As a general rule, we don’t review restaurants outside city limits, but I make an exception on occasion when I hear about a place repeatedly. Irish Times in Brookfield has been a favorite haunt among friends for years — a site for Birthday parties, football watching, and just hanging out by the fire on a blustery day.
I headed there on just such a day Saturday to cozy up with a pint and sedate myself with roast beast. What makes this restaurant worth the trip is its charm. The waitresses are on-the-ball and friendly, and the dining room — as well as the semi-private party room and a cottage area complete with a second fireplace — is welcoming and comfortable. Irish Times is convenient too. There’s plenty of parking, it’s located right by the Metra, so it’s a quick stop for the weary suburban train traveler, and it’s an easy distance from the Brookfield Zoo. I also like that you can reserve tables in advance and that the staff is very accommodating. The night we were there, for example, a live band was slated to play, and they set up shop uncomfortably close to our table. Our waitress went to the extra effort of moving us to another table so that we could still talk and hear the music.
The fare at Irish Times is fairly standard and it’s known for its fish and chips, prime rib (a special that’s served on Saturdays) and corned beef and cabbage. My dining companions and I stuck with the meaty side of things for dinner, trying the prime rib with baked potato, the lamb and the corned beef. The prime rib was the best out of the three, and I recommend it. It’s succulent, tender, and enough to feed an army. The lamb was tasty too — the perfectly seasoned fall-off-the bone sort of good. But don’t ask for mint jelly. You’ll only get confused looks in return. Despite my Irish-American Heritage, I’ve never been a fan of corned beef and cabbage, and I’m always on the hunt for a more tasty version. This was good, but overall, fairly standard.
We snacked on some nicely breaded mushrooms while watching football on TV screens tactfully tucked into alcoves in the wall so they aren’t too obtrusive. Later, we splurged on bread pudding and chocolate cake. The bread pudding, once properly doctored with whiskey sauce, was the best finisher.
Irish Times is a well-positioned stage for a fun evening filled with comfort food. Ironically, a bar called Cheers is right across the street, but I have a feeling Irish Times is the place where everybody will know your name and be glad you came.
Irish Times Pub and Restaurant
8869 Burlington Avenue
Brookfield, IL 60513