19 E. 7th Street
UPDATE 3 May 2011: This restaurant has closed.
Normally when Steve and I want to watch English football we head to Molly Malone's in Covington. Matches kick off around 8 a.m. over here (1 p.m. GMT) so the early start time means it hasn't gotten time to become too smoky. We knew that wouldn't be the case for World Cup action, and we'd caught quite a few matches at BlackFinn four years ago - or perhaps it was still McFadden's then? - but anyway we decided to make BlackFinn our destination for the USA v England match on Saturday afternoon.
I hadn't been to the restaurant in quite some time, mainly because the last time I visited there were only overpriced appetizer options for the vegetarian diner, but a quick perusal of their online menu showed that they now offer a black bean burger in addition to standard veggie-friendly appetizers like spinach & artichoke dip, salads, and fried cheese type choices.
Of course the lure of World Cup footie on the several dozen large flatscreen and tabletop HDTVs was the main draw for Steve and his English mates, but BlackFinn's half-price pint special - an astonishingly good value for money - certainly added to the festive afternoon. Two dollar pints of Smithwick and Guinness?! What?! It figures that I had volunteered to be the designated driver. Such rotten luck.
The restaurant's Monterey Black Bean Burger ($6.95) scores well, and the addition of guacamole and bean sprouts makes for a refreshing change. The wilted spring mix and bitter endive weren't good teammates to the other toppings however, so they got the red card treatment and were sent off.
Steve opted for the Ultimate Bacon Cheddar Burger ($6.95) and was not disappointed. Topped with four slices of applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and crispy fried onion strings, it's a thick and juicy two-handed affair. Seasoned fries come standard with all burgers, but there is nothing standard about them. I'm not a huge fan of french fries but wow, these batter-dipped potatoes are seriously addicting.
While the result was a draw thanks to England keeper Robert Green's embarrassing error in the 40th minute, there was spirited but friendly banter between the two teams' supporters throughout the match. When England's Steven Gerrard scored in the fourth minute we sent a round of drinks to a table of USA fans, and 36 minutes later they reciprocated with a shot of Gentleman Jack in our direction. Believe me when I say that level of opposing fan camaraderie would not exist in similar pubs and bars in England. My husband and his mates found it very refreshing.