Frisco, Ya Ain’t Irish Enough (Lochrann’s Irish Pub & Eatery)

8 Mar

Bringing an authentic pub atmosphere to a white-bread suburb is tough, but that didn’t stop Dave McNabb from trying.  Heck, 75% of Lochrann’s interior was created by Irish craftsmen.  Ignoring the master planned feel of Frisco Square and the valet parking situation, Lochrann’s impressive exterior with a prime location directly across from a soccer stadium seems almost too perfect to be true.

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Unfortunately, it is.  Suburbanites filled the pub in masses this Friday evening, and the large waiting crowd in the lobby completely obscured the view of the hostess.  Looks like the standard “eye the table like a hawk and swoop in as soon as the occupants get up” pub seating strategy is too uncivilized for Frisco, Lochrann’s employs an Applebee’s-like seating approach to better suit its patrons. 

Lucky for us, the majority of the group we were meeting had already arrived and been seated.  I plopped myself down on a comfortable booth and was immediately overwhelmed by the noise level.  Close your eyes and the chattering crowd drowning out the live acoustic music felt almost like sitting in a busy pub across the pond.  But it’s much louder than your neighborhood pub, launching into a decibel zone that is uncomfortable to sustain over an entire meal.  Open your eyes and that pub feel further disintegrated.  The wood work was dandy, but neither of the two flat screens above the main bar were visible from the entire dining section we were seated in.  The crowd, though roaring with chatter, were calmly seated at their individual tables, with quite a few babies and toddlers in tow.  The only people moving about in the dining area were waiters in white button downs and waitresses in plaid mini skirts.  No soccer games on TV, no groups of rowdy youngsters, and no beer list.

No beer list!  Though our waiter was able to spout off Lochrann’s malt offerings (which seemed way too few for a pub), his efforts were futile as almost no one could hear what he was saying in that sea of noise.  The only cider on the list was Strongbow at $6 for a pint.

The group grew grouchy, the noise wearing away their initial excitement.  Thank goodness the appetizers arrived soon to appease the increasing uneasiness.  We sampled the Galway Bay Calamari ($8.95) and the curious fusion creation Boxty Quesadilla ($8.95).

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The light, golden, crisp calamari rings are above average quality for pub fare.  However, the boxty quesadilla (not photographed) turned out to be the highlight of the evening.  Warm gooey cheese held together two soft and substantial potato pancakes filled with onion, tomato, and bacon.  There’s nothing particularly Irish or Tex-Mex about this dish, but the unique plate is just the right kind of rich hearty fare fitting to accompany a mug of brew.

Entrees didn’t fare as well. 

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Fish and chips ($11.95) turned out an overpriced plate of thick, slightly slimey cod squares coated in soggy, too peppery batter.  There was no crispness in the fish or the chips, both were limp and disappointing.  Chips had no hint of any seasoning and required a generous dose of malt vinegar to make them even tolerable. 

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Chicken and bacon boxty potato pancakes ($9.95) lacked the oozy cheesy fun of the boxty quesadilla.  Dry chicken cubes bore an uncanny resemblance to the texture of canned chicken (yes, we’re talking Chicken of the Sea texture) and cream sauce was too bland to do anything for the potato pancakes. 

Across the table, a diner leaves a plate of oven roasted crackling Irish chicken ($12.95) alone after the first couple of bites.  “Too dry, even with the whiskey sauce,” she complained.  Classic Irish stew ($11.95) and Kobe beef shepherd’s pie ($11.95) turned out better reactions, though I have to wonder why Lochrann’s insists on making shepherd’s pie with ground Kobe beef instead of the traditional lamb. 

At the end of the meal, the waiter came around to ask if we’d like to try Bailey’s Cream cheesecake or chocolate whiskey cake for dessert, but no one in the group wanted to stay in that sea of noise for a minute longer. 

As much as I love the concept of a great little pub right across the street from the soccer stadium, I found little at Lochrann’s to love.  Somewhere between the mini skirt donning waitresses and the menu’s practice of sticking the label “Irish” or “whiskey” or other Irish-sounding word/phrase in front of blatantly non-Irish dishes, Lochrann’s loses its appeal as a pub and gains a Hooter’s-esque feel with the kind of “authenticity” found at of Outback Steakhouse.  Sorry, that is far from enough reason to make the trek up to Frisco worthwhile.

