Friday, August 17, 2012

Kip’s Authentic Irish Pub & Restaurant – St. Louis Park, MN

I met the librarians at Kip’s for happy hour. You laugh, but you have no idea how social librarians can be when you get them out of the work environment and pump them full of drinks. Don’t knock it! Librarians are the some of the best partiers I know. One of the girls had gotten engaged, so we thought we’d all meet up and drink to help her wedding planning. Drinking helps, right?

Kip’s is the hotel bar/restaurant of the Minneapolis Marriott West Hotel, so it isn’t difficult to find. It’s got a large patio you can see from the parking lot and surprisingly looks like what you’d expect from an Irish pub on the inside. Dark wood, dim lighting, nooks and crannies to sit/stand in, and some pretty awesome sounding things on the menu.

I couldn’t wait for everyone to get there before I ordered. I was starving and it was happy hour for another 30 minutes! I finally narrowed it down to a few things and, after ordering a Snakebite (beer & cider), decided on Irish Spring Rolls and also Chicken and Pepper Jack Boxty. Both sounded awesome and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to share with anyone. Sometimes this group gets a bunch of things and shares, other times the people order individual things. I wasn’t ready to wait to find out how tonight was going to go. I went for it.

Both plates came out at the same time and both looked awesome. The Irish Spring Rolls were odd, but surprisingly good. They were fried Asian egg roll wraps stuffed with corned beef, cabbage, and farmers cheese. They came with some sort of ranch/thousand island (almost a frisco sauce) dipping sauce. I was a fan. They were really crunchy without being greasy and the insides had plenty to fill me up. Really an interesting take on spring rolls.

The Chicken and Pepper Jack Boxty was like nothing I’d had before. It’s a pair of Irish potato pancakes filled with chicken, melted pepper jack, and roasted red pepper aioli. It had a sort of salsa-like or pico-like garnish on the top that added some more pop to the flavor, which was nice. The insides were a little bit bland – you could tell you were eating chicken and pepperjack, but the red peppers I wanted more of. If you got the sauce AND the pico AND the insides AND the pancake in a bite, it was mostly good. Not mind blowing, but good. I was glad I checked it out, frankly.

It’s actually a nice place to have a drink after work, despite it having an initial hotel experience walking in. The menu is really thorough and contains some traditional-ish Irish fare. Also, the happy hour is pretty darn good (only until 6pm though). The wait staff were super friendly and didn’t even bat an eye when we asked for a table for ten without advanced warning. They made sure we were all properly lubricated and made sure we liked our food – which everyone ordered to share, making me look like a jerk when I didn’t. hahahah. Oh well, these librarians are used to that by now.

Top 5 things about Kip’s
1. Irish Spring Rolls
2. Happy hour specials
3. Comprehensive menu
4. Super friendly servers
5. Really big patio
(6. You can get super loaded and sleep right upstairs if you want!)

Bottom 5 things
1. You still have to walk through part of the hotel to get there – still weird to me
2. I was stupid not to try the Bailey’s Crème Brulee…
3. Despite it being a librarian party, there were comments about the number of random books used for decoration – just odd
4. Interesting that they have a specific menu just for the patio (are the items less breakable or wind resistant?)
5. The Boxty could have had more flavor – it’s world famous, according to the website

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