by Liz Miller
Though generally considered to be the premier British take-away meal, fish and chips is a popular dish in Ireland as well. At Molly Darcys Irish Pub at Seven Gables Inn (26 North Meramac Avenue, Clayton; 314-863-8400), the Guinness-battered fish and chips melds together two Emerald Isle favorites to deep-fried perfection. As intrigued as Gut Check was by Guinness-laced batter, we were more impressed by the fresh flavor and tender texture of the cod, despite its crispy casing, which enhanced but didn't overpower the entrée. We were similarly impressed with Molly Darcys' housemade chips -- we incorrectly assumed that "chips" referred to French fries, but we weren't disappointed. They're tangy and savory, and, though surprisingly light, pack a satisfying crunch.
Gut Check found the fish and chips to be the standout dish at Molly Darcys, but we couldn't bring ourselves to be as selective with the bar menu -- what can we say, we loved it all. The draft selection at Molly Darcys includes the Guinness trio of Magners Irish Cider, Harp Lager and the original Irish Champagne itself, as well as brews by Smithwick's, Boulevard Brewing Company, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Blue Moon Brewing Company and Charleville Vineyard Microbews.
In addition to the wide selection of ale, Molly Darcys also offers a lengthy whiskey list, including more than twenty Irish whiskeys, as well as a variety of single, double and blended Scotch whiskeys. Specialty cocktails include the "Lime Leprechaun," made with Absolut citron, Midori and a citrus blend, and "Big Ginger," a mixture of Jameson whiskey and ginger ale with lemon and lime wedges. Hot drinks are also a house specialty, with two varieties of Irish coffee and the "Tullamore Tea," made with housemade, spice-infused Irish whiskey and tea. During happy hour the bar serves $5 Irish car bombs, and if Guinness is your drink, you're in luck this month: Every Thursday in March the restaurant is hosting a Guinness heritage pint night, offering $5 pints during happy hour (regularly priced at $7), and refills for the souvenir pint glasses for $4 (regularly priced at $6). The special runs throughout the month of March and encourages guests to collect a new pint glass each week.