Rating: 2 / 5

Lochrann’s Irish Pub & Eatery
6195 Main Street
Frisco, TX 75034

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12 Responses to “Frisco, Ya Ain’t Irish Enough (Lochrann’s Irish Pub & Eatery)”

  1. foodczar 03/09/2008 at 9:49 am #

    Donna, I’m sorry you were disappointed with Lochrann’s but I’m not totally shocked. I visited within days of it’s opening in December, and though I was mostly pleased, I could see potential speedbumps in the road ahead. The most pressing issues that we reviewers keep harping on seem to be noise level, price, and inconsistent quality. Price may be a reflection of Lochrann’s downtown Frisco location or the fact that they have live music (which is quite good if you can hear it). Inconsistent quality will hopefully work itself out, and we’ll see how astute McNabb is in the coming months by possibly offering a few more lower-priced menu items as well. If a place doesn’t rectify it’s problems, customers will find somewhere else to dine.

  2. FatCap 03/10/2008 at 9:22 am #

    Lochrann’s is not a restaurant. It’s a drinking hole which happens to serve food. It’s uncomfortably loud, food is mediocre at best (except for a few items–the mentioned boxty quesadilla, the decent soups, and a little more than decent corned beef), and lacks variety, even in beers. When I dined there, at least half the tables in the dining room were occupied by people drinking, not (or no longer) eating. I wouldn’t put up with that noise, the hour long waits for a table, or the whole Desperate Housewives vibe (OK I am reaching here, because I’ve never seen and will never see. In truth this comments is borne of my phobia of suburbs and observations of just how many “emotional” conversations women, in the place, were having with their SOs), although the staff does try and the manager is friendly. But that noise would put anybody on edge. The best thing management could do is to get some curtains and ceiling covering, to deaden the acoustics. Next, get more fargin’ beer choices, even if you gotta go–gasp–English. Also, switch to serving food from a major food cuisine. Heck, you can’t complain about Irish food–it’s supposed to be bad! Even in Bourdain’s Ireland episodes, Ireland’s top chefs serve Asian fusion, “newly discovered” seafood–items the rest of the old world has eaten for a millenia, and offal. Yay.

    Anthony Bourdain’s Ireland episode:
    http://www.spikedhumor.com/articles/128218/Anthony-Bourdain-Ireland-pt1.html
    http://www.spikedhumor.com/articles/128219/Anthony-Bourdain-Ireland-pt2.html
    http://www.spikedhumor.com/articles/128220/Anthony-Bourdain-Ireland-pt3.html
    http://www.spikedhumor.com/articles/128221/Anthony-Bourdain-Ireland-pt4.html
    http://www.spikedhumor.com/articles/128222/Anthony-Bourdain-Ireland-pt5.html

    It won’t be Irish, but I’d ask you: what about it seems Irish now?
    They won’t change, though. It’s packed to the gills with Frisco-critters happy to have a watering hole.

  3. donnaaries 03/10/2008 at 12:38 pm #

    FatCap, I’m in complete agreement. If Lochrann’s is destined to become more of a drinking hole for suburbanites more worried about their lawn being the right shade of green for HOA approval than any kind of soccer match, then just cut down on the number of food items on the menu and stick with things you do well or switch to a more appealing brand of cuisine.

    And in order for Lochrann’s to draw serious pub-goers, they’ll need more beers!

  4. dawn 03/17/2008 at 7:39 pm #

    my husband and i stopped in to have a pint this afternoon. i realize that it’s st. patricks day, but the service was terrible. we sat for 10 minutes and then asked the hostess for a server. the server came by and left to get our drinks. 10 minutes later we were still sitting there. my husband is an executive chef and can accept mediocre food, but he won’t tolerate lousy service. we walked out.

  5. Darron 03/17/2008 at 10:55 pm #

    I intentionally waited to visit Lochrann’s, just to let the “newness” wear down a bit. I should have kept waiting. They really want to be authentic, & they did a great job of dressing up the place, but that’s it, they’re just playing dress up. Where were the managers when I waited for the hostess to finish her conversation & was finally ready to ask me “did you want a table?”
    Their was none of the warmth, welcomness, or comfort that the McNabb’s want you to feel by dropping in.
    I’ll visit again, if only to see if I can actually taste a Guiness, or the food, instead of leaving after waiting 30 minutes on a VERY uncomfortable bar stool

