If you hadn’t figured it out already, most of our restaurant choices come from NJ Monthly or from Jared’s tireless searches for breweries or restaurants with a great beer selection.  Our selection of Egan & Sons was a blend of both.  Jared recently found a Web site that lets you type in your zip code for a listing of breweries, beer bars, and other quality beer venues near you.  Egan & Sons came up on the list in Montclair, and was one we hadn’t tried yet.  Couple that with the fact that I remembered it from NJ Monthly, and we were set to meet some friends out for a great meal.

I was expecting Egan & Sons to be crowded to the point of hatred.  After all, it was Saturday night, it’s a bar/restaurant with quality beer, and the Jets were on.  The parking lot in the back off Label Street was full, but we got lucky when someone pulled out just as we were coming in.  The train station isn’t too far down the street, so perhaps parking wouldn’t be too much of an issue.  We only had to wait about 20 minutes for a table for 4, and there was a decent amount of room at the bar to wait and have a drink without feeling like you’re standing around awkwardly.  Egan & Sons had a very decent selection of beers on tap, as well as a great selection of bottled beers and their own craft beers.

While I wasn’t really feeling like trying the craft beers, Jared of course tried a sample of their beers, which included a lager, an amber, a pale ale and a stout for only $4 (which is great).  He decided to have a larger glass of the lager and stout since he thought that these had the most flavor and had a bit of character.  He thought the pale and the amber were lacking in flavor, making them taste the same. I had a small sip of the lager, which I didn’t find to be too heavily flavored, but I’ll defer to him on that one.  Overall, not our favorite place for beer, but the fact that they feature so many other great selections makes up for it.

The food at Egan & Sons, however, did not disappoint.  A mix of Irish pub/Americanized food choices, the menu had everything from simple bar food to fancy steaks.  Since I had been dieting all week, I went straight for the sliders with fries.  My only complaint was that they came with ketchup on them, which I hate.  No restaurant should just put the condiments on for you.  I was able to scrape it off, and I’m sure I ended up saving some calories on the bread, but still.  Jared had the Falafel burger, which was delicious.  Our friends had Fish and Chips, as well as a fabulous looking steak in a wonderful sauce that was on the specials menu.  One of our friends that joined us is a chef with extensive culinary training, so I was hoping the food would be up to par.  She thought everything was very delicious, with the exception of something the waiter referred to as “mushy peas.”  Not sure why anyone would order those, but avoid them as a side.  🙂

Recently I’ve been let down by the dessert choices in the restaurants we’ve been to.  Egan & Sons did me proud with their Sticky Toffee Pudding, which is absolutely my most favorite dessert.  While it certainly didn’t compare to the time I had it in London, it was still a very authentic replica, all warm and spongy and doused in caramel.  The NY Cheesecake our friends shared was very creamy and huge, a dessert I don’t even think I could have tackled.  Maybe it bordered on being too sweet, but apparently still delicious.

The overall atmosphere and experience at Egan & Sons really won me over.  While I came in expecting something a bit more like what we frequented in Ireland with sticky floors and rowdy college kids, the dining room made the experience very upscale without taking out the fun.  Egan & Sons food and beer selection certainly makes us wish we lived within walking distance, as I could see this quickly becoming a favorite!

My rating:  8/10

Egan & Sons
118 Walnut Street
Montclair, NJ 07042
973-744-1413
http://www.egannsons.com/

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