Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fionn McCool's: Phookin' McNasty

"Fionn McCools" is a chain of  pseudo-Irish pub 'experiences' spread across North America. I'd never been in one until last weekend. If they're all like that, I'll never be in one again.

OK, I know it was a busy weekend competing for the FIFA traffic with Spain vs Italy and a Blue Jay's game just down the street, but I'd imagine the location was a large consideration in the decision to put that 'pub' there for game patrons to interrupt their peregrenation to Union Station. That being said, one would think that extra staff would have been hired to keep up appearances, as well as prepare and serve 'fud' (mit umlaut)  and bevvies. That wasn't happening.

The front door looked like Oliver Twist and company had been on hand to stare in at the revellers. There was probably snot somewhere on that door, but I didn't check. The opacity probably explains why some bozo trying to get in, didn't see the people, inside, waiting at the greeter's kiosk and bashed somebody with that heavy glass door. But there wasn't much room allowed for a foyer-full of 'waiters'.

Speaking of waiters, the wait staff seemed to be predominantly young women of high school age, clad in some Manga wet dream outfits, or a travesty of the Catholic school girl's kilt. When we were seated, we received the ministrations of one of the few male staff evident. He was an affable sort, ("Great Choice!"), but he looked like he'd been wearing his 'outfit' for some time. At least it wasn't one of those kilts.

The service was OK.

In the classic Irish pub tradition - the live music night - the sound system was cranked to shouting range and blasted out a stream of Irish ditties that made the 'good craic' potential of the pub a tonsil-toning exercise. With everybody trying to talk over 'Brennan on the Moor',  it sounded like a bazaar in Kabool, rather than a pub in Ireland, or most anywhere else. Most Irish pubs tend to be quiet - even during the singing when the respectable 'craic' stops. Fionn McCool's wasn't.

The food was, as in many pubs, indifferent. When I got my fish and chips they'd already been cooling for some time as being too hot was no issue. In fact I had to send mine back as the crispy battered coating was underlain by what appeared to be a layer of semi-cooked wallpaper paste. So much for 'lightly battered', it doesn't get much thicker than pancake density. The returning piece of fish - 1.5 miracled into only 1 - was better-cooked but, again,  indifferent.

Somebody's creative notion  of a 'garden slaw' was interesting. The dish of julienned veggies in mayo which included, from what I could detect,  eggplant and zucchini was different. But it was no pleasant change from a standard cole slaw, or even the pub standard squshy peas. It's nice to be creative, even in a darkened eating emporium.

 Why is it those places are dark? OK there is area lighting at the table so you can see what you're putting in your mouth. But the inner darkness is used, as it seemed to be here, to hide a multitude of sins. At least I didn't skid on anything, but there was lots on the floor. Including, later it turned out, my wife's collectible ball cap, which she apparently missed after dropping on the floor. Obviously the bus staff missed it too, for it must have walked away with another more apperceptive diner.

The 'highlight' of the experince was the 'loo'. I've been in the best and worst pubs loo-wise, in a number of places. This one took pride of place for sheer filth. It looked like it hadn't been cleaned since the easter risin'. In fact it looked like it was in some countdown to complete bathroom reno mode. (No sense cleaning it the land lord wants to redo it.) It should be redone, for I have a  larger bathroom in my rec room. This was entirely inadeqaute for the  numbers of clientele. My wife complained to the waiter about the ladies, too. Did I mention it was almost 'trainspotting' filthy?

As goes the bathroom, why not the kitchen? They're both 'dirty jobs' nobody 'likes' to do.

Well, nobody who can be ringing-in sales and toting up their tips, that is. For the bevy of young beauties seemed to be encouraging each other to use the charge terminal all the time we were there, There never seemed to be less than 4 or 5 waiting and watching as one of them keyed the touch screen. Perhaps thst's why the bogs were fouled and a nearby hutch crowded with dirty dishes. Too many chiefs and not enough clanspersons.

Philthy McNasty's  (another Sports bar  'concept') was a cut above, cleanliness-wise. But the 'McFud' in both gives lie to the necessity of serving 'fud' (mit umlaut)  at all. Fionn McCools was, for me, a big flop.

Post Script:  I emailed ny sentiments to the manager and was rewarded by a speedy response. I was assured that my complaints were taken to heart and invited to return to meet his nibs in person. Added to that  - a $100 gift card for the reprise.