Walking into an Irish pub shortly after 9 a.m. is a little strange. The empty room is strung with Guinness banners and Irish flags, there’s a chalkboard wine list on the wall, and the televisions are on – but with the sound turned down because a radio station is on. It’s as if the entire Irish village was having a party when aliens came down and beamed them up into their spacecraft to check their blood alcohol levels.

Photo by Meredith Goad

But there I was at Madden’s Pub & Grill this odd time of morning on purpose, to check out the breakfast menu. This place is near my home, and I am always on the lookout for good breakfast spots in the neighborhood. I was surprised to find I was the only one there, at least for a half hour, when other people started showing up. The restaurant has burgundy walls and a mix of seating, including tables, booths and bar seating.

The last time I was there was years ago, just after the current owners, an Irish couple, bought the place but before they had made any major changes. The breakfast menu looked great. It includes an Irish benedict and corned beef hash and eggs, both $11.99 and prepared with house-made corned beef hash. The traditional Irish breakfast, which includes two fried eggs, bangers, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans and toast, costs $12.99. The menu also includes omelets, French toast, buttermilk pancakes and a breakfast burrito, among many other choices.

Madden’s Pub & Grill in West Falmouth. Photo by Meredith Goad

I ordered the Dunmore Castle, which came with two eggs, two slices of bacon, two small sausages, toast and either a pancake or French toast, all for $11.99. It sounds great in theory, but when it arrived, the first thing I noticed was the whites of my two fried eggs had gray smudges on them, as if they had picked up some of the coating of a pan. I took a bite, and the flavor seemed a little off – I couldn’t quite pinpoint what was going on, but the egg left a weird taste in my mouth. After a couple more bites (I ended up eating one whole egg, just trying to figure out what that flavor was), I realized they must have been cooked on a griddle that hadn’t been cleaned lately. The eggs, I believe, had absorbed the color and flavor of other foods that had been cooked on it that morning.

The meats were fine – the bacon was especially good – but seemed (along with the potatoes) as if they had been warmed up from the morning breakfast rush. The French toast was well done, except that it also retained a hint of that weird flavor I tasted in the eggs. The coffee was weak, which probably explained why one customer came in with his own cup of Dunkin Donuts to drink with his meal.

I ended up leaving at least half my breakfast on the plate. That strange flavor from the eggs stayed with me for hours. It was not a great experience, but it was just one visit. I’ll gladly give the place another shot sometime soon, but I’ll probably try to visit earlier in the morning.

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