Improving on a classic's a task fraught with potential disaster, as Alien Ant Farm proved with both their flawed take on "Smooth Criminal", and their flawed take on the ant farm, and aliens. Changing only what needed to be changed, Molly Maguire's, opening Saturday
Replacing the dearly departed Tipperary Inn, Molly's is run by the duo originally behind Dolce and Glo Lounge, who aim to shore up the Tipp's weak spot (food) while maintaining the cozily upscale-Celtic interior: imported Irish booths & bar, plus a music stage, though now augmented by some flatscreens, a few video games, and even a patio putting green -- a fine alternative to conversation for Couples on a date. Designed in collaboration with the Dragonfly chef, the menu kicks off with Guinness-battered onion rings, "Emerald Isle Lollypops" (pan-roasted rack of lamb w/ stout beer mustard), and pulled-pork/Kobe/crab-cake sliders, plus a fat Reuben and corned beef barley soup, after which the wind that shakes the barley will be yours. Entrees range from near-traditional ("Riley's Shepherd's Pie", "Edgar Allan Poe" corned beef-and-cabbage, haddock "Whale and Chips") to not-really-Irish (a double-cut pork chop w/ bacon & apple whiskey sauce, the herb-buttered grilled-salmon/artichoke heart "Irish Fisherman"), with a suggested wine or beer pairing for each; there's also one "The Tipperary Inn" ode: a roasted half-chicken with sage gravy, Brussels sprouts, and potato cake, delicious, but a letdown to anyone hoping for Fudgie The Whale
International suds include 20 taps (Smithwicks, Kilkenny, Chimay White...) and 35 bottles (Moosehead, Labatt's, and Molson to Murphy's Red & Stout, Lindeman's, and Duvel), in addition to nearly 40 scotches and Irish whiskeys from Molly's own house well Feckin to Knappogue and Kilbeggin -- exactly what you'll be doing, next time you hear "Annie are you okay?" bellowed by Ants.