Restaurant Review: Mac’s Proper Pub
Mac’s has stood for a long time in the Short North. And while stalwarts such as Rigsby’s and Betty’s have moved on in recent years, Mac’s remains. In fact, it’s dug in deep, as the business recently completed a renovation project that updated its interior. In recent weeks, the city has launched exterior renovations projects, barricading off its sidewalk, and creating a little adventure maze for those who might like to try out its wares.
The new insides aren’t flashy. The brick walls remain, there’s a neutral palate on a long skinny space with a longer-than-ever bar. While some might complain that Mac’s has lost its aging character, the new gentrified Short North will embrace the recent changes. In any case, the basic bones are much the same.
Also of importance: the Scotch Eggs remain.
There are not many places in Columbus to score Scotch Eggs ($11.95). Of course, it makes sense that there aren’t many Scotch eggs in Columbus, there aren’t many Scottish restaurants in general around here. But, the eggs have been a fixture on Mac’s menu as long as memory, and honestly, you’d think something as perfect as a boiled egg wrapped in sausage would catch on like chicken wings or mini-hamburgers. No such luck.
So, an order at Mac’s yields not one, but two, Scotch Eggs, served halved so diners can admire the engineering and color contrasts in the appetizer. It’s not as fatty as you might expect, given that the dish is fried. Under a barely-there breading sits the sausage mix that envelopes a boiled-egg-baby inside. The dish comes across exactly how you want it to: sturdy and savory. The eggs are served with a thick sage sauce which is worth occasional dips, and some sliced tomatoes for garnish.
There’s more to Mac’s than the eggs, though. You can go off-theme and get smothered Mac’s Loaded Tots ($9.95) as an appetizer too. The crisp tater tots are bound together with copious quantities of melted cheese and spiked with bits of scallions and bacon. Generosity in the toppings is key to success here, and the kitchen crew delivers.
Back to theme dining: in the entrees, the Steak Pie ($16.95) is served in a skillet. It’s finished with a hot-oven char that might make it appear burned, but comes across more as “toasty.” Inside the crusty shell, there’s a lush landscape steeped in tender chunks of beef. It’s hard to emphasize enough that the quantity of quality fillings is significant. There will be meat in every bite, along with peas, carrots, parsnips and occasionally a teeny crescent of celery. A thick gravy ties the mix together.
Burgers are requirements at restaurants, and the House Burger ($9.95) is adequate and thick as modern standards require. Skip the tomato on principle, as it seemed like the hot-house variety during a summer visit.
For the non-meat crew, the menu offers a grilled cheese sandwich and a small array of salads. The House Salad ($8.95) spikes its veggies with bacon, feta and vinaigrette. The tender greens feel positively virtuous in the heady, meaty, starchy menu mix.
Booze-wise, the bar is set against a backdrop of nicely organized options under headings such as “Whiskey,” “Scotch” and “Beer.” The house stocks wines and all the other requisite drinkables, too. Happy hour runs Monday through Thursday and features deals on a range of items from specialty cocktails to appetizers.
You can find it at 693 N. High St.
For more information, visit macsproperpub.com.