My dining companion and I arrived at O’Loughlin’s Restaurant & Pub on an early Sunday evening. The restaurant is a local favorite, tucked in the corner of Bay Hills Shopping Center in Arnold.
Following requirements regarding COVID-19, the wait staff greeted us in masks, and directed us to either indoor or outdoor seating, with appropriate social distancing precautions. We chose to dine alfresco. The staff did a great job of creating a cozy space on their patio, with hanging flowerpots, fans, wrought iron tables, umbrellas and hanging lights.
After perusing our menus, we both began our meals with light, summertime raspberry tea, which was sweet but not syrupy. After considering the many appetizers offered, including the calamari, stuffed jalapenos and potato skins, we picked the stuffed mushroom caps and coconut shrimp.
Our waitress was friendly and efficient, even while training a new employee. The pair delivered our appetizers quickly. The tender mushrooms were stuffed with bubbly, spicy crab imperial — nice little savory bites. There was plenty of coconut on the shrimp to provide a sweet contrast, and the raspberry sauce offered a nice bit of tartness. I preferred the shrimp; my companion favored the mushrooms.
Our perky waitress put my memory skills to shame as she rattled off the specials and the multiple side dishes available.
My companion chose one of the specials, lemon haddock, with mashed potatoes and broccoli, and I picked the chicken kabobs, served over a bed of wild rice, with a side “Loughlin salad.”
Beautifully presented, our food arrived just as we licked the last bit of appetizers from our fingers. We each took a taste of the fish, drawing a “yum” from me. Covered with lemon seasoning and pepper, the fish, tender and flaky, had a bite a little too intense for my companion, who claimed that the seasoning overshadowed the taste of the fish. I liked the peppery lemon zing, though she was correct, the spices did mask some of the haddock’s flavor. We both gobbled up the mashed potatoes, true comfort food, made with the skins. The broccoli was steamed properly — crisp yet tender.
My grilled chicken kabobs were a hit — lightly seasoned, speared with grilled cherry tomatoes, onions, and peppers and served over wild rice. The rice was especially tasty. I’ve never been a huge fan of wild rice, but this was fluffy yet dense, with a light nutty taste. Altogether, it was very satisfying.
Sneaking a taste of my salad dressing, my companion wrinkled her nose and said, “You’re not going to like that.” She was wrong. The unique carraway dressing was a mix of spicy and sweet, and perfectly paired with the light salad of greens topped with nuts, apples, blue cheese, red onions and tomatoes.
Since wings are one of the restaurant’s favorites, according to our wait staff and online reviews, we split an order for the sake of you, our readers. Though we flirted with the suicide wings, we deferred and chose the extra hot version. Both of us officially pronounce them extra meaty, spicy and hot (we are happy we didn’t go with the jump-off-the-cliff version), with just the right amount of tasty sauce without making them sloppy.
We completed our meal with desserts and chose the two that are made in-house: Mississippi mud pie and a brownie sundae.
Topped with caramel embedded with peanuts, the rich mud pie was layered with solidly frozen coffee and chocolate ice cream, topped with whipped cream — luscious and cool for a hot summer night.
The brownie sundae was just as scrumptious. Let’s face it, sometimes when you order a brownie sundae, the brownie tastes like it came out of a plastic wrapper at a convenience store. Moist, with full-mouthed cocoa flavor (I’m salivating as I write this), these brownies must have been baked fresh. You can’t go wrong with this goodie, which is drizzled with chocolate sauce and with whipped cream.
With a less than $100 bill for the large amount of food, we were pleasantly filled to the brim.
O’Loughlin’s has a variety of weekday specials, including an Irish night on Wednesdays with corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, or fish and chips. There is also a Sunday brunch, and live music on Thursdays from 5:30pm-8:30pm on the patio.
Check out the full menu and specials online at www.oloughlinspub.com.