Boston Restaurant Blog -- March, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Every year around this time (with St. Patrick's Day coming up), I tend to check out Irish pubs around the Boston area, including those in the suburbs. This year is no different, as we recently went to a cozy, comfortable spot in Wakefield called Harrington's, and while the experience we had there wasn't completely memorable, there were indeed some high points, including one of the best dishes I've had so far in 2011.
Harrington's, which is located toward the southern edge of Wakefield Center (and just off the main drag on Route 129 east) is a handsome-looking spot both inside and out; the dark woods and attractive sign on the outside make it look like a classic pub in Dublin, Galway, or Cork, while the dimly lit dining area and bar inside--which are separated by a windowed partition--creates a slightly moody feel that makes the place perfect for a rainy afternoon. A couple of booths are built into the partition, and a small area that is somewhat separate from the rest of the dining area can be found in the front by the windows. Upstairs is a function room where private parties can be held, along with Irish set dancing. Entertainment at Harrington's includes traditional Irish sessions on Wednesday nights, and live bands on the weekends.
We arrived at Harrington's early in the evening, with it being about half-full (it would get a little busier--and louder with the set dancers upstairs--later on in the evening). The first order of business was a round of pints, including a Guinness that was poured too quickly, as well as an appetizer of zucchini chips. The chips were initially watery, but they quickly firmed up as they cooled off and were quite good once we let them sit for a short time. Our meals included an absolutely tremendous Guinness beef stew, which included some of the richest, most flavorful, and most tender braised beef I've had in this type of dish. The carrots, onions, and mushrooms were perfectly cooked, and the broth was wonderful. The "Pork O'Reilly" was very good (though not quite at the level of the beef stew), with a nicely seasoned sauteed pork tenderloin that was topped with a hearty pork mushroom gravy. The mashed potatoes that came with this dish were a bit dry and didn't have much in the way of taste, unfortunately. After finishing up with our meals, we ended the evening with a chocolate cake that was moist and tasty. Service was good enough, though our server rarely smiled and wasn't all that talkative, and the prices were right about where they should be, with the meals being in the low-to-mid teens.
I would return to Harrington's for the Guinness stew alone, though there are other reasons to go back, including checking out the Wednesday night Irish sessions at some point. It is probably not a destination spot like some Irish pubs in the Boston area are (The Burren in Somerville and The Druid in Cambridge come to mind), but Harrington's seems to be a good option for those who either live or work in the northern suburbs of Boston.
If you want the address for Harrington's, here it is: Harrington's, 17 Water Street, Wakefield, MA, 01880. Phone: (781) 245-1525
Note: Comments have now been closed for this blog entry.