Friday, January 25, 2019

First Look: Darcy's Donkey

Darcy's Donkey red ale
Hi Sign Red Ale
A friend whose food tastes I trust visited Darcy's Donkey on Barton Springs Road (in the old Austin Java location) just after they opened in October and had some very mixed things to report. So I went for happy hour last week with an open mind but with some trepidation. Fortunately, we left stuffed and happy, but I wouldn't be me without mentioning some pros and cons encountered along the way.

First off, the name. I wouldn't know this place is an Irish pub just from it's name, and their website doesn't appear to offer clues as to its origin. But further digging found an article from the Austin American-Statesman explaining that the Irish owner is into a sport called donkey derby, and Darcy is a popular Irish name. Go figure on both.
Darcy's Donkey

When you walk inside the pub, the bar is straight in front of you, and there are like 5 steps to your right that go to the main dining area and the restrooms. There's no hand railing which may be a bit difficult for people of different abilities (or dare I say sobriety levels) to navigate.
Darcy's Donkey
The archway is where the stairs are. There is a handicap access door at the top of the stairs that leads to the ramp outside. Wooden stools are cute, but not comfortable.
There is bench seating that runs the length of two walls more or less, and small tables and short bars stools. And when I say short bar stools, I mean fit for an 8 year old, not an adult, and at 5'1" I know I am not much taller than many 8 year olds. I had been warned that the wooden stools were horribly uncomfortable, and yes, I can confirm that. And I only sat on one for about 15 seconds before my friend and I moved into the corner where the benches come together so we could each have a padded cushion. Much better.

Our young lad of a waiter was very sweet though we wondered if he was new. We ordered the entire happy hour food menu.
Darcy's Donkey happy hour menu

We also had the Cashel Blue Cheese Fondue (queso) which was incredible! Like, I am still dreaming about it! Sorry the photo isn't so great. Nice dense Irish soda bread, roasted head of garlic, chopped figs, and behind the fondue bowl were some pecans. The menu says candied pecans, though I don't recall if ours were in fact candied.
Darcy's Donkey Cashel blue cheese fondue

The prime rib sliders were also delicious, but a word of warning: the food is served on small metal trays and when placed on a highly varnished wooden tabletop, your food may end up partially in your lap if you try to cut said food. Fortunately no meat was lost and no clothing was harmed but the tray did almost go slip sliding away. Two sliders for $7 is a steal!
Darcy's Donkey prime rib sliders

Waffle chips were tasty, but they are cut waaaay to thin and they practically shatter in your hand as you pick one up.  The boxty pizza wasn't bad, but it wasn't really to either of our liking. Maybe a bit too soggy?
Darcy's Donkey boxty pizza

I really wanted one of the shepard's pie, but I was really too full after cheese and meat to order one. So I must go back! There are also a multitude of pratai, or potato, dishes that look intriguing, and how can an Irish pub mess up potatoes, right? Who else has been to Darcy's and what did you eat?

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