as a seafood lovers place. However ,I had a Portland Dine Around Club coupon so I figured id give it a try for brunch on a cold Sunday morning in April when I couldnt find anyplace in Portland that didn't have an hours wait. Simone and I arrived at around 11:00am and the place was strangely empty. This is always a concern for me, but I have been driving by many a time in the summer when the parking lot is full so I figure it is more of a reflection of the time of year then the food quality.

Upon arrviving the (very cute) hostess sat us at a table with a nice view of the marshy waterfront and then the (very cute) waitress brought us some waters, coffee and menus. Simone tried the Creme Brule French Toast with a side of Bacon and I was convinced by our (very cute) waitress to try the days special Monte Cristo Sandwich. I hesitated a bit on my choice as I do not usually like Monte Cristos that much.

 I usually get ones with Deli Turkey, Deli Ham and thin somewhat soggy bread. This one however exceed all my expectations. This was real moist and tender Roasted Turkey, sliced about 1/4th of an inch thick , piled high with crispy bacon and a generous amount of Swiss. The bread was nice large thick cut french toast bread that was dipped in a cinnamon egg batter and grilled crispy on the outside and moist but not soggy on the inside. The sandwich was huge and delicious, the best Monte Cristo I can remember having. It came with hash brown casserole that was not as good as the sandwich. The hash browns were overpowered in the dish by the onions and it lacked some salt and pepper. I ate them but they could have been better.

Simone's Creme Brule French Toast also exceeded our expectations. Thick Cut French Toast Egg battered thick slices of french bread were grilled, then topped with Sugar and carmelized until golden brown. They looked prettier then the (very cute) waitress that served them and tasted sinfully sweet. Simone also ordered a side of bacon which could have been a bit crispier. In what can only be described as genius, she took some Bacon and wedged it between the french toast slices dipped it in syrup and made mini salty and sweet breakfast sliders. YUM. With the amounts of food we were able to bring some french toast home for another meal. However, we were not able to bring the (very cute) waitress home therefor we will be back for more trips in the future. The Muddy Rudder was an unexpected find. Four stars

The Pointe Afta-Winslow Maine

 The Pointe Afta bar and restaurant  is located on 252 China Road in Winslow, Maine. It has been around for longer then I can remember and over the past few years I have come to love the atmosphere, the people and the food. This is not your clean cut, spotless classy neighborhood restaurant. In fact I'll be up front in saying the outside has seen better days and the restrooms could use some TLC. But when you walk through the door you are immediately taken back to a time when you could go to your favorite spot to watch the game on the TV with your friends over a cold beer (or twelve) and talk about the old times. There is New England sports memorabilia all over the walls, arcade games, a couple different rooms for functions and an outdoor patio. Another great thing about this place is Stan, the owner who always chats it up with customers and keeps watch over his business each and everyday (I never have seen him in the evenings for some reason). Once you get to know Stan you will always feel welcomed at his bar. So what about the food ? Its consistently good bar food essentials such as wings, nachos and mozzarella sticks along with a huge selection of burgers and sandwiches named after local New England and Maine athletes and coaches.

My suggestion would be the Scott Wood. This is my go to hot baked sandwich, Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, Mozzarella, mushrooms and Mayo. The melted cheese, the gooey tangy mayonnaise, the sweet Teriyaki and smokey grilled chicken are a delicious combination. On the side you can't go wrong with spicy curly fries or onion rings (not homemade but always crispy). On this trip, Simone and I discovered a new favorite- Buffalo Chips.

A potato take on the classic Buffalo style wing. House made thick cut potato chips are served extra crunchy topped with melted Monterrey Jack cheese, bacon bits, Blue Cheese, Ranch Dressing and Hot Sauce. These are dirty because they will remind you of great sex, hot, messy and you'll be wanting more. These are a meal by themselves ( which would be good to know before you order your meal). After finishing a delicious dirty plate of these addictive chips we ended up having to take most of entrees home. Simone ordered a sandwich special consisting of Grilled Chicken Breast, Bacon, Swiss and Honey Mustard on Foccacia.

