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restaurant review: Asgard Offers Unique Brunch Close to Home

Dark Atmosphere and Poor Service are Balanced by Tasty and Eclectic Menu

By Chen Zhao, Erica Koval, Jiji Gu,
Sally Lou, and Yaa-Lirng Tu

The Asgard

350 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02139

(617)577-9100

www.classicirish.com

This past Sunday, the five of us decided to go to The Asgard, an Irish restaurant and pub, because of its reasonable prices and convenient location in Central Square. A common location for business lunches as well as student outings, The Asgard is known for featuring live music on weekends and team trivia on Tuesday nights. However, judging by the many empty tables when we arrived, few seemed aware that they also have a full and slightly unique brunch menu, served Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

On the walk to Central Square, The Asgard is easily recognizable by the Irish banners hanging outside. The interior is styled like an Irish castle, with high, dark wooden beams and sparse lighting. On weekend mornings, slow jazz plays in the background above the drone of the TV’s near the bar. This atmosphere would be fine for dinners but was much too dark and gloomy for a noon-time brunch.

The brunch entrees range from $6.49 for a typical breakfast sandwich with home fries to $9.99 for a very eclectic Full Irish Breakfast which includes eggs, tomatoes, baked beans, saut ed mushrooms, home fries, and four types of meat. The menu lacks diversity as meat, eggs and potatoes constitute most of the offerings, however this is not surprising for an Irish restaurant.

Jiji ordered the Egg’s Benedict ($8.99), served with home fries. Unfortunately, the Canadian bacon that was promised on the menu never made it to the table, but the Hollandaise sauce made this classic brunch entree enjoyable overall. The home fries, extraordinarily well seasoned roasted potatoes saut ed with various vegetables, were universally praised. This delectable side is served with all but two entr es on the entire menu, and if one wants more (because it really is that good), it can be ordered as a side dish.

Erica ordered an English muffin ($1.49) and Texas French Toast ($7.49) served with home fries, warm syrup and whipped butter. The waitress also forgot the English muffin, but luckily the rest of Erica’s meal was very filling. The Texas French Toast was lightly flavored, offering good contrast to the more boldly flavored home fries.

Sally ventured to try the Full Irish Breakfast ($9.99). As suggested by the name, the meal was generous indeed, and Sally found the grilled tomatoes, saut ed mushrooms, home fries, and English muffin very appetizing. However, the eggs were bland and the various traditional Irish sausages, termed black and white pudding for the blood content of the meat, were just barely acceptable.

Ling also opted to start off her breakfast with protein, ordering the Steak and Eggs ($9.99). Unfortunately, the steak was a little dry, even for a well done one.

Chen ordered the special, a Mexican Omelet ($8.99). A potato-laden and tasteless Irishman’s Omelet was accidentally substituted initially, but after this mistake was corrected, she found the Mexican Omelet to be very similar to a breakfast burrito. The omelet was very flavorful, but on the greasy side.

In contrast to the food, the drinks were very run-of-the-mill. The coffee was certainly not anything spectacular, and the orange juice lacked pulp and had an overly sweet aftertaste, resembling the usual store-bought stuff. For those wanting something stronger in the morning, The Asgard always offers a variety of alcoholic drinks, typically over $5.

The service was slow due to the open seating policy, three mistakes were made on our orders, and drinks were slow to come. However, the waitress was very kind and happily answered all our questions about the menu and some of the unusual foods.

Overall, The Asgard delivered a well priced and eclectic meal. However, this location is probably better suited for late lunches and dinners because of the dark atmosphere and types of meals offered. Henrietta’s Table, which we reviewed last week, is better for breakfast, but The Asgard offers a convenient and enjoyable enough brunch.