From shepherd's pie to Guinness stew to thick potato leek soups, Irish dishes are ideal when the temperature drops. Known for a solid meat and potatoes fare, the Irish do hearty, comfort food well -- so it should be no surprise that as we sample burgers throughout Springfield, two of our favorites happen to be from Irish restaurants.
Of all the places for a burger in Springfield, perhaps none offers as many options as McLynn's. From the standard 8 oz. Tavern burger to garden burgers, turkey burgers and chili burgers, this Irish pub and restaurant on Morris Avenue offers whatever you might be in the mood for, provided you like beef.
We've said before that we're fans of the , calling it one of the best in town. On our NoonEats burger binge, we've sampled the and the .
The burgers at McLynn's have neither whiskey nor stout on them, but they do offer one of my favorite toppings, bleu cheese. This cultured, smelly cheese was discovered accidentally more than 1,000 years ago in Europe -- and its sharp bite goes perfectly on a thick burger.
On this visit, I tried a slight variation on my favorite McLynn's burger and ordered the bleu cheeseburger with sauteed onions instead of bacon, trading the pig for a touch of sweetness.
The burger was served open-faced, covered in blue cheese and translucent sauteed white onion, on a large kaiser roll, with lettuce and tomato.
I ordered the burger medium well. Unlike last week's medium well burger across town that tasted too charred, a little more on the well done side, this week's was juicy, dripping almost, definitely more on the medium side.
Almost too thick to manage, I needed more napkins to finish this off. The bleu cheese and onions went well together, though the onions were so mild in flavor I barely noticed them. I didn't add ketchup, nor did I once miss the bacon that I usually order. The fries are hot and golden, with more of a crunch than most.
After Emerald's and McLynn's, it's clear the Irish have a way with their burgers. Looking for some explanation, I turned to Colman Andrews' James Beard Award-winning "The Country Cooking of Ireland" -- a thick, must-have book if you like Irish food. Leading off the chapter on beef and lamb, he says that neither potato nor kale nor cabbage is the jewel of Irish agriculture. That distinction belongs to the green grass of the Emerald Isle that nourishes its sheep and cattle.
Now that, along with this cool weather, has me craving shepherd's pie.