First up, Miss TI Morgan and I hit The Tilted Kilt for lunch on a Friday, after her amazing shoot with Watertown photographer April McClintock. Everybody likes some good pub grub after dieting all week for pictures, right? My first impression of The Kilt? It’s a Hooters that drank a Guinness. Of course, the waitresses here have gained quite a bit of notoriety in town already, due to their skimpy uniforms. They weren’t shocking to me, but I also felt like they weren’t super flattering to the girls. I kind of felt bad for them, more than anything. I know I’m lacking a Y chromosome and the healthy dose of testosterone needed to fully appreciate the get-up, but still. I wouldn’t want to haul around a heavy tray of hot food in a belly shirt and short skirt, so I feel for them. One cosmetic element I was disappointed in at The Kilt was the concrete flooring and industrial ceilings. I realize this establishment’s major calling in life is as a bar, but I think some carpeting and a plusher interior would go a long way to making this a spot worth repeats visits. As is, it was very loud and cold, despite the faux-wood paneling and American/Irish/Scottish mash-up décor.
But let’s get to the food! First off, my impression is that, for a restaurant that is Scottish-themed, there was nothing particularly Scottish or Irish or British on the menu. There is a shepard’s pie entrée, and literally, that’s it. They’ve named some things in a vaguely Celtic way, but set your expectations in the realm of Applebee’s and TGIFriday’s, not true pub gastronomy. I ordered the French connection burger, with melted Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and a side of au jus. I never understand why restaurants put Swiss cheese on French dips when there are so many worthy French cheeses out there, but whatever. This tasty creation came with a side of garlic fries, which had great flavor – just this side of too salty, which I am fine and dandy with every once in awhile. The burger was juicy and cooked just right, and while the mushrooms and onions weren’t anything special, the jus was sufficiently flavorful.
I’m not sure why I ordered something supposedly French in a place that’s supposedly Scottish
Morgan may be a beauty queen, but she’s also a girl after my own heart. She ordered the French, We Mean Irish Dip, which is a silly name for a pretty tasty sandwich. She also went for fries on the side, but regular, not garlic. They still came with a little fresh parsley garnish, which is nice, and while they weren’t served as hot as she would have liked, she was satisfied with them. The beef on her sandwich was tender, and she was able to get what she calls “the perfect bite,” which reminds me of a line in The Price of Tides, a movie she is too young to have seen. Basically, a thumbs up.
There is nothing Irish about this dip, except maybe the potatoes on the side
The service is very quick at Tilted Kilt, and the food is affordable. Obviously, Miss America would frown upon me drinking whilst chaperoning a contestant, so there were no alcoholic beverages consumed this visit, but I’m sure the establishment would fulfill any kind of tipple you have in mind. Overall, for a chain restaurant, we both thought the food was pretty good – six out of 10 – but the ambiance left a lot to be desired.
Not far from Arsenal St., off Coffeen St. and behind the Fairgrounds Inn, is the newly reopened, completely redecorated, Coleman’s Corner. Leo Coleman has spent a mint redecorating this place, and frankly, he’s done a fabulous job. It’s beautiful inside – everything I wanted Titled Kilt to be. There is dark wood paneling, lots of natural light complimented by soft interior lighting, gleaming marble tabletops and a beautiful cathedral ceiling. The Celtic touches are classic, not campy, and it’s really a pleasure to sit here for happy hour or a nice lunch.
My Mom and I stopped by for lunch on a Saturday a couple weeks ago, and brought along two other pageant friends, Abbegal and her mom, Jodi. I had the pub club sandwich, with flavorful turkey, ham and real Irish bacon, called rashers, plus lettuce and tomato. This bacon is the same thing you get in Canada when you order real Canadian bacon, and I’m mad for it. It’s like the leanest, porkiest bacon ever, and absolutely fantastic. It came with Coleman’s fries and a side of awesome gravy, which is a total slam dunk. God, that gravy was good.
A most satisfactory lunch
Abbegal and her mom both chose the Reuben sandwich, which I was thankful for, because I don’t groove on Russian dressing, and I was glad to have a different perspective. They were really pleased with this open-faced offering – and pronounced it very good. They agreed it could have had a little more dressing, but signaled happiness nonetheless.
Thousand Islands or Russian? I’m not sure.
My Mom loves the salads at Fairgrounds, and she stuck pretty close to home this lunch, with an order of sweet potato fries and a house salad with house dressing. The dressing is the same sweet creamy Italian that Fairgrounds offers, but here was served on a bed of mixed greens. The fries had good flavor and nice texture – not soggy or too browned, which are common pitfalls of sweet potato fries.
Mom wins for most colorful order
Everyone tried the Colemans fries with gravy, which received four thumbs up around the table. Overall, this was just a really enjoyable meal, shared with friends, in a pristine and warm setting. As a great place to gather, get some good eats and great conversation, the table rated it eight out of 10 on the BHS scale. Not fine dining, but delicious, homey and satisfying, and my Mom wanted me to to point out to you that our service was wonderful. I’m so glad the Coleman family has given us a new place in Watertown to congregate for substantial, well done, casual food.
So clearly, Big Hungry Shelby is awarding this face-off to Coleman’s Corner. While The Tilted Kilt will no doubt win admirers with its hearty portions, scantily-clad servers and festive atmosphere, I’m betting Coleman’s becomes the preferred spot for the after-work 30 and 40-something set and families. Have you eaten at either or both of these new restaurants? Weigh in in the comments section below with your pick for fav Celtic eatery, or slide on over to my Facebook group to decide this face-off. Let’s hear what you have to say, Big Hungries. My personality is big; my hunger is bigger!