St. Patrick’s Day is nothing if not steeped in tradition. Parades, live bands playing Irish music, pints of Guinness and a general party atmosphere are just a few of the rituals that return each March. And while some of those traditions (wearing green, drinking green beer, pretending to be Irish etc) may be not exactly the way the true Irish might celebrate back home, the fact remains that they have become a part of the many components that help create the excitement and fun of the American version of the holiday.
Of course you can’t have a traditional St Patrick’s Day without chowing down on classic Irish staples. Or can you? While corned beef and cabbage certainly has its place, the dish can be a bit, shall we say ... predictable? So in keeping with the concept of celebrating a truly American-style version of St Paddy’s Day, we set out to find some spots serving up great Irish-themed dishes – with a twist.
Cattle N Clover: Corned beef and cabbage eggrolls ($10.99)
Cattle N Clover describes itself as “a steakhouse with an Irish soul” which clearly proves that when it comes to Irish hybrids, they have more than cornered the market. This Wildwood favorite officially reopens for the season Friday, March 15, which means that just in time for St. Paddy’s Day you can head in, grab a pint and an order of their corned beef and cabbage egg rolls. That’s right – they take this standard ho-hum St. Patrick’s Day staple and twist it all up into a deliciously tasty and fun app that you’d be a fool not to try. Corned beef and cabbage gets rolled in wontons, deep fried and served over mashed potatoes with a spicy Jameson mustard sauce for dipping. Cattle N Clover is located at 3817 Pacific Ave. in Wildwood. Go to CattleNClover.com.
Fred & Ethel’s: The Governor. ($10)
If you have never seen this bizarre dish it can be tricky to explain. It lives somewhere between a meatloaf and a bread pudding and is absolutely one of the most incredibly delicious items on Fred & Ethel’s menu. Ground beef, bacon, onion, cheddar jack cheese and brioche bread gets baked and served over shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes and topped with a deliciously Irish twist – their homemade Guinness cheese sauce!
The Iron Room: Irish Banger Eggs Benedict. ($14)
Leave it to Iron Room Chef Kevin Cronin to come up with a way to tie a fancy pants dish like eggs Benedict in with an everyman holiday like St. Patrick’s Day. Adding in Irish bangers while swapping out the english muffins for buttered brioche, Cronin finishes off his masterpiece with a Worcestershire Hollandaise and fried breakfast potatoes. The good news is this item will be on the Iron Room’s brunch menu Sunday, March 17. The bad news is that’s the ONLY day it will be served, so you better make your reservations now. The Iron Room is located at 648 N. Albany Ave in Atlantic City. Go to Iron RoomAC.com.
Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall: The Irish hot dog ($8)
The literal new kid on the block, Atlantic City’s Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall has managed to generate some serious culinary buzz since opening last November thanks to the imaginative creations of Chef Charles Soreth. For St. Patrick’s Day, they have added an Irish Hot dog to their menu that we can’t wait to try. Their standard jumbo hot dog gets topped with corned beef, sauerkraut and spicy mustard and served on a buttered and grilled split-top bun. This limited time treat will surely make you want to kiss the blarney stone after one bite. Grab one this weekend. Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall is located at 133 S. Tennessee Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to TennesseeAvenueBeerHall.com.
Doyle’s Pour House: Irish Nachos ($7.25)
A classic local roadhouse, Doyle’s Pour House has a well worn, yet welcoming vibe that makes it a go-to spot for folks from all walks of life. Its variety of draught beers means this spot is a a no brainer for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration as does their Irish take on a classic Mexican appetizer. The Irish nachos sub in crispy fried potato pancakes in place of tortilla chips and keep the party going with melted cheese, bacon and sour cream. Warning: a plate of these will be cleared in seconds by any group of hungry partiers. Best to order two! Doyle’s Pour House is located at 210 W. Main St. in Tuckerton. Go to DoylesPourHouse.com.
Delaney’s Irish Pub & Grill: Irish Meatloaf, $16.99
Located smack in the middle of Cape May’s Washington Street Mall is Delaney’s Irish Pub. Delaney’s is an obvious choice if you are looking for a place to pretend to be Irish for the day, as it offers a variety of Irish dishes and draught beers too. But for an old school dish with a bit of emerald isle flair you can’t go wrong with the Irish meatloaf. Topped with a savory sherry cabbage chive cream sauce, this meatloaf just might inspire you to stand up and do a little jig for the crowd. Or maybe not. Ok, definitely not, nobody would actually do that. Delaney’s is located at 400 Washington Street in Cape May. Go to DelaneysCapeMay.com.
Old Oar House: Guinness sliders ($12)
A wonderful, cozy Irish pub right in the heart of downtown Millville, the Old Oar House is the perfect spot for a St. Paddy’s Day celebration with their massive wall of beer taps and menu of pub grub favorites. Those looking to keep the Irish theme running throughout their meal can order up the Guinness sliders, which boost up your traditional pub slider with cheddar, bacon, sautéed onions and a Guinness based glaze which perfectly complements the pint in your hand. The Old Oar House is located at 123 N. High St. in Millville. Go to OldOarHouse.com.
Ri Ra: Burren grilled cheese ($12)
Despite being located in a casino, Ri Ra has somehow managed to recreate an authentic Irish pub feel throughout its walls thanks to some incredible attention to detail. A grilled cheese sandwich may clearly fall in the category of “American classic,” but the Burren grilled cheese at Ri Ra does an impressive job of channeling the spirit of Dublin by adding an Irish rasher to the sourdough-based party, which works perfectly alongside a roasted tomato and the melty goodness of both cheddar and Gruyere cheeses. Ri Ra is located at Tropicana Atlantic City, 2831 Boardwalk in Atlantic City.
Josie Kelly’s Public House: Irish Cobb Salad ($11)
Looking to add something that at least feels like it could be a bit healthy? Josie Kelly’s Public House offers a deliciously Celtic take on the classic cob salad. Their Irish Cobb salad features mixed leaves, romaine, avocado and tomato alongside hard boiled egg, grilled chicken and an Irish rasher. All ingredients come lined up in neat rows and topped with a mustard vinaigrette. A pleasant way to start a pleasant day. Josie Kelly’s Public House is located at 908 Shore Rd. in Somers Point. Go to Facebook.com for more info.