Let's say you feel like going to an Irish pub, having a decent dinner, and watching Premier League football. So, you get on a plane with 17 of your best friends and fly to Prague.
Happens every day.
Let's say you then go to Rocky O'Reilly's, billed as Prague's biggest Irish pub. If you do, odds are you won't run into me. I'm not there when football is on. Too crowded. But if there are no major sporting events going down, there's a chance you just might see me with a steak sandwich in my hand.G and I went the other day for dinner. The restaurant is divided in two. On one side, there is a smaller, separate bar and dining area. Next door, there is a space with a much larger room in the back. We scored a table in the small front room by the wood fire, which is not so easy during the winter.
As Prague pub food goes, Rocky's is on the pricey side, but pretty good. Then again, I haven't tried a lot of the menu. That's because I almost always get the steak sandwich. It costs 245 CZK, but the online menu is way out of date and says it is only 175 CZK.
If I feel like a big change, like getting a bit wild, I get the Fillet Steak. It's not that I don't like variety. Obviously, I eat all kinds of different food. It's just that I like Rocky's steak and steak sandwich so much.
The waitress came by. Male customers seem to like their uniforms -- micro-miniskirts, and tight white T-shirts with silk-screened hand prints over the breasts. Prague's version of Hooters. I haven't taken a survey, but some female customers may have a less enthusiastic response.
We ordered. G went for the steak sandwich. I got the Fillet Steak. When the food came, I waxed fanatic on the virtues of the sandwich sitting on G's plate.
"This is one of my favorite steak sandwiches of all time. First, the bread is great. I've never seen bread like this for sale anywhere else in Prague -- a long roll with a crunchy crust and a soft interior. Notice all the melted garlic butter on the inside."
"I noticed," G said.
"The slices of steak are thick and tender. Easy to take a bite out of without it pulling out of the bread. And the sautéed red onion and mushrooms. Simple and perfect. But you know what else I like?"
"I like cheese on a steak sandwich."
"Most people do. But I think most steak sandwiches drown in cheese. It covers up the other flavors and generally makes a mess. For me, this is just right. Maybe I'll throw a little Heinz Soja on the top, teriyaki style."
I wrap up my riff on the steak sandwich. G is a good friend. He lets me talk it out.
The Fillet Steak is good, but you might consider it expensive at 395 CZK, considering the surroundings. The out-of-date online menu currently says it is 375 CZK.
The first time I had it, I remember being very impressed. The next couple of times, it was still very nice, but not as good as my first memory. It is very tender and comes in a buttery brown pool of gravy, I think from the pan. I will go back to the steak sandwich next time.
We shared an order of onion rings. These are good -- big, thick crunchy rings. G said he'd had better in the USA. Prague is not a big onion ring town in the first place. If you want some, Rocky's has the best.
They have two 10-degree beers, Gambrinus (28 CZK/.5l) and Budvar (45 CZK/.5l). I suppose I can understand why they don't sell the stronger Pilsner Urquell. They might have more of a crowd control problem on football nights. There is also Guinness (85 CZK/.4l), Strongbow Cider (85 CZK/.4). And there is Heineken (85 CZK/.5l), but I'm having a hard time imagining who would come to Prague and order that.
The menu includes dishes like Irish Stew, Cottage Pie, Fish and Chips, Chili con Carne, and a Beef Burrito. Rocky's also serve a few Irish-style breakfast dishes until noon. The prices may be aimed at tourists, but they do get quite a few Czechs in there, too.
If you go, there is also a good chance you'll see the barrel-chested proprietor of Rocky's, Robbie Norton, standing out front. I've never met him, but it is obvious he knows that taking care of his customers, many of whom are tourists, is a good business move.
On the wall, there is a list of 10 warnings to be heeded by visitors to Prague. They include such useful advice as don't change money on the street, watch out for dodgy taxi drivers, beware of pickpockets, and buy and stamp your tickets on public transportation. Seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people would have benefited from reading this list right after their arrival in town. You can find the list of warnings in full on Rocky's website.
This list is only missing one important warning: If you don't order the steak sandwich, you'll be sorry.