Earlier this week, we had some people in town for work from the East Coast.  The first night, we had a big group dinner at the hotel everyone was staying at in Bothell.  It definitely wasn’t anything to write about.  So for the second night, the “locals” decided to change things up, and make sure that anyone that wanted to was able to get out.  Since we were in Bothell for the training, downtown Seattle was pretty much out of the question, so for me, the only acceptable solution was Kirkland.  After debating for a little bit, we decided on the Wilde Rover as a place with a good location, outdoor seating (we were hoping for sun), and a casual atmosphere.  We could move on for dinner, but we would at least start at the Rover.

For me, this was my first trip to the Wilde Rover.  I knew where it was, and had been by a couple times, but had never stopped in.  I really don’t go out that much on the Eastside; like a lot of people that live in the city.  But I was eager and excited to check out a new place.

The first thing that struck me when I walked in was how big it was there is a large bar in the center, with a dining room in the front and more of an open bar area in the back that leads out to a deck.  There are two pool tables, lots of open floor space for standing, and even a  separate room with a  stage for private functions.  We got a table in the back, big enough to easily seat 11 and started looking through the menus.  It was still happy hour time, but unfortunately there are no happy hour drink specials (a bit disappointing from an Irish pub).  But there were happy hour food specials, so I thought that I would partake. 

My first choice was the Guiness lamb stew which I thought would be a nice compliment to the black and tans I was drinking.  It didn’t take long for the stew to arrive, and it looked and smelled pretty good when it was placed in front of me.  I grabbed my spoon, took a bite, and was pleasantly surprised.  It was a nice, robust stew, perfect for the cloudy and dreary day it ended up being. It was full of carrots and potatoes and celery, all of that good stew filling.  It was a bit under seasoned; needing some salt and pepper, though those are things I can add (and seems to be pretty much par for the course with Irish pub food).  The lamb was good, though a little dry.  But, all in all, it was better then I had anticipated, and was good enough that I decided that I wanted to order at least one other item off the menu before Happy Hour had come to an end.  This time, I went for the Meatloaf Sliders.

I’m not entirely sure what it was about the Sliders that drew me in, as they aren’t a “traditional” Irish fare, at least as far as I know.  They are made with a blend of ground chuck and ground pork, and served with some slaw and a bit of bacon.  Nothing too fancy at all, but they were delicious.  The meat was incredibly tender and just kind of fell apart.  The bacon was in a sweet, barbecue sauce that worked really well with the meat.  And the slaw was very lightly dressed, which was actually perfect because a sweet slaw and sweet bacon would have been too much.  It offered a bit of a crunch which was a much needed textural balance.  It didn’t take me very long at all to make my way through them.
Wilde Rover on UrbanspoonWhen I walked into the Wilde Rover, my expectation was to have a couple of black and tans, maybe a small bite to eat, and then go somewhere else for real food.  When I left, I felt happy and content, and interested in trying a couple of other things on the menu like the Fish and Chips.  In fact, the only thing that I really found disappointing in the experience was that there was no drink specials as part of the happy hour, which will ultimately keep it from being an Eastside Happy Hour destination.  But if you are in downtown Kirkland, and are in the mood for some Irish food, you really can’t go wrong.
Final Verdict – 4 Stars
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