The Irish Table is the restaurant that the Sleepy Monk coffeehouse becomes after the coffee crew goes home at 4pm. Or is it the other way around? And on a Monday night, is one of the few restaurants open in Cannon Beach. They don't take reservations, but we called ahead and were told that a table would likely be open at 7:30. It seemed to be an early crowd; the place was rocking when we arrived, but was all done by about 8:30, still, not a bad crowd for a Monday night.
I like the place; I liked it in the morning as a coffee house and I liked it in the evening as a restaurant. What I most liked about it aside from the rustic décor that I have already described in the Sleepy Monk post are the people. Crystal and Sean Corbin and Sean's brothers run the place and they are extremely warm and friendly people. Crystal is the chef and everyone else pitches in. And they seem to be having fun, which is something that you have to do to make a long run in this crazy business.
|We Started with Delicious Soda Bread and Butter|
|Domain Serene: Overpriced|
We started with Curried Mussels, which proved to be big plump Penn Cove mussels in a very tasty broth with shallots and cream. Crystal used a deft hand with the curry that other chefs have used to destroy dishes. Alas, the mussels were just slightly undercooked (another 60 seconds on the heat and they would have been perfect) and the tasty broth was too acidic for even a huge acid fiend like me. It was too dark inside the candlelit restaurant for the photo of the mussels to work.
We also had the roasted beet salad with greens, pickled onions, Cashel blue cheese, toasted hazelnuts, and a citrus vinaigrette on the sweet side with honey. The presentation surprised me: each of the ingredients was composed on top of the greens; I was expecting it all to be tossed together. Funny how we start to picture a dish before it is served! I loved this salad except for the beets. They were a bit woody and undercooked.
|Beet Salad: Nice Presentation, Vast Quantity|
|Ling Cod on Potatoes|
For one entrée, we ordered roasted ling cod with roasted fingerlings, grape tomatoes, some kind of shredded green (I couldn't see in the dark), and a very light creamy lemon sauce that Luke referred to as an aïoli. The ling cod was beautifully cooked, but wasn't seasoned, enough or at all it would seem. Moreover, I really didn't get the whole presentation of fish atop a pile of roasted potatoes with some grape tomatoes strewn about. Roasted potatoes and mild white fish just don't work in my culinary lexicon.
When I see roasted fingerlings on a menu like this, I think cop out. It seems the kind of dish you would throw on as a special at the last second because you need something to fill out the menu and that is all you have left in the cooler. It seems just the idea that I would have rejected out of hand in a menu meeting if one of the line cooks had brought it up. Now maybe take that lemon idea and do a lemon thyme-infused potato tart topped with greens and fish, maybe, maybe that's something to work with.
|Irish Stew on Colcannon|
After dinner, we spent a good while chatting with Crystal (and Sean) and swapping war stories and then took our leave into the chilly darkness to go back to the motel. All in all, we had a good meal despite the technical issues. We would go back, but more for the people than the food.