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 not be 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.
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. ($15)
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 IronRoomAC.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.
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. Go to RiRa.com
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 cobb salad. Their Irish Cobb 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 Road in Somers Point. Go to Facebook.com for more info.
Huge turnout for the Atlantic City St. Patty's Day Parade in A.C.
Atlantic City Boardwalk St. Patty