MacFarlane’s Celtic Pub

admin Thursday, August 24, 2023 Comments Off on MacFarlane’s Celtic Pub
MacFarlane’s Celtic Pub

I believe it’s safe to say we’ve all encountered moments when we just want to escape reality. Whether it’s work, weather or just life in general, a temporary departure from the everyday barrage offers an opportunity for mental reset. When a vacation to Scotland or a weekend getaway to an Irish Pub in Boston isn’t feasible, culture-based restaurants, such as MacFarlane’s Celtic Pub, may provide just what you need — a temporary transplant to another time and place. 

My first MacFarlane’s encounter came many years ago, when the venue was hosting its St. Patrick’s Day celebration. When I arrived, it looked as if everybody within a 100 mile radius had joined in the festivities. The crowds were entertained as the frenzied precision hip shake of the fire dancers dazzled and the sounds of bagpipes filled the air. Guinness Stout and green beer kept the thirst quenched. 

As the evening rolled on, hunger was inevitable, but obtaining a table for dining was likely out of the question. I placed my name on the list for our party just in case. It was an insanely busy night; any and all expectations were off. 

It wasn’t long before we were led to a table. The service was phenomenal. The food was remarkably presented. The Nasty Irishman Burger was a colossal display of everything a burger should be. From that night forward, MacFarlane’s was at the top of the list of my favorites and recommendations.

On a recent visit, after ascending the few steps to the covered porch of a  well-kept brick warehouse with a forgotten past, my wife and I were welcomed by the host, who asked if we preferred to be seated indoors or out.  Thunder echoing in the distance ended the short debate. We chose to wait for an open table in the fully occupied interior dining room. It was a busy night, and the entire staff hustled to tend to their guests. After a few moments, we were escorted to a table. 

Smoky reds, golden hardwoods and deep greens were prevalent in the décor. The ambience was festive; laughter-filled conversations blended with the chords and voice of local musician Ronnie Fruge, who strummed favorite singalong songs. Our server, Rikki, took our drink requests.

If you’ve followed my reviews, you may have noticed that my wife, Shyla, often prefers to stay away from the carbohydrates, starches and heavier choices in favor of the less weighty meals. This would not be the case tonight, as we had skipped meals earlier in the day. 

Shyla was laying it out, Rikki was taking note of the requests and I was silently awaiting my turn. Apparently, we were starting off with an order of Pub Fries, Crab and Avocado Au Gratin. Shyla added Chicken and Dumplings and the Jam Burger. I would have the Irish Braddan, please.  

Glancing across the room, I saw that guests were toe tapping and lip-synching to the live tunes as our order of appetizers began to arrive. A piping hot ramekin loaded with a heap of fries, corned beef, bubbling cheeses caramelized on the rim, and rich brown gravy was a meal in itself. Across the table, a dish of lump crab and cheese and fresh avocado was surrounded by warm pita for dipping.  

I believe this was the point when my wife realized her desire for all the food was far greater than the actual ability to finish the requested order. With the large bowl of chicken and dumplings making its way to the already full table, Rikki spotted the obvious need for a doggy bag. 

MacFarlane’s isn’t bashful when it comes to presentation and portions; their burgers are no exception. Every burger packs a blend of short rib, brisket and chuck. The Jam Burger was accompanied with Brie cheese,  crispy bacon and house-made pepper jelly; the bun was smoothed over with garlic shallot mayo. A generous portion of sidewinder fries came along for the ride. They were displayed on our table just long enough for me to snap a picture. Then they retired to a container to become the next day’s lunch option. 

Placed before me was the Irish Braddan — an impressive Irish-Cajun fusion from the kitchen. Boxty, or crisp potato pancakes, set the base for broiled wild-caught salmon and pan seared jumbo gulf shrimp, finished with a creamy Louisiana crawfish and Tasso sauce. The dish paired well with the Belhaven Scottish Ale. 

Just when I thought we couldn’t possibly eat anything more, somehow, my wife managed to sneak in a little of Mac’s Famous Bread Pudding for dessert. Just a few degrees above warm, the bread pudding was wading in a sweet buttery smooth Jamaican Irish Whiskey cream sauce. 

As my wife and I finished a fantastic evening, we walked away with enough food to enjoy MacFarlane’s Celtic Pub another day — minus the festive ambiance and décor. It was a true departure from the everyday norm.

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