Skeptical Chymist, located in North Scottsdale, sports authentic and traditional Irish Pub Fare. Owned by two Irishmen, one from Northern Ireland, the other from Southern Ireland, you see a merge of the cuisines from both areas. The pub itself has a very comforting and welcoming ambiance, mirroring the feel of a pub in Ireland, despite its location in a strip mall.
The beer is always fresh, served in appropriate glassware based on the beer. The pub is a relaxing area to sit back and have a few with friends, while engrossed in great conversation. The food itself is mediocre, nothing special and I always struggle with what to order; my usual is Fish and Chips because it is safe and consistently prepared.
Normally, one wouldn’t associate curry with Irish cuisine. Curry fries are fairly common; french fries served with curry sauce for dipping. It is a nice combination, usually bursting with the flavor of the curry sauce; not too spicy, just flavorful. Unfortunately, the shoe string fries served with the curry sauce at Skeptical Chymist don’t hold up; they really need to consider serving this with steak fries to create a good balance between the french fry and the curry sauce.
In the interest of deviating from my normal Fish and Chips, today I decided I would order something different. I didn’t venture too far from my norm, I was just hoping for something a little different. I ordered the Crispy Cod Sandwich. The fish was cooked perfectly, a wonderful crisp exterior with the beer battered cod, countered by a flaky, moist interior of fish. It was served with spicy tartar sauce, and coleslaw atop on ciabatta bread. The tartar sauce was far from spicy, especially by Phoenix standards, and in fact I think black pepper would have had more kick. The coleslaw was lacking acidity; it needed a good splash of vinegar to bring out the flavor. To make matters worse, the coleslaw was so running that it made the fish soggy fairly quickly.
We also ordered the Irish Breakfast, which is served all day; it includes eggs cooked to order, black and white pudding, rasher bacon, bangers, grilled tomato, and beans. Normally, beans are not included in a Southern Ireland based Irish breakfast, so this dish definitely showed a fusion of Northern and Southern Ireland cuisine. Black and white puddings in essence are sausages, although you likely don’t want to truly know what the sausages are made from. Both of the puddings were incredibly dry and grainy, and the quality was not terribly good. The rasher bacon and bangers were run of the mill, and unfortunately not anything exciting. The grilled tomato was cut inconsistently and therefore didn’t get a good, even grilling. And finally, the beans: they were more so ranch style, southwestern beans which made for a very odd combination.
As much as we enjoy going to the pub now and again, this visit made us realize that it really is great for the ambiance and a happy hour with friends. As far as food is concerned, we would rather eat somewhere else. While the food is not bad, it is not exceptional. But the general décor, relaxing atmosphere, and good beer make for a great time with friends; so next time, we’ll just sit back with a pint (or two), enjoy company and conversation, but take part in cuisine at another venue.
Location: Skeptical Chymist