This sandwich was basic but well prepared and although Simone could only eat a quarter of it after all the chips it was enjoyed again for dinner along with the remainder of my Scott Wood sandwich. I would recommend The Pointe Afta to all of you. There is a reason it has been in business forever. Good Service, Good Atmosphere, Good Food and cold beer adds up to 4 stars and many return visits.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mr. Bartleys Burger Cottage

Right across the road from the sophisticated and elite Harvard University in Cambridge Mass, is the small and crowded, boisterous dive called Mr. Bartleys Burger Cottage. If you are looking for a quite laid back tea sipping lunch, then keep on walking because this is not your place. However if you want arguably the best burger you may ever eat in a crowded loud and kinda insane atmosphere then you have found your place.  About 50 or so burger combinations grace this menu and there is also some other stuff, but honestly who cares?  The burgers are ground fresh each day and start out by being formed into baseball size patties and then slapped on the grill and charred until a nice crust forms on both sides.  Simone and I hadn't even planned on eating here,  but were directed by the hotel concierge that this was the ONLY place to go if I wanted a great burger.  
We arrived at 1:00pm with a small line out the door, but we only had to wait 5 minutes before seats were found for us at one of the long community tables with 25 of our closets friends. Sitting across from each other, arm to arm with no room to move we were packed in like a sardine can. You have no choice but to sit, eat and be merry. And don't even try to talk with whomever you came with...just write your conversations on a napkin or learn sign language. The waitstaff literally yells out your order to the three short order cooks manning the grill who are also dropping some great fries (regular and sweet potato) and fresh onion rings in a culinary circus of madness. Simone ordered a soup that was very good..but really again...whos cares?

I ordered what you go to Bartleys for..a burger.  The Democrat to be exact, medium well ( as suggested by my concierge unless you like your burger mooing).  It arrived as ordered. It was an inch thick topped with about another inch of grilled sauerkraut, a couple slices of melted Swiss cheese and a good portion of creamy, tangy house made Russian dressing. The bun was mostly useless and disappeared under all the toppings. It was a dream come true. Fresh, Rich, Beefy, Drippy, Melty, Sloppy and Delicious. The kraut and dressing spilled down the sides of my mouth but I wore it loud and proud. I was able to finish the monster, and still had room to take on a milk shake to go. I choose the Elvis Frappe which included Chocolate Ice Cream, Bananas, and Peanut Butter blended up into a delicious smooth, rich coma inducing dessert. A perfect way to end the insanity. Overall the food gets 5 stars, the atmosphere 4.  I loved Mr. Bartleys Burger Cottage.  

JJs Eatery Too-Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Have you ever gone to the beach in early March in the state of Maine and then tried to find a bathroom? Unless you want to wait in line with twenty five or so disease invested teenagers then its virtually impossible. This is how my story of JJs Eatery 2 in Old Orchard Beach Maine begins. It was a rare 80 degree day in early spring and Simone and I just had to go....and JJs located right alongside the railroad crossing in OOB was open for Business (mine and theirs).  It is actually one of the only places open year round, and although from the outside it may not be the most inviting, the inside was clean and the people are friendly. After enjoying the pristine clean restrooms we felt obligated to eat something so we sat down and looked over the menus. Nothing on the menu will really grab you attention. It is basic bar food with lots of to be expected fried fish options. However the Turkey Vegetable Soup grabbed Simones attention and a Pork Quesadilla on special looked good to me. The food did not take long to arrive.  The Soup was served in a coffee mug or bowl and included fresh pulled dark and white meat turkey and large diced turkey, carrots and onion in a turkey broth. Simple and yet very well seasoned and tasty and Simone enjoyed it.  

My Quesadilla was also pretty good and grilled crispy.  It was loaded with diced roasted pork (I would have liked pulled better), a generous amount of mozzarella, tender apples, crisp smokey bacon and well caramelized sweet onions. They offered sour cream and salsa on the side but with this Quesadilla it was not really needed. Overall, this was a good choice for a decent meal in OOB when most other places are closed. The bathrooms and restaurant are clean, the staff is friendly and the food will not wow you, but it definitely will hit the spot. 3.5 stars for JJs Eatery 2 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sam Lagrassa's- Boston Mass

I am here to report, that everything you have heard in the food reviews and watched on TV shows is true. Sam LaGrassa's is for real.  I decided to go to this Boston deli located close to the theater district, when I saw it on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network and then researched it on yelp. While on a weekend getaway in Boston with the wife I decided to give it a try. I had read about the huge lines that usually form at Sams   ( which is only open for lunch Mon-Fri) and decided to go after the lunch Break working crowds.

