Restaurant Scene

RESTAURANT SCENE: Top of the morning at T.J. Maloney's

2012-07-06T00:00:00Z RESTAURANT SCENE: Top of the morning at T.J. Maloney'sBy Eloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Brunch fans will be happy to celebrate a taste of Ireland at T.J. Maloney's new "Maloney's Weekend Brunch" in Merrillville.

The brunch, which debuted in April, features a variety of goodies including an assortment of Irish breakfast dishes, appetizers, salads, sandwiches and desserts by Star Plaza's pastry chef Victoria Salazar.

Guests may enjoy brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in the authentic Irish pub. Items are served off the menu and not from a buffet.

During a recent Saturday brunch visit to T.J. Maloney's, we were seated in the middle of the restaurant at a comfortable table facing the bar.

The eatery is decorated to resemble an old-fashioned pub with dark wood throughout and featuring furniture made in Dublin.

Dishes starring on the menu are the innovative work of the team of Star Plaza chefs, including the eatery's executive chef Joel Krauklis, executive sous chef Kenneth Regan, pastry chef Victoria Salazar and chef Brian Narug, who is Star Plaza's executive chef overseeing all menus that come out of Star Plaza kitchens, eateries and banquet facilities.

Our meal choices for brunch were the Breakfast Boxty, ($8.95) which are essentially potato pancakes, wrapped around scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage and shredded cheese and also topped with Dubliner cream sauce. The dish was also served with breakfast potatoes.

In addition, we tried The Cure, ($9.95) featuring rashers (bacon), bangers (sausage) and breakfast steak topped with mushrooms and onions and also served with fried eggs, potatoes, tomato slices and brown bread.

Both dishes were plentiful choices and were more than enough to enjoy leftovers for dinner that night.

Accompanying the meals were a selection of Irish soda bread and brown bread which are made daily by chef Salazar.

Among other choices on the brunch menu are Irish Skillet ($8.95); Stone Mill Oatmeal ($7.95); Irish Chips and Curry ($5.95); Shrimp and Chips ($9.95); T.J.'s Reuben Rolls ($7.75); Guiness French Onion Soup ($3.95); Lamb Burger ($10.25); and Beef & Bleu Salad ($11.25).

For dessert, ($5.95 each) we enjoyed Strawberry Shortbread and Apple Cake, both satisfying treats.

No one will walk away hungry from T.J.'s brunch. There are plenty of appetizing dishes to devour.

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