Oof, that’s awful. But apt enough. The world’s lousy with lousy bar-&-grills, so the lovable few (e.g. Charlie Brown’s, Rodney’s, Billy’s Inn, Racine’s) get arguably inordinate props around here. Still, a little extra cred now & then, especially considering how many big red Ds I’ve been handing out lately, seems only fair. Fuzzy with sake (this rather lovely, honeydewy one from Oregon, of all places) after an exhibition opening (also rather lovely) at PlatteForum the other night, the Director & I were raring to pass McLoughlin’s with flying colors, whatever those are. Let’s say chartreuse & puce.
Snug yet high-ceilinged, the place does cast a burnished glow around that odd, metallic little commercial park at the end of the Platte River Pedestrian Bridge, 1 that clearly lures the neighborhood’s natty swarm of condo gnats. When we were there, a dozen-plus shrieky young things were toasting some birthday boy with tequila shots & flying a toy helicopter by remote control around the room, spreading some real cheer in the process. Which is more than I can say for the kitchen.
Though everything we tried had its saving graces, nothing had its general act together.
Remember Funny/Not Funny, that recurring segment on the subversive if short-lived genius that was Wonder Showzen (which you can sample for yourself here) wherein a voiceover chorus of kiddies shouted “Funny!” & “Not funny!” alternatively throughout an eye-melting slideshow of mayhem & gore? Came to mind with the arrival of our hummus–not hummus.
Much as I appreciated the companion mounds of decent feta cubes & marinated olives, the centerpiece was nothing but chickpea puree, or my name’s not Denveater. Granted, my name’s not Denveater—that would be a funny coincidence though, what with me writing this blog & all, eh?—but the point is I’ll be damned if there was a drop of tahini or lemon juice in there or even a shred of garlic. Room-temperature pita was a bummer too.
The Director’s shepherd’s pie (or “shepard’s,” IIRC, although the spelling’s correct online) was quite the looker,
with its unusually thin mashed-potato crust—practically a spud cracker, really. But with tough beef & crunchy carrot chunks, it wasn’t quite the taster; he touted the gravy, but my spoonful was neither here nor there.
Neither/nor was my sloppy buffalo chicken salad—an abomination in the first place, admittedly, but abominations kinda constitute my favorite food group (although even I draw the line here).
The buffalo sauce was the best part, which means the best part surely came out of a jar; McLoughlin’s doesn’t offer wings, & since the ranch dressing, cheapo blue cheese crumbles & limp, pale fries I swiped off a pal’s plate were also obviously straight from the distributor’s warehouse, I wouldn’t put a penny on the off-chance that they’re back there whipping up batches of the stuff for a measly couple of salads a day.
I would be willing to bet a whole penny on McLoughlin’s happy hour—which is on my kind of clock, from 2 to 6 pm & 11 pm to 2 am Monday through Saturday as well as all day Sunday—if only that, since the discount’s just a buck a drink. Otherwise, I’d just as soon save that red cent for something more special, like 1/5 of a gumball.