Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patty's Day

If, like most of America, you went out for a pint (or two) with friends to celebrate St. Patty's Day, I hope you found a bar that serves some decent pub fare in addition to a properly poured Guinness. Some will argue that a good beer is a meal in a glass, but Guinness has fewer calories and alcohol than most domestic beers. So corned beef and cabbage might be just the thing to pair with your drink. Or in my case, a well-crafted Reuben.

As usual, we ended up at Donnelly's Irish Pub. I never quite understood the draw - Donnelly's is a classic Irish pub - they serve freshly popped popcorn and have a pretty traditional menu. Then I tried the Reuben. Oh. Dear. God. Donnelly's makes its own slow-cooked corn beef brisket, which is sliced to order. The sandwich is served with swiss cheese and kraut on freshly toasted rye bread. They give you a small container of 1000 Island dressing for dipping or spreading. The whole shebang is served with fries and a crisp pickle.

I often think that the sign of a good sandwich is that the pickle is nice, cool and crisp. True to this benchmark, the Donnelly's Reuben is truly amazing. I pretty much inhaled the whole thing before getting halfway through my Guinness. The meat was flavorful and juicy, the kraut and swiss went perfectly with the slightly salty meat, and the rye gave it just the right amount of crunch.

There are other tempting items on the menu. The fish & chips are quite good, as are the chicken strips. The beef stew served over mashed potatoes looks heavenly. Of course, every time I go there I will have a hard time not ordering the best Reuben I have ever had. With a good beer to wash it all down, how can you go wrong?

Happy St. Patty's Day!


p.s. Donnelly's also has a fairly extensive whiskey menu, from a cheap Jameson to a 30 yr Glenfiddich.

Donnelly's Pub
110 College Street
Iowa City, IA 52240
(319) 338-7355

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