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Oh, Danny Boy

A faux Irish pub serves up great meals

The trompe l'oeil doesn't fool your eyes so well at noon either. At night, Slainte's atmosphere is very impressive, but by the light of day the phoniness becomes more apparent. What looked like wood above the back bar proves to be stained concrete. And the painted ceiling stones look silly, too. But I must confess, as I sit here with my third cup of tea listening to a dirge by the Chieftains on the sound system, Slainte has caused me to confront my own faux Irishness.

Nobody in my family has lived in Ireland for a hundred years, and in that time, our ethnicity has been hopelessly romanticized. The ugly truth is that my father was out searching the bars on Friday nights trying to find his alcoholic old man before he drank the paycheck, just like Frank McCourt and so many other Irish-American kids of that era.

Upside-down pie: Flip over your chicken potpie so that the delicious, creamy filling takes over the entire plate.
Troy Fields
Upside-down pie: Flip over your chicken potpie so that the delicious, creamy filling takes over the entire plate.

Details

Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 2 a.m.
(713)237-0000

Glenroe Farmhouse breakfast: $9.01
Whiskey-barbecued Atlantic salmon salad: $8.32
Shanagarry Farmhouse chicken potpie: $7.86
Steak-and-Guinness pie: $7.63
Murphy's amber-battered fish and chips: $8.09
Pint of half-and-half: $5
Irish lamb stew: $9.01
Shepherd's pie: $7.40

509 Main

Maybe a phony Irish pub like Slainte is the perfect place to ponder the fantasy and reality of an Irish-American identity as well as the pride and shame that balance within it like a well-poured half-and-half. My tea is finished, and this delicious melancholy is making me thirsty. The rows of whiskey bottles are catching a gleam from the window. It's two o'clock. I should have gone back to work half an hour ago.

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