  6. David McNabb 03/20/2008 at 9:07 pm #

    Hello everyone. This is Dave McNabb the owner of Lochranns. I have been reading all your comments and appreciate all your feedback. I want to apoligize for the incidents on St Patrick’s Day. We were extremely busy and were trying to accommodate the best as possible. Under no circumstance should there be a confrontation with a customer. There is always a resolution. I have had the appropriate conversation with the manager and this type of action will not happen again in the future. The host did ask the manager to leave her post due to customers yelling at her at which he dismissed her so that she could take a break. The manager did take care of tabs for people that were dissatified with the wait and we tried to take care of drinks for those that waited longer than originally were told. Unfortunately we are only able to accommodate a certain number of people in the establishment due to fire code and the makeup of the pub sometimes has customers sitting at tables for longer than expected. We are working to solve that issue by expanding for additional dining and adding another service bar to speed up drink service. We take great pride in our service and only hire staff that have more than 3 years or experience. We continuely work with them to adapt their skills to our expectations.

    As far as the food, we are a pub but wanted to add a little more sopahistication to the menu to appeal to different pallets. Our chef is very talented and has a tremendous background with all types of cuisine. We gave him some creative iinfluence on the dishes that would make them a little different than what some of the dishes traditionally call for. This adds some uniqueness to the pub. We evaluate the menu monthly and make changes based on feedback.

    My wife and I went into this venture to make it the best possible pub experience in North Dallas. I hope that you accept our apologies and consider coming back as we continue to mold the experience. We appreciate all your feedback and look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon.

    Slainte

    David McNabb

  7. donnaaries 03/21/2008 at 1:44 pm #

    I didn’t realize this review would become the platform for discussing restaurant management at Lochrann’s in such depth. For what it’s worth, if Dave McNabb or the manager of Lochrann’s is reading, all the comments regarding the bad management have been coming from the same IP address though with different email addresses (although the email addresses could be easily made up whereas the IP address is traced via the website traffic). That could be a result of the large group of coworkers all chiming in on their negative experience during St. Patty’s day or just some coordinated attempt to badmouth the manager. Either way, all the complaints about the management (with the exception of Dawn and Darron’s comments) are coming from the same group, so take it for what it’s worth.

    As exciting as this discussion about the management is, as the owner of the blog I’m going to have to ask that comments about this particular management issue on St. Patty’s day cease at this point (guys, I think you’ve more than shared your 2 cents). Comments about other experiences at Lochrann’s (particularly pertaining to food) are welcome.

    Thanks.

  8. sheila 03/27/2008 at 6:05 pm #

    I have been to Lochranns. The food is delicious,the staff friendly . Frisco is so lucky to have such a wonderful place to go to have a great time!! I think the food is very good, give it a chance and try different dishes. Not everyones tastes are the same. It is very warm and inviting. I loved spending the evening there with my friends. Thank you Lochranns

  9. MissterPickles 04/11/2008 at 3:08 pm #

    Was thinking about checking this place out. But after reading that they have no beer list, and not a very extensive selection, I don’t think I could bring myself to go. I was hoping that this would be a place like The Flying Saucer, but it sounds like it has been ruined by all of the families. It also strikes me as extremely unsettling that the manager would be patrolling food blogs and actually responding to legitimate complaints. Also, I think that keep it simple is the best words a new restaurateur can embrace. Fusion food does not belong on a pub menu, especially if you are trying to make it authentic. The word unprofessional comes to mind, maybe lame would be a better choice.

  10. donnaaries 04/13/2008 at 5:38 pm #

    All comments (and future comments) pertaining to management at Lochrann’s have been deleted (and will be deleted). It’s fine to express your concern about poor service, but detailed discussion about a particular manager is not the purpose of this food blog. If you have a comment about your experience with Lochrann’s food, please comment. Otherwise, please refrain.

  11. foodczar 04/16/2008 at 9:19 am #

    Hear, hear! Enough, negativity, say I!! We have too many complainers in general as it is. For me, the quality of live music by itself was good enough and I for one will be back.

  12. drummerbabe 07/17/2008 at 12:20 am #

    My husband and I have been looking for an Irish pub ever since Emerald Mist closed it’s doors in Richardson. We have finally found one worthy at Lochrann’s! Staff is nice, food is great! I just wish they were closer and had Irish music. Can you add plain boxty served with honey for those looking for the traditional boxty?

    Kiss me I’m Irish and punk!

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