McGarry's Irish Pub: Maple Plain
Awhile back I made my way to the rural area of Maple Plain with two other Juicy Lucy wannabees. Quickly running out of options on the West side of town to enjoy a Lucy, we began a 30 minute road trip with absolutely no idea where we were going. With the help of the iPhone we finally arrived in Maple Plain and found a very nice Irish Pub that I knew offered a truly unique Lucy that "sounded" delicious on paper. McGarry's Irish Pub, the local, family-owned pub just down MN12 in Maple Plain, bringing a bit of Ireland to the Western suburbs of Minneapolis.
We entered the small bar with extremely high ceilings and found our way over to a high-top table that appeared as it could have come over directly from Ireland. It featured a very nice Irish pub style bar and backdrop with tons of old looking wood and a very nice selection of Irish beer on tap. We selected to go with a nice pint of Boddingtons. Although not a true Irish beer, it is a very fine English bitter beer that was once brewed in the English city of Manchester. Looking at the menu online prior to our visit, one particular item stuck out as a must try. Crab & Jalapenos Bites - crab, chess and jalapenos breaded and deep fried, severed with ranch dressing. Sounds delicious right? Unfortunately these were just pre-frozen jalapeno poppers. Crab was almost not present and they just reminded me of something that Arby's would serve up as a side item.
Now onto the reason for our road trip all the way out in BFE, the McGarry's Juicy Lucy. As described: 8 oz fresh ground lamb burger stuffed with drunken goat cheese topped with red wine portabelle mushrooms. First of all, I love Lamb and drunken goat cheese. The combination sounds perfect and is a very popular pairing in many fine restaurants. The fact that McGarry's is offering this together in the form of a Juicy Lucy, pure genius (or so we thought). Two of us ordered the Lucy minus the mushroom and one with the works as the menu states. All three burgers arrived and we quickly dug in. The first bite was perfect, good quality burger, cooked perfect. The second bite wasn't as good and the third bite, finally! Drunken Goat Cheese. Again, the same with the cheese, the first bite was delicious and the second and thereafter just continued to become less and less enjoyable. We all agreed on the following comments and thoughts about what we just ate. The idea is great and has huge potential, but unfortunately not at McGarry's Irish Pub. Good quality lamb should be served medium rare even if it is in the ground version. The burger became dry and just not enjoyable after about 1/3 to 1/2 the way through it. The lamb burger was cooked to well done if not beyond. I particularly enjoyed the cheese in the middle, but the other two were either lacking cheese or it wasn't enjoyed and over powered the lamb burger. Goat cheese is very over powering to start with, but with the wine addition it quickly became bitter. The quality of the lamb used is very questionable as I do not think it was very fresh. The use of fresh ground lamb daily should be the start of re-inventing this item, but with a location of Maple Plain, the volume probably cannot justify this. I know that drunken-goat cheese looks good and sounds good, but I think the lamb with the combination of a fresher version cooked medium rare to medium with the combination of garlic and blue cheese or a nice quality feta could possibly be the winning ticket. But what do I know, I'll eat anything that says Juicy Lucy at least once.