IBJNews

DINING: More than Irish luck needed for newcomer to troubled spot

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Dining - A&E

Good things come to those who wait. Or so it is said.

So rather than rush across the street from IBJ’s office to 36 East Irish Pub and Grill (36 E. Washington St., 437-3578) as soon as it opened—as other food writers in town seemed to do—I waited patiently, hoping that what others were jumping the gun to report were merely startup kinks that would be worked out in short order.

ae-dining-apb-36east02-15col.jpg There’s little bang in the Bangers and Mash at 36 East Irish Pub. (IBJ photo/Aaron P. Bernstein)

After waiting and then going twice for lunch, I wish I had better news to report.

On the first visit, it was difficult to find any positive physical changes to the space that had become a restaurant black hole with a trilogy of eateries failing to find a niche here. The long bar is still in place. A few tables line the opposite wall and fill the back. But this alleged Irish grill showed no signs of Emerald Isle-izing.

Those looking for St. Patty’s atmosphere throughout the year would best head around the corner to O’Reilly’s or a few blocks away to Claddagh. The only O’- music I found on the jukebox was a song by the O’Jays. The most conversation-worthy piece of the environment? A well-camouflaged stairway just a few feet from the bar.

None of which would matter much if the food took the high road instead of the low road. (Yes, I know that’s Scotland, but here geography doesn’t seem to matter much). If the food excelled, I could even ignore the vacuum cleaner left out or the overall sense that we were in a place that had already given up.

Alas, the fish in the Fish and Chips (usually $9.25 but on a lunch special) seemed to have been cross-bred with sea sponges, while the “chips” consisted of a curious mixture of a few generic fries with some potato chips added as if to say, “Sorry we ran out—here’s something sorta like it.” When the best part of Fish and Chips is the tartar sauce, there’s a problem.

Bangers and Mash ($6.25) featured a pair of salty, uninspiring sausages on two scoops of thick mashed potatoes. Slightly more interesting were Onion Petals ($6.99), breaded and fried sweet Indiana onions served with a remoulade sauce.

Dessert? There was nothing on the menu and our waitress had long since given us our check.

A return visit didn’t improve matters. With country music playing on the jukebox (sure, why not?), I picked through Steakhouse Shepherd’s Pie ($8.95) that didn’t bother with the traditional ground beef (OK, the name tipped me off to that) or peas. Instead, the kitchen layered in steak chunks and, wait, was that really corned beef? I’m all for fusion cuisine. I just was stymied as to what was being fused with what. 

My companion’s Bison Burger ($10.99) was standard fare served with an actual full portion of the “chips” we had been shorted on during our earlier visit. “Chips” translating as dull fries.

36 East needs more than the luck of the Irish. It needs a careful look at how to please customers in a downtown that offers plenty of other options. 

Note: If what I’ve written causes concern, just recall the words of Irish wit Brendan Behan: “There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” Here’s hoping management figures out how to make 36 East work before it joins the parade of other obits at this address.•

__________

Second in a month-long series of reviews of restaurants in recently rehabbed spaces.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Why won't Darryl Lloyd pay us!
    If he had pay the hard working people he had in place, This article would read much different! he is just ripping off people! https://www.facebook.com/groups/576699072397768/
  • Tell It Like It Is
    Another example of why I continue telling people IBJ is our real newspaper and not the Star!
  • Ditto
    This place is not long for the world. Sadly, this establishment is about the furthest thing from an "Irish" bar as I've ever encountered. It's so weird that right next door is a very successful venture while nothing can make it work in this space.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

ADVERTISEMENT