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Dining Out: Tilted Kilt brings good food and brews for those mad about plaid to Annapolis

At Tilted Kilt in Annapolis, servers are dressed to kilt. See the photo gallery and the video.

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that's not the always the case. The Tilted Kilt, a Celtic-themed sports bar that originated at the Del Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, has gone into franchise mode.

And now, what happens in Vegas is happening in Annapolis at the Westfield Mall.

The concept behind the restaurant is one that has been done before, most notably by Hooters: man-heavy pub fare, a large beer menu, walls of television and monitors streaming sports and scantily clad young female servers endowed with big smiles and other attractive features. It's that last element that gets the attention — and customer base — at these "breastaurants" as they are known in the industry.

The Tilted Kilt adds its own spin to the trope by branding itself as a "Irish/English/Scottish bar with an American twist." The twist can be seen in the uniform of the female servers — best described as a cross between a bagpiper outfit and a bikini — and also in peppering the menu with traditional American fare like burgers and Mexican food.

Having never patronized an establishment like this, I asked my husband and another couple to accompany me. The friendly greeting of our hostess immediately put me at ease. We were shown into the main part of the restaurant, a huge space whose centerpiece is a massive wooden bar that snakes around the room. It's hard to believe the room was formerly a Hudson Trail Outfitters store.

The one thing you can't miss here are the television monitors — literally acres of monitors displayed on every wall.

"We have more monitors than any other sports clubs," I was told.

And I believe them. I usually avoid any restaurant with televisions, but because there were no games scheduled, the sound was off and I wasn't all that bothered by them. But perhaps that was because there was so much else going on in the place, what with the kilts, plaid bra tops and all.

Our server, Clare, a sweet lass, was quite knowledgeable about the menu. We passed on the Scotch Eggs and Irish Nachos and started with the Highland Sampler Platter ($12), a generous plate of boneless wings, fried pickles, pub pretzel and mozzarella cheese sticks. The winner here was the garlic Parmesan sauce for the wings (more about them later) and the pretzels, which were soft and warm with a good mustard sauce.

The menu is loaded with options from Tacos and Sandwiches to "Big Arse" Burgers, a half-pound of "high quality ground beef" available with a variety of toppings. For the most part, the food offerings are what I call "guy food," heavy with cheese, sauces and meat, although salads and fish are available.

Surprisingly, there are quite a few interesting selections in the entree section. Mediterranean Salmon ($16) was plated beautifully and perfectly cooked. Served over a bed of baby spinach and topped with roasted peppers, onions and olives laced with a light cream sauce, it was a dish that could have been at home at a white table restaurant.

One Shot Johnny's Shepherd's Pie ($13) blended seasoned meat with a delightful mushroom gravy and Parmesan mashed potatoes The diner who ordered the dish thought it was one of the best Shepherd's Pies he'd ever had.

But the Grilled Chicken Quesadilla ($11), an appetizer ordered as an entree, was greasy and tasteless. I tried hacking through it, but sent it back to the kitchen after couple of bites. To the credit of the restaurant, a manager appeared soon afterwords asking if I would like another plate of it or perhaps something else on the menu. I declined, but was impressed by the effort to get it right.

After sampling the World Famous Boneless Wings on the Highland Platter, one diner decided to order a full platter ($11) which came with fries. Basically, like most "boneless" wings they were wing-shaped chicken tenders, but with a nice crunch. The spiral-cut Sidewinder fries ($1.50 extra), were good, but not worth the raves our server gave them.

The Kilt's slogan is "A Cold Beer Never Looked So Good." It's true that the beer menu is extensive. It's also true that no prices are listed. The gentlemen in our party held a lengthy discussion with our server about the various brews, but never thought to ask the cost of any of them. It was amazing to see the effect a good-looking girl, I mean, beer, could have on a male patron. The hand-poured Guinness ($8) and a Sam Adams draft ($7.25) were served cold in a full pint glass and enjoyed enough for a second round.

Yes, The Tilted Kilt is a concept restaurant whose appeal might be limited. But the pub food is solid, the beers cold (if costly) and the service friendly. It's a great place to watch sporting events. And as one of the husbands at our table noted, it's the perfect place to wait while the wife is shopping at the mall. Now that's a great concept.

The Tilted Kilt

WHERE:1079 Annapolis Mall, Annapolis, MD 21401 (Food Court entrance)

PHONE: (443) 949-8880


HOURS: Sunday — Thurs: 11a.m. to12 a.m., Friday — Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

STARTERS: $4 — $12

MAIN COURSES: $12 — $26

RESERVATIONS: Yes (Not on weekends)

CREDIT CARDS: All major cards accepted


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