Entertainment Magazine: Tucson: Royal Sun Best Western

Irish sessions at the Royal Sun

Live Irish music every Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 9:30 at the Royal Sun Lounge on Stone at Speedway in the Royal Sun Inn. Some of Tucson's best musicians play fiddle, flute, Irish whistle, accordion, banjo, guitar, mandolin and bodhran. Come early for the best (limited) seating!  Good beer, decent eats, NO cover charge! 

By Terri Haag

So my friend Claire and I were looking for somewhere to eat one night and we wandered into the Royal Sun Best Western Motel on Stone just south of Speedway because we saw 3 big billboards advertising home-made comfort food and who doesn't need comfort food? The restaurant wasn't open yet, but the lounge was and they had craft beers and who doesn't need craft beers? We walked in and went, Hmmmm.

Thus fortified with Mudshark's Full Moon Citrus Ale (talk about fortified - at over 8% alcohol this is not for weenies), we corralled the food and beverage manager, Leah Uptain, and asked about relocating our Tuesday Irish Music Session to the Royal Sun Lounge. She was excited, we were excited, and just like that the Tuesday Irish Music Session had a new home. It feels the way a pub with live Irish music is supposed to feel - you'll recognize it even if you've never experienced it before.

The bar is a nice size and the acoustics make our always wonderful Irish music sound even better.  And...I believe I mentioned the craft beers.. there are 6, count 'em 6, craft beers on tap (Borderlands Old Loco IPA, Prescott Liquid Amber, Four Peaks Kiltlifter Scottish Red, Sleepy Dog Hefeweizen, Mudshark Full Moon Belgian Ale, and a whole range of standard and imported bottled beers), plus very generous Happy Hour specials on food and drinks, and really friendly people.

And about that comfort food...

The restaurant looks like any motel restaurant on earth.  Do not be fooled.

Get the roasted garlic and roasted cauliflower soup (sadly only available on Wednesday).  It's hearty, creamy, and loaded with fresh vegs, but not thick or cloying.  There's a subtle under-hit of some nice spice I'm still trying to figure out.

After the cauliflower soup, get the hot grilled chicken salad. Lovely.  Cold fresh spinach, red onions, apples and tomatoes with candied walnuts and hot bacon and hot grilled chicken, under a nice vinaigrette.  Yow.

Then I tried the shrimp carbonara.  This featured linguine pasta in a very rich sauce with bacon, topped with nicely cooked fresh shrimp.  This is a serious dish.  Very rich and a bit heavy.  If you aren't too hungry, share this with someone else, because the first 5 bites will be enough.

Then I had the chicken picata.  Hard to critique because I adore anything with capers.  It was very nice - light, bright, caper-y and fresh.  It was plated with linguine and I could have eaten that all night.

The final entree I sampled was the hand-cut rib-eye. The steak was cooked just right - medium rare - and the Jack Daniels and mushroom topping was light and slightly sweet. It was served with a cheese- and bacon-stuffed baked potato and a grilled zucchini medley, which I wasn't crazy about. I  might have gone with garlic and mustard mashed potatoes instead, but I nit-pick.

To finish I ordered the homemade, hand-ground mesquite bean crust pecan pie.  Tender local pecans, naturally sweet local mesquite-bean flour crust. Molasses.  Yow.  Come for the dinners, come again and again for the pecan pie.

I didn't have the Double-stack Heart Attack Burger featuring one full pound of meat, several slices of bacon and all the trimmings for $12.99 because by then I waddling with food, but I'll get to it sooner than later.

Now I have to go practice some Irish music.

Tucson Entertainment Magazine

2014 EMOL.org / Tucson Entertainment Magazine On Line. All rights reserved.