With the approach of St. Patrick’s Day, for this week’s restaurant review I thought I’d scout out local Irish dining options. The only problem with this plan turned out to be that the Edmonds community is sorely lacking restaurants featuring fare from the Emerald Isle.
After exhausting my search options, I settled on the closest thing I could find to an Irish joint — on Highway 99. To be clear, the pub doesn’t bill itself as an Irish place, but a chap named Finster has got to have a little bit o’ emerald blood running through his veins, right?
Yeah, not so much. Nary a boxty was to be found on Mick Finster’s menu. Whereas a few shamrock decorations hung in the bar studded with large screen TVs, and one back room wall boasted an Irish flag, it turned out that Mick has pretty much abandoned his Irish roots in favor of good ol’ American bar food and plenty of Yankee sports. Which is fine, but just don’t go looking for any colcannon.
Mick Finster’s is a sensory carnival, with so much going on it’s almost hard to know where to begin the description. The ceiling and upper walls are chock-full of an impressive collection of unique sports memorabilia, including antique wooden cross-country skis and a suit of armor from Ultimate Jousting Championship XXIV. There were even life-size cut-outs dressed in real cheerleader sweater uniforms. One was Marilyn Monroe and I think the other may have been Kathy Ireland but I confess to not being especially well-versed in 1980s Sports Illustrated models.
But I’m not done yet. Mick Finster’s also boasts a Big Buck Hunter arcade game, pinball, pool tables, and on this occasion, an open mic night. I can’t be sure, but this may be the first time I’ve dined to a ragged acoustic serenade of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”.
If all that weren’t enough, I have just one more hyphenated word for you: pull-tabs.
Half my readers are nodding, “Oh yeah” right now. The other half are puzzling over the Wikipedia entry. I completely empathize with both parties.
The lengthy lineup of bites at Mick’s includes a standard roster of bar appetizers, burgers and sandwiches, with the addition of several salad options, steak dinners, pizza and fried seafood plates. In case the gargantuan main menu isn’t enough, there is also a happy hour list plus an odd plastic paddle bearing two sides of specials under the heading “September.” In my experience, they were also available in March.
We chose to kick things off with the appetizer sampler platter ($8.95) and nuclear wings ($7.75), but as it turned out, the side salad for my dinner was the first thing to arrive at the table. As generic side salads go, it was really quite enjoyable with plenty of mixed greens, diced tomatoes, green onions, grated cheese, salty tortilla chip strips and just the right amount of coverage from my choice of blue cheese dressing.
The appetizer sampler platter was billed on the menu as a medley of potato skins, onion rings, Buffalo chicken nuggets, jalapeno poppers and mini corn dogs, but our plate came minus the jalapenos. The spuds were fully-loaded potato pizzas lush with cheese and traditional toppings. I found the buffalo chicken nuggets to be too heavily breaded for my preference but was pleased that the thick-cut onion rings had a light batter coating. These rings aren’t going to top , but they held their own. Whereas I’m pretty sure that the mini corn dogs were of the Foster Farms variety. Foster Farms does know how to put tasty honey-kissed batter on a miniature frankfurter.
Although the appetizer sampler was mostly hits, the nuclear wings were a miss due to the fact that their hot exteriors inexplicably yielded to barely lukewarm meat inside. Though the wing sauce was reasonably hot, it wasn’t as though they blew up the Geiger counter.
My dining companion ordered the fish and chips ($8.45), with the pieces proving to have a great batter/protein balance. With fresh flavor and nice, flaky white fish dabbed in tangy tartar sauce, I couldn’t ask for much more. The fries, however, were a letdown on both the fish and chips plate and on my own dinner plate, as they arrived entirely cool. Don’t get me wrong, those French fries looked gorgeous. The temperature just wasn’t there.
I’m pretty pleased when I can get a decent steak dinner for less than $12, and Mick Finster’s Steak Special ($11.25) was not a disappointment. Though I would have preferred the option of a baked potato over cold French fries, the dinner coming with the early-arriving side salad was a plus. I recommend overlooking the sad medley of reheated frozen vegetables altogether. It’s about the steak, after all. In this case, I relished a 6-ounce sirloin cooked to a perfect medium with a nice peppery char. For a few more dollars, Mick’s serves up a 12-ounce New York steak for folks needing an extra dose of beef.
All things considered, Mick Finster’s was a good time. Not Irish but not fussy, and not too shabby with its appetizers and main courses. I imagine even St. Patrick would enjoy kicking back at Mick’s with a cold one and a nice steak, taking in the eclectic scene.
They’ve gotta get those fries worked out, though.