Desserts at most chain restaurants of the Irish sort tend toward bread puddings in whiskey sauces or generic chocolate baked goods combined with Bailey's Irish Cream. Heck, even non-chain Irish restaurants (ahem, McGurk's) load their dessert menu with the obvious.
The Brown Bread Ice Cream at Tigin Irish Pub (333 Washington Avenue; 314-241-8666) isn't the obvious choice, because bread and ice cream frankly sounds disgusting at first thought. But really, isn't that the basis for an ice-cream sandwich or any baked good ala mode?
Although Tigin is a small chain with three other locations nationwide, they make the confection in-house by whirring together chunks of brown bread with softened vanilla ice cream, then refreezing. On one occasion, the bread was a bit chunky, but every other time the crumbs have been evenly pureed through the scoops. The substantive nature of Irish brown bread stands up well amid the creamy vanilla, the malted taste of the grain and the dark flavor of molasses balancing the ice cream. Even in texture, the occasional whole grain offers a pop and substance in contrast to the smooth ice cream.
For $5.95, diners get three large scoops of ice cream topped with caramel sauce, mandarin oranges, and a bit of whipped cream, the perfect size for sharing. Although the sauce would benefit from an upgrade to a more caramelized, dark flavor, we're infatuated with this dish. Tigin's dessert menu probably does contain some generic desserts, but Gut Check got so distracted by the idea of bread and ice cream that we didn't notice.