After my lackluster experience at The Grafton Pub, I wasn’t too keen on trying the food at another Irish pub. But my soon-to-be-brother-in-law Slim McDinner assured me that the food at the Celtic Knot Pub in Evanston was worth sampling. Empanada Boy, Slim and I went there with Popcorn Princess, Drumstix and their baby Milkman who were visiting from Madison. We went late on a snowy evening, but the restaurant and bar were so filled with people that we still had at least a 20 minute wait to sit down. We sat at the bar (smoke free in Evanston) and enjoyed a Boddington’s or two while we waited.
The food was definitely better than the Grafton, and the festively decorated, wood-paneled space, filled with happy, beer-drinking patrons made the meal seem even more authentic. I steered away from shepherd’s pie, this time deciding to revel in the glories of Irish meat products with the Full Monty Irish Breakfast (shown above). This dish comes with bangers (sausages), bacon, black and white pudding (sausage made by cooking blood and sausage made from pork meat, suet and oatmeal, respectively), eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and fried bread. This was a feast of delicious animal parts like only the Irish could do it. Slim also ordered well, selecting the rich, hearty lamb stew with rustic Irish brown bread.
Empanada Boy did a more scientific comparison between the Celtic Knot and the Grafton by ordering the fish and chips. The flaky fish came in an equally flaky shell with excellent fries and a mild curry for dipping. EB’s assessment: the fish and chips at the Celtic Knot trounced the Grafton’s, the latter of which both of us had thought were pretty good. Popcorn Princess enjoyed the fish of the day, a tilapia filet, simply cooked in butter with lemon juice and vegetables on the side. Drumstix had a delicious looking steak sandwich with Provolone cheese and roasted red peppers. Despite the general gorging that took place, we decided to finish things off with some dessert. We ordered the convenient dessert sampler, which came with smaller portions of three different items. Our universal favorite was the sticky toffee pudding, which had only a slight toffee flavor, but was warm, well-spiced and deeply flavorful.
It’s great to know that an Irish pub in the Chicagoland area can really produce food that’s authentic and delicious. At first glance, the Celtic Knot may seem like just another bar, but a mere bite of banger elevates it to gastropub status.
The Celtic Knot Pub
626 Church St.
Evanston, IL 60201