Saints Irish Pub – The Little Pub That Wasn’t
This place reminds me of a story from my life. A friend of mine once made a pot of “chili” for a cookoff. It had beef and corn and green beans, etc in it, almost no cumin, and was kindof thin. I tasted it and really liked it. It was a really good stew, but it was a stew, not chili.
Saints is kindof the same story. It’s a pretty good bar. I like it. It’s just that it’s a bar, not a pub. No matter how big you put the word “pub” on the side of the building, it’s still not a pub.
A pub is kindof cramped, but in a cozy, homey way. Saints is wide open spaces.
At a pub, when you order fish and chips they bring you fish and chips. At Saints, when you order fish and chips they bring you a bought-in breaded fish patty that they then bake and serve with a couple potato wedges, er, I’m sorry, fingerling potatoes.
A pub (for the most part) has friendly barkeepers who at least seem happy to see you and to serve you. Saints has some barkeepers and wait staff that tend to ignore and/or forget you while you’re sitting at the bar and sometimes seem a little bothered that you actually want something from them. During my last visit, while sitting at the bar, after reminding the bartender a second time about my drink order I was told by one of the waitresses to leave the bartender alone because they were “busy girls.” The place was barely at 1/4 capacity, if that.
During this visit I sat at the bar and had a couple wonderful ales then ordered an Old Fashioned (a bourbon drink with muddled orange and bitters) and a Mustard Baked Chicken Sandwich. About 10 minutes later I reminded the bartender that I did indeed want the Old Fashioned. At this point I was asked if I wanted them to use the Bulleit Rye whiskey in it. (In an Old Fashioned?? What were they thinking?) I said “sure.” (What was *I* thinking?) Needless to say the Old Fashioned was a great disappointment. This was as much my fault though for allowing the rye instead of the bourbon as it was theirs for even suggesting the substitution.
When my sandwich came out (and after the bartender turned around in circles a few times in front of me trying to remember who ordered it) it wasn’t half bad. The chicken was a little dry which seemed even more odd considering it had a slice of irish bacon on top of it which, had they been cooked together, would have kept the chicken moist. The batard slices it was served on were very nice in texture and thickness. All in all a good sandwich except for the dry chicken. It was served with fingerling potatoes (potato wedges) and mixed greens.
Overall Saints is a good bar with a great little selection of liquors, ales, ciders, beers, etc. The only issue being that if the owner doesn’t like it, he doesn’t stock it. Customer wishes be damned. As a restaurant the food is pretty good but ranges from a bit pricey to outrageously overpriced for the portion.
The main issue at Saints seems to not be a problem of substance, but one of attitude. They need to remember from wence their money comes. Regardless of what it says on your menu of dishes being served pub style (read “you get it when I’m good and ready to give it to you”), if the majority of your reviewers complain about food not coming out together at a table (some even 30-60 mintues apart), then this might be something to think about changing. If you’re hanging on to it simply because you’re trying to keep true to your pub attitude, give up the ghost. Saints is a nice little bar, but it’s a bar, not a pub.