 My plan worked and when we arrived there were only about ten people
in front of us. Amazingly it only took about two minutes until we arrived at the front of the order counter where the now infamous owner was waiting for us. We barely had enough time to figure out what we wanted but I decided to order the Corn/Beef and Pastrami on Rye Sandwich Platter with Fries and Slaw.

Simone went with a vegetarian Portabello, Cheese and Pesto Sandwich.  I ordered my Sandwich and watched as about thirty pounds of house cured Beef and Pastrami was thinly sliced on the slicer and then slapped down quickly on homemade rye, topped with slaw and another slice of rye and quickly cut just in time to join the straight from the fryer french fries. The whole process took about 30 seconds and four people...amazing. Simone's sandwich took a few more minutes to prepare as hers was toasted in the Panini Press.
While they cooked her sandwich we found a seat with a street view and sat back and watched the sandwich magic continue. These guys operate behind the counter like a fine oiled machine and its entertaining to see. My sandwich was great, Corned Beef, Pastrami, Swiss, Slaw and Tangy Russian Dressing. Sams Corned Beef and Pastrami is described as Rumainian...whatever region of the earth it is from does not just going to call it friggin good.  The Slaw is also good , although not as creamy as I like and a little heavy in celery seed. The bread is made fresh daily and you can taste it. The Rye was excellent and laced with  plenty of seeds.My sandwich was huge but It was so good I couldn't help but finish it.

Simone's sandwich was also very good. Like almost everything at Sams, the Pesto is nothing short of perfection, especially if you are a garlic lover as it is pretty heavy in it. The sandwich was stacked high with Monteray Jack Cheese and Portabellos which also had a good amount of Garlic in them.  This may not be the best sandwich choice for a first date, but after 5 years of marriage my loving wife was not concerned with the abundance of Garlic. On a side note, after you have eaten at Sam's, take the long walk up two flights of stairs to get to the restrooms. Do this up and down a few times, and you will have worked off enough calories for maybe another sandwich !  Overall we ate great meal and had a great experience at Sam Lagrassa. Although it has had its share amount of fame, it still holds true to its neighborhood deli feel and it is truly a great sandwich. 4.5 stars. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Q Restaurant -Boston, Mass

Q is located just a two minute walk from the Boston Opera House and the Paramount Theater on Washington St. in Bostons Theater/Chinatown district. The main reason that people love Q is the Chinese Hot Pot. This a little more upscale then most places in Chinatown so its a great place to go before taking in a show.
Its a fun experience of you are one of those that likes to play with your food. Simone was under the weather so also a big pot of boiling broth was just what the doctor ordered. There are many different choices on the menu for your hot pot, but if you would rather not cook your own food then the Q has got you covered. Sushi and other popular Asian dishes are also available.

For our hot pot broth we went with a combo pot. One side Miso Broth and one side Basic Broth. Both are mild and very well flavored with vegetables and herbs. For our vegetables, we went with a veggie platter assortment, a wild mushroom assortment, and Chinese broccoli. For the meat, thin sliced Lamb and Sirloin, and for the starch, Udon Noodles. The Broth came out within two minutes of ordering, and the meats and veggies within another minute. This was quick service at its best. The broth quickly started boiling. Simone seemed a little confused and gave away our hot pot rookie status by asking for a fork to accompany our chopsticks so the waiter graciously explained the Hot Pot process to us.

Basically just drop your vegetables into the broth of your choice and cook them for as long as you desire, then at the last minute add the noodles and meat and cook for about ten seconds and at that point you are good to go. Scoop it all out into your bowl, add your condiments of choice, more broth if you want, and enjoy. The great thing about it , the more you cook, the better the broth gets as it absorbs the different flavors. And if you don't like the food well its kinda your own're then one that cooked it. That being said, our food was great ( because I cooked it). I'm not much of a soup guy but at least for one meal I changed my mind. Hot Pots can be a great meal on a cold night or just something if you want a healthier, fresh option when you go out to eat.

