ITHACA, NY -- If you eat out from time-to-time you must have noticed that restaurants in Ithaca, as they are around the globe, have been hit hard by the pandemic. In our community we have, sadly, lost a few permanently while others struggle to keep to a normal schedule despite being understaffed.
Kilpatrick’s is an excellent example of restaurants that are working hard to stay open and maintain normal service during these difficult times.
On the weekdays that they are open, dining service commences at 4PM which is when I try to arrive. However, more than once I’ve been met at the door by a staff member who told me there’s only one person in the kitchen and food won’t be served before 5PM at the earliest. I’m welcomed to have a drink at the bar in the meantime. There are regulars at the bar and one looks just like Norm from Cheers.
When they do start serving food the service is amazingly attentive. On the recent occasions I’ve eaten there, Christopher, the bartender, came out from behind the bar, on multiple occasions, to assist Marah or Zach, the servers, in taking care of the needs of customers at the tables.
Kilpatrick’s has three different sites: the aforementioned bar and two small dining areas, one with three private high-walled, dark mahogany booths and three hi-top tables as well as a main area. It’s dominated by a lovely, large, hand-painted bucolic mural of the Irish countryside.
The paper menus feature traditional Irish inspired and American fare.
“Hand Helds” ($13-$15) include a house burger with a choice of the normal five toppings, as well as a Reuben, Rachel, chicken, and fish (beer battered haddock) sandwiches. I like the Rachel, which is a Reuben made with turkey substituted for the traditional corned beef. It comes on marbled rye bread, Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese, and homemade slaw. It’s thick and messy to eat…just the way I like it.
The three salad plates ($11-$12) offer fresh greens and I was happy to note that the radishes and red onion slices weren’t sharp on the tongue.
There are a half-dozen Full Plates ($13-$21) which include the basic Irish offerings I used to enjoy when I visited Dublin. There is, of course, corned beef and cabbage served with mashed potatoes, as well as bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie.
The bangers and mash came with two large hot dog types (bangers in Ireland are sausages) placed atop a generous portion of homemade mashed potatoes. The bangers are made of 100% pork mixed with finely minced breadcrumbs and surrounded by a thickish homemade onion gravy. The shepherd’s pie was served in an individual cast iron pan and consisted of a slightly dry combination of beef and lamb ground together with onions and carrots, topped with mashed potatoes and also served in an onion gravy. On my visits to Ireland I learned that an authentic shepherd’s pie is made exclusively with lamb (the word shepherd is derived from sheep herder and I’ve never been served it mixed with beef.) Incidentally, if it is made with beef it’s called “cottage pie.” Therefore, I think Kilpatrick’s use of “Irish-inspired” is appropriate and their bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie fit the bill of tasty and filling traditional comfort foods.
I don’t normally eat “Sweets” at the end of a meal, however I did try the flourless chocolate torte and was delighted how thick, “chocolatey” and sweet the slice was.
The wine menu ($7-$9/glass) is more extensive than I would expect at an Irish pub and includes all the major grape varieties as well as countries of origin and winery identifications. And you’ll not have a problem finding a beer you like in bottles, cans, or draught. To be more informative and helpful to Times readers, I once allowed myself to order an Irish Coffee. It was authentic with Jameson Irish Whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and coffee with whipped cream, which was squirted on the top from a can. It should have been served with a straw as some of us are not wild about sporting whipped cream mustaches.
-The main entrance is on Tioga Street however it can also be accessed through a short corridor from the lobby of the Downtown Hilton Garden Inn.
-Kilpatrick’s is noisy.
-The main dining area has a small platform which can be used by musicians.