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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Not So Lucky

Thursday, August 12, 2010 @ 12:08 PM

horseshoeYes friends, that is a horseshoe to your left; and you may be wondering what in the heck does that have to do with food?  We will get to that…but as you know by now, we moved back up to Indiana in June, and along the way we (of course) did some “research.”  I mean…come on…it wouldn’t be a cross country driving trip with Adam and Katie if we didn’t plan at least one stop at somewhere “blog” related.  However, we didn’t exactly know where we were going to land on our first night, so it was kinda difficult to plan a meal anywhere particular.  It’s at this point that we need to give our good friend Jay Aquila a shout-out for doing some quality research for us and then texting Adam the possible choices once we had made our final landing point decision, which happened to be Springfield, IL; and I know what you’re thinking already… Springfield…really? What great culinary spots would there even be worth stopping at in the middle of Illinois?  Well, we slightly remembered that Adam Richman from Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food” had visited there, but we couldn’t remember if it had been Springfield, Illinois or Missouri or any of the spots. Sure enough, he stopped in the “Land of Lincoln” and what seemed like 3 great places.  Our first choice was home to the first corndog (Cozy Dog Drive-In), but sadly for Adam, it was closed by the time we got into town (late). Still, because Jay had come through with all the address of the places, we went looking for something called a ‘horseshoe’ at D’Arcy’s Pint.

After getting a little turned around with our GPS, we somehow managed to stumble across this joint late at night.  Opened in 1998 and moving to a bigger location in 2005, D’Arcy’s Pint serves up lots of food and fun to Springfield residents and the local college kids looking for a hearty meal.  Although it looks like most chain restaurants, the decor inside is filled with Irish influence and historical Springfield items alike.  I will admit now that at that point in time I was not overly thrilled about our choice.  We had been eating heavily the weeks leading up to our move, anticipating not having certain foods for awhile, as well as I had just driven 16+ hours with two cats crawling about. So let’s just say that I was not in the best mood and heavy-hearty food was not on my mind’s menu.  However, Adam was really excited to try Springfield’s signature dish, which D’Arcy’s is supposed to be the best at…THE HORSESHOE!  Yes, I said it…a horseshoe, which evidently are a Springfield original; and from what we seemed to see and hear upon entering the “pint” is that this was the place to order one.

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What is a horseshoe you ask?  According to D’Arcy’s Pint’s website… “A horseshoe, if you’re not from Springfield, includes your choice of meat, served over Texas toast, piled high with fries and topped with homemade cheese sauce.”  Sounds ridiculous…right? (and a lot like something we featured a few months back for the Recipe of the Month…see “Worthy of Roses”).  Well, knowing I wanted nothing super heavy, I let Adam check it out, and I attempted to relieve 16 hours in a car with a nice glass of wine! 🙂

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Because I was not all that hungry and I had sort of reached the “I’m so tired, can’t make a decision, this glass of wine is good, but I know I “need something” zone.  The only thing that seemed simple enough and that jumped off the menu was the “Bookmaker Sandwich”, which was very similar to a French Dip but with some added extras, most importantly Portobello mushrooms (my fave!).  Although Adam knew he wanted a horseshoe, it took him a few minutes to decide what exactly he wanted on it.  Along with the typical base of Texas toast and fries, he finally ended up ordering his topped with corned beef, fried egg, ground beef (the traditional meat) all smothered in the traditional cheese sauce. All in all, quite a plateful!  And that’s what it looked like when it came out too! 🙂  Crazy or not, we were ready for food and the look on our faces says it all.

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048 049Overall, I was not overly impressed by the food and found it to be a tad salty and boring.  But looking back, I was also exhausted, having a hard time making a decision, and really not interested in that type of food.  I think if we were to ever visit again I may have enjoyed it a bit better. All that being said, Adam does swear by the cheese sauce, which by itself was pretty yummy.

SIGNATURE DISH: Seeing as though this was the dish featured on “Man vs. Food” and every patron around us seemed to be ordering them, I think that would seem it is their signature.  Although found at restaurants all over Springfield, D’Arcy’s Pint seems to be doing them the biggest and the baddest.

TASTE: As I said above, I was not overly impressed by either of the dishes we ordered.  My sandwich was entirely too salty and lacking in the mushroom department.  The roast beef tasted bland and the white bread bun tasted stale with no real flavor to add.  Adam seemed to enjoy his horseshoe, but felt it was just a bit much and the flavors did not mold together.  He felt like it was ordering cheese fries with only a bit of meat; and although he really liked the cheese sauce, the whole dish didn’t seem to come together well with it.  With the bites I took, it was not my favorite; and although I typically don’t like “cheese” sauces, this one in particular was too salty and not worth it in my opinion.  Given another chance and ordering something different, I might have a different opinion, but in this case…I was not blown away and could get something similar at chain restaurants around here.

AMBIANCE: Although it was very cutely decorated, it was almost too cute.  I am all for having a theme, but as an “Irish pub” they were a bit over the top on decor.  I appreciated the touches of historical Springfield elements, but those seemed to be only in entrance way. Also, the huge back dining room we were in felt like an after-thought and had almost no decoration.  It just felt like a big chain and not in a good way.

PRICE: Now this was an area we agreed was fairly reasonable.  My glasses of wine were less than $5, which after moving from Dallas was definitely a steal!  The food we ordered was also around $7.50 a piece, not too shabby for a meal.

SERVICE: Another area where we were not overly impressed with.  Our waitress, although nice, was a bit impatient, especially when Adam had questions about the horseshoe and how he should go about making his ordering decision. Then, after she recommended the ground beef (one of the more signature items on the dish) she forgot it.  Finally, he had to wait around a long time for re-fills on his drink, which if you had tasted how salty this food was, you would have wanted one quick too!

So although we had very high hopes about D’Arcy’s Pint, I am sorry to say that I only give them 2 1/2 ‘Little Piggies’…and that might be a stretch. 🙁

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