It’s torture to take out food from an Irish pub. Those big-screen TVs are calling our name. So is that pool table. And oh, those kegs, primed for the pump and pour. But a family has to do what a family has to do, and on this night that means taking cranky kids home to dig into the shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage and whiskey-wet bread pudding.
While the food at The Playwright Irish Pub must taste better in the actual pub, eating this stick-to-your-ribs (and aorta) food out of foam containers ranks a respectable second.
Playwright is on the second floor of Gulfstream Village in Hallandale Beach, where a synchronized musical light show every evening on the hour during the holidays gives diners another reason to get takeout: You can grab a spot near the twinkling trees and munch away while taking in “Symphony in Lights,” 250,000 bulbs flashing to the sounds of Christmas.
Playwright plays up its Irish food on the blackboard menu at the entrance, so we skipped the burgers, salad and crab cakes and went for the genuine stuff. Shepherd’s pie is a sprawling affair of ground meat, veggies and potatoes. Corned beef and cabbage also can serve two or more. And the fish and chips comes as two brick-size fillets with a heaping side of fries. Other ethnic picks include bangers and mash and Guinness beef stew.
Another staple, potato and leek soup, didn’t equal the main courses. Its yellow, gruel-like appearance was a turn-off, as was its salt-mine taste and the drizzle of hot sauce on top (looked like Russian dressing and tasted like fire). For dessert, a hunk of bread pudding hit the spot, though it tasted and looked like tiramisu drenched in whiskey.
If you visit Playwright during the day on weekends, don’t expect lunch prices. The late-night spot has one menu with one set of prices and portions. During the week, it’s dinner-hours only.
The staff at Playwright treats the takeout customer right. The waitress offered us a seat while we waited, brought a glass of water, packed our containers tightly and put in plenty of plastic utensils. She said the order would take 15 minutes, and it did. The music outside might be for the holidays, but with a taste of the food, it sounded like When Irish Eyes are Smiling to us.