Our Gourmet: Trappings are Celtic, but it's all American
May 30. 2017 9:04PM
TK, as the establishment is known, has enough room for entire teams to cheer on their favorite team, while enjoying a tried and true lineup of wings, burgers, sandwiches, entrees and desserts, including wine, whiskey, specialty cocktails and about three dozen beers on tap. Drinking is a serious business at TK, with a small but fully loaded Kilt Crafted three-ring binder on each table with the lineup of beer and drinks.
TK is a national chain, but the only New Hampshire outlet is in Nashua, in a small plaza set back from the busy Route 101A and hidden by another building in the same development.
Inside, Scottish and Irish touches are found in the decor, in the menu and on the “Kilt Girls” waitresses, whose uniform consists of a plaid mini kilt and a matching bathing suit-style top. The outfits are no doubt popular with the clientele (TK sells a Kilt Girl calendar), but they look none too warm for the wearer. (Think Hooters in tartan. One look at the website and you’ll get the gist.)
But overall TK is just a fun place to eat and drink. One cannot help but be wowed by the array of televisions stretching from all corners of this huge bar/restaurant. We estimate hundreds can be seated, and there could not be fewer than eight TVs within easy view of each and every seat.
The menu boasts enough variety and choices to match any diner’s desires.
On the appetizer menu are soft-boiled Scotch Eggs ($7.50), wrapped in a deep-fried sausage and parmesan filled coating. These are Scottish enough for anyone, and TK also has Calamari ($11), various dips and quesadillas, fried pickles and pretzels and Irish Nachos ($9.50) plus Drunken Clams ($12) steamed in Guinness Stout, garlic and butter.
We chose the Highlander Sampler Platter ($13), an appetizer for two that could be sufficient for three or four with plenty of boneless wings, fried pickles, a toasty-warm pub pretzel and deep-fried mozzarella sticks. It came with three sauces for dipping (marinara, a Monterey Jack cheese sauce, and ranch).
The Highlander is a good place to begin your meal with a cocktail as you peruse the menu for dinner orders. The apps’ wings come in seven flavors, the pickles are sliced bite-sized and breaded and fried, and the pretzel is perfectly toasted and salted and cut into chunks for dipping.
When warm weather finally arrives in earnest, the entree salads at TK will be summer favorites, with steak tip, chicken, salmon and Caesar varieties well-priced at about $13-$15. And the “Celtic Specialties” for dinner include San Patricio Street Tacos ($12-$12.50) , a trio of soft tacos with pork, chicken or fish, with onion-cilantro relish, chips and salsa — named for a battalion of Celtic immigrants who fought for Mexico in the Mexican-American War of 1846.
Fish and Chips ($13) is also on the menu, along with an interesting and varied lineup of “Big Arse Burgers,” including the $17 Double Dublin Dare offering that features two half-pound deep-fried patties, and all the trimmings, for which “Tilted Kilt and its affiliates assume no liability for those attempting” to eat it.
We were thinking that either a salad or the tacos would be terrific dinners in the heat of a summer evening with an accompanying ice-cold beer. We will not go near the Double D burger.
Our choices this recent weekend night included Mediterranean Salmon ($16), a juicy and delicious slightly-blackened salmon filet served over a bed of spinach, roasted potatoes and sliced red peppers with a tangy sweet mustard sauce between the fish and the veggies. The sauce makes this a spot-on pleasing dinner entree at a fair price.
For ribs lovers, the Big Rack (half $13.50, full rack $27) brings St. Louis-style pork ribs, and plenty of them. These meaty, well trimmed ribs are heavily slathered in barbecue sauce and slow roasted. The Guinness BBQ sauce is thick and stays with the ribs throughout the serving and the eating, and the accompanying bowl of cole slaw is cool and refreshing.
The ribs dinner (half an order is quite sufficient, unless a diner goes OT) also comes with a choice of a side, which this night we designated to be a House Side Salad with a vinaigrette dressing. The normally Premium Side ($4.50) salad is a great bargain — a large bowlful of sliced mushrooms, peppers, onions and tomatoes mixed in with a lettuce medley. It’s a great salad for $4.50, joining all manner of side dishes at the $3 (Side) and $4.50 (Premium Side) price scale.
For a proper Kilt dessert, vanilla ice cream is featured atop any of three Tilted Guilt trips — a pretzel, a cookie or a brownie. But it’s not just a pretzel, it is a salted caramel-topped, fresh-baked soft pretzel, heavy on the salt and caramel and squarely laden atop with a large round ball of icy vanilla ice cream and drizzled generously with a warm Monin Caramel sauce. The pretzel and sauces are warmed just before serving, and they are hot, with the very cool portion of ice cream to go with it, and the entire dish is swept with a gracing of powdered sugar.
It’s all about indulgence at the Tilted Kilt. We happily concluded our first visit there with a pledge to return and indulge once more.