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"Baby on Board" Restaurant Review: Mrs. Murphy's Irish Bistro

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 7, 2007 7:00PM

When you have a six-month-old, your restaurant expectations change dramatically. You’d give a place four stars if it has clean high chairs, a place to stow your car seat, attentive service, and food good enough to spend the 30 minutes it takes to get your kid ready and load him into the car. Mrs. Murphy and Son’s Irish Bistro on Lincoln just about fits the bill. The first thing we noticed as our eyes adjusted to the dim light was the sight of an actual, log-burning fireplace. As our eyes continued to focus, settling on the massive, beautiful teak bar, we revised that thought to include a nice stout.

We settled at a table by the fireplace. The car seat rested easily on the bench-type seating that flanks half of the table. Right away, our child, a budding pyromaniac, was mesmerized by the crackling fire. The beer list is extensive, focusing mainly on brews from Ireland and the UK. It also lists each drink’s alcohol content; a plus for new mothers whose tolerance may have dropped during their long sober months and perhaps would rather drink the Guinness (4%) instead of Delirium Tremens (9%). Our waitress was fantastic: attentive without hovering, and kind to our child, without being his new BFF. Our food came quickly, a plus when the baby’s shelf life being held at a table is usually under an hour.

2007_03_Murphy_soup.jpgEven though we planned to order breakfast, we also ordered the Guinness and Onion Soup ($5). It came crocked and amazing, a savory crème brulee of soup with a perfectly crisped cheese topping, warmed around a thick slice of Irish bread and saturated with a dark and salty broth. It is the kind of dish that makes you moan, and like most things that do, it is over too soon. Anticlimactically, we were a little disappointed with our main dish, their Irish version of French toast ($8.50). Sadly, our one-and-a-half pieces of toast were lukewarm and a little bland, even with an orange-marmalade-and-butter side. It purported to be “soaked in rich Irish cream-spiked custard,” but we are certain we can recreate the effect in the kitchen with what’s in the fridge.

The true test of kid-friendliness in any restaurant is the bathroom. The bistro’s privies are immaculate, boasting cloth napkins but lacking a traditional changing table. They do have a portion of countertop that can make do, if you keep a grip on your kid. Ours, shamelessly narcissistic, appreciates the adjoining mirror, which keeps him occupied. His parents are content enough with a fire, a stout, a damn good soup, and a restaurant that’s pretty much worth the hassle.

Thanks, Elizabeth!