Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cheap OK eats at Doolin's

Doolin's Irish Pub on Urbanspoon
I really don't blame Doolin's for being more than just an Irish pub specializing in only Irish food as that probably isn't going to cut it in fussy Vancouver. For your classic pub stuff, there is a "Pub Favourites" section of the menu. The rest is... the rest. Call it what you want, but it's basically a mishmash of everything comfortably familiar and safe to order.

Duck Bites ($8) Chipotle and ginger marinated duck bites topped with spicy pickled jalapenos, wrapped in bacon and topped with a sweet sesame soy glaze

  • You get about six of these, which are really bite-sized. The rest of your plate is salad.
  • There's spicy heat here, so if you're not used to spicy, watch out.
  • Whatever taste the duck had was covered up by the stronger flavour of bacon.

Short Rib Flatbread ($10) Red wine braised beef short rib with caramelized onions, dry roasted cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and tomato sauce, topped with a house-made blue cheese aioli

  • The rectangular portion you get is about half the size of a medium pizza.
  • Any flavour the beef had was hidden under the sharp-sour flavour of the sauce.

The two particular items I had weren't that great, but price for portion was okay, and with most menu items hovering around $10 or less, it's a cheap place to snack while hanging out with friends.

Service was okay, all things considered.
We were in the rear section that is quite private from the rest of the pub. Headcount was about 30-ish, maybe. Apparently the service is divided into sections and waitresses are assigned to sections. We couldn't get more tables or chairs to extend the long table for our party, so we ended up being split up into some of the side bar seating. Which was okay, since we didn't give them an accurate headcount -- in turn because we under-booked due to the inevitable no-shows in any large booking.
With that many persons and seemingly just the one server running around, drink orders were bound to be slow. But things would get worse because we decided to order food more or less at the same time. Not sure how that came about, but I suspect it was the organizer announcing it was time to do that, just to get things moving along. With many people seated at the same table, there's often the issue of someone ordering too early or too late, and then you have people eating and others waiting.
Anyway, with just one server (but a few bussers), taking orders and delivering orders from the kitchen took quite a while. It was actually hard to catch anyone just to get cutlery and I ended up getting it myself for my second order.
And when it came time to leave, all our bills were processed all at once, which obviously took a long time not just printing it out but figuring out who had what, collecting cards for payment, and then giving out the processed bills for signing.

I don't want to blame the establishment for the slow service since we were also at fault, ordering all at the same time and getting our bills at the same time. I just wanted to mention it because some coordination or at least some understanding is required on the part of patrons as to why things turn out the way they do.
Also, it was awfully nice of Doolin's not to force a limited menu on us, which some restaurants do nowadays, to keep things streamlined in the kitchen and process larger orders quickly.

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