McCabe’s re-opened under new ownership in mid-2010 after sitting closed for over a year. Inside, there are a dozen (wobbly!) wooden tables crowded tightly into a narrow room framed by a long exposed brick wall, the bar and a small window facing Falls Road (our friend Marta was a fan of the “old” McCabes and assured us that it looks the same). On the limited menu, Marta smiled finding her favorite onion soup ($5) and cheese burger with fries ($11) but at “new” McCabes, the burgers originate from local, all-natural Springfield Farms and adding bacon, mushrooms and fried egg (?) options can push the price up to $16). There are a few appetizers ($8-$13) plus chicken breast, pulled pork, fried cod or veggie eggplant sandwiches for $10-$11 and a half dozen entrees including a veggie polenta lasagna ($16-$25) as well as steak or tuna entrée salads ($14).
Marty and Marta both started with onion soup; the small bowls arrived with a (not overly abundant) layer of melted cheese over some toasted baguette on top of but meaty, un-salty but a tad bland broth and won a “Thumbs Up” from both. John started with a cup of the Guiness Beef Stew special ($4); tasty with chunks of beef, the Guiness wasn’t obvious. For the main course, Marta had her traditional “Cheeseburger with Fries” while Marty requested a single crabcake (instead of the “double” listed on the menu) with grilled asparagus and fries ($18). Marty really liked his light-on-filler crabcake and fries (but the asparagus was just “ok”). Marta was really pleased with her burger and fries (but that devil Marty snatched half of her fries!) John decided on a steak salad; a half dozen chunks of steak surrounding a large bed of baby spinach with a light balsamic dressing was really good (but the menu-promised pine nuts, blue cheese, and pickled onions included only 2 tiny blue cheese crumbs, 3 pine nuts and a half teaspoon of onion.) FYI – our entrees didn’t arrive for 25+ minutes after we had finished our soups even on a not-so-busy week night.
Our young waitress was friendly and engaging. Her praise of an apple cobbler with a scoop of Breyer’s ice cream ($6) lured us into sharing one. The 4” wide cobbler was warm with the ice cream on the side and big enough for each of us to enjoy a couple of spoonfuls. Marta and Marty praised it, John thought that the apple filling was bland and the pastry was a little stale. John wasn’t all that impressed and and wondered why McCabe’s well-heeled regulars seemingly trek out of their way to this small bar on Falls Road surrounded by un-gentrified, small row houses while Marty and our friend Marta gave it a “Thumbs Up!”.
FACTS? McCabes (Hampden); 3845 Falls Rd; 410-467-1000; http://mccabeshampden.com ; www.facebook.com/mccabeshampden; Full Bar; Veg Options; Open Monday-Friday dinner only; Saturday/Sunday lunch & dinner; off street parking in the adjacent Meinke Muffler after 6 pm is good to know about! (DiningOUT review published 2011/March)