On January 25 (and thenabouts), folks of Scottish descent celebrate the birth of the poet Robert Burns, most notoriously by paying homage to haggis — sheep's offal minced with oats and the barest of spicing. In the entrée below (special; $15), which included the traditional accompaniments of neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes), the brown scoops of haggis were softer than I expected; chopped liver came to mind. Other specials at our table: a steak pie with the crust laid on top like an unhinged door ($15) and a shepherd's pie (not shown; $15).
Though Kearny and nearby northern New Jersey are still home to a fair number of folks who claim Scottish descent, in truth, fish and chips was the most common entrée at other tables. I haven't tried the Argyle's fish, but based on the scotch eggs, the fry cook certainly knows his business. (The $8.75 lunch special is shown below; the closeup is from a pre-haggis appetizer we couldn't resist.) This iconic cholesterol bomb consists of a hardboiled egg coated with flavorful sausage meat, rolled in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried; I like to pour on HP sauce, a thick, brown malt-vinegar-based concoction with notes of molasses and maybe tamarind. As for those chips, they were golden, crisp, excellent.
The whiskey cake (another Robbie Burns special; not shown; $7.50) was the best I've tried; the whiskey flavor was notable but not pushy, and exceptionally well integrated into the cake, our table agreed. From the standard dessert menu, the cloutie dumpling ($5) drowned a suet-based, raisin-studded cake in a pool of custard.
212 Kearny Ave., Kearny, New Jersey