When we fished with our meal we had some Ginger Coconut Ice cream for Desert. It was cooling and smooth and hit the spot. Overall the Q was a bunch (or should I say bowl) of fun. They do not take reservations so go on a weekday or plan on arriving early or waiting. If you do need to wait they actually give you an I-Pod with games on it to keep you amused. This is definitely a strong four to five star meal and a place I would return to again.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Moody's Diner-Waldoboro Maine

Moody's Diner is located along Coastal Route 1 in Waldoboro, Maine. It is well known in these parts, mostly for the pie and (of course) seafood. Obviously we know which one I wasn't going to eat. I rolled in to the Diner at 4:00pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon. At this time of the day you would expect the place to be virtually empty, but to my surprise it was almost full. This was a good sign. On this outing, I was a party of one so I had no trouble finding a spot in a booth. Moody's is pretty large and also includes a motel (kinda) and a gift shop.  All that its missing is a laundry mat and gas station. Sometime soon I'm sure they will put one of these in, after all this is in Maine. So onto the menu.  I was really craving meatloaf in some form, and Mac and Cheese, however it was no where to be found ( no meatloaf in a diner..really?)  I then noticed a seldom seen in this century menu item called Chicken Croquettes with Gravy..and decided to go with those.  They came with the option of two or three and your choice of potato, vegetable, roll or biscuit.  I choose to go with a biscuit to start and then fries and coleslaw with the meal. While waiting for my meal I noticed a TV behind the register. Oddly, it was only playing advertisements for the diner itself. I thought this was a little pointless. Why advertise the place when I'm already here ? All I really wanted to see was some sports.

My biscuit arrived quickly and It was great. Warm throughout, flaky, buttery and light. One of the best I have ever had and I could have eaten a dozen of these if I was allowed. It was truly the best part of my meal. It didn't take me long to finish it off and soon behind it came the Croquettes. For those not from the 1950's a Chicken Croquette is basically every thing you would find on a roasted chicken dinner plate (Chicken, stuffing, potatoes, gravy) combined , breaded and fried to a golden brown. These were a bit bigger then golf balls and were very tasty and well seasoned..however they were only luke warm in the middle so that was disappointing.  The gravy worked well with the Croquettes and also helped to warm them a bit more. The fries although not homemade were good and crispy and worked well to mop up the extra gravy. The coleslaw was very good, and not overly creamy.  I finished most of my plate but saved some room for the famous pie. Moody's has about 10 or so kinds of pie... I had my heart set on a slice of pecan...once again my heart was broken. A diner with no pecan pie or meatloaf...not good.  So choice number two was a peanut butter cream pie, and I have to say this was also very good.

About an inch of peanut butter mousse is topped with about another inch of whipped cream all in a nice flaky pie crust. A good way to end the meal. To be honest I was hoping to be amazed with Moody's, however I was somewhat let down. Yes, it was good.. but for all the press it gets I was kind of expecting more.  The prices are also great ( my meal came to just $12.50) . So if you happen to be driving by and are looking to save a little cash and still get a good meal stop in, just don't set your expectations to high. 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Po' Boys & Pickles-Portland Maine

Who doesn't love a good sandwich ? Satisfying and filling a sandwich is the ultimate comfort food. And one of the Kings of sandwiches is the New Orleans Po' Boy. On 1124 Forest Avenue in Portland Maine there is small joint that strives to give you this taste of the Bayou, and its called (of course) Po'Boys and Pickles.

Simone and I went to Po' Boys and Pickles after we had an afternoon of rock wall climbing and we had built a pretty good appetite. This sandwich shop did not let us down. At Po'Boys the service is part counter and part waited table service.  When you walk in you walk up to the counter, check the menu board and give them your order. You then find your seat and they find you when the food is ready.

There are many sandwich options, all of them unique with toppings. All sandwiches come with sliced pickles on the side. The pickles are made in house and are delicious (this coming from me who doesn't normally enjoy them). Have them on there own, or as my wife did, stuff them into the sandwich. There also many options for sides to go with your sandwich. Fries, Rings, Slaw, Fried Pickles, etc..

For our orders, Simone decided on the Dirty Bird ( because she like the way the name rolled off her tongue)
and I went with the Reggie Loaf ( because I like Reggie?) We also choose to have a side of Gravy Fries and also some house made Praline Crusted Bacon (hell yea). In reverse order, the sandwiches arrived first, then the fries and then the bacon. I figured this must be what its like being in the French Quarters of New Orleans. The sandwiches were large and stuffed full.

Simone's Dirty Bird had seasoned roasted chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato with pickled garlic mayo. There was more perfectly crisp Bacon in this sandwich then on most truckers breakfast plates which was fine because it tasted so good. The roasted chicken was also moist and the garlic mayo was actually very mild and added to the sandwich instead of overpowering it.

The Reggie Loaf consisted of two 1/2 inch slices of house meatloaf, topped with gravy, french fries, lettuce, tomato and Horseradish mayo. The meatloaf was moist and perfectly seasoned, the fries were still crispy in the sandwich even when drizzled with the gravy, and the Horseradish mayo had just enough kick but was not overpowering. Again, another great Sandwich. The bread roll on both our sandwiches was also surprisingly light and airy on the inside and nice and crusty on the outside. A sandwich is only as good as the bread its served on and this bread was perfect to soak up all the juices from the sandwiches

On the side, our Gravy Fries were crispy ( at least at the top of the bowl) and the gravy flavorful. We finished off the entire bowl.

The Praline Bacon ( which I also suggest adding to your sandwich) was decadently sweet with half melted crumbles of brown sugar coating it. Some peaces could have been crispier but that didn't stop me from finishing it all. Amazingly, we finished our entire meal but left no room for dessert. Maybe next time. Po' Boys and Pickles was a great find, and a very satisfying and filling meal.  4 Stars.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Byrnes Irish Pub-Brunswick, ME

Bynres Irish Pub is located at 16 Station Street in Brunswick, Maine (there is also another Location in Bath, ME). My GPS didn't actually recognize the street so if you happen to have the same mentally retarded GPS, then just follow the signs to the train station which is off from Maine Street and that's were you can find Bynres. 

The wife and I arrived at about 6:30 on a Monday night and there were only about 4 couples and some folks at the bar. This concerned me, usually at this time of night a place should be packed full and also being located 2 minutes from a local college I would expect it to be busier. However the place was very clean and we were waited on within a few minutes of seating ourselves. Bynres is decorated with an obvious Irish and local sports teams theme and its fun to sit back and take a look at the memorabilia on the walls while chugging your beer.

We started our meal with a creation called Cashelmole from the appetizer menu. Half Guacamole, Half Salsa and Laced with huge hunks of Cashel Bleu Cheese, this was served with perfectly crispy toasted Pita Bread wedges. The dip started with the flavor of a creamy cool avocado and cheese but finishes with a fiery hotness that hits you in the back of the throat. It is great, and we finished the entire bowl.  It is also offered on almost all the sandwiches for a small added charge.

As we finished our appetizer the meal arrived right on time. Simone had ordered the Americanized Shepherds Pie. I ordered a Karls Irish Pastrami Burger, one of the house specialties. The restaurant gives the option of also upgrading your sandwich with a pretzel bun so I went ahead and did that also.

My burger was excellent. Cooked perfectly medium well, it was juicy yet still dead.  The burger sat on top of a bed of cool Cole slaw and was topped with a generous portion of flavorful grilled pastrami and melted Swiss which was then drizzled with Thousand Island Dressing.  Half Reuben, half burger and completely good.

Simones Shepherds Pie was unfortunately a disappointment. The menu says ground beef and pork simmered in Guinness Onion Gravy which sounds excellent but we both found this to be very bland. The gravy tasted like water and the mashed potatoes that topped of the pie also tasted like they had been blended in the same water. After adding lots of salt and pepper the dish was a bit better but still sub par for an Irish Pub that should specialize in dishes such as this. So overall, regarding the food I will refer to the timeless recording artist Meatloaf (which is also one of my favorite foods), "Don't be sad cause two out of three ain't bad".  Two very good dishes, one below average equals out to 3.5 stars for me.  We will probably be back but not for the Shepard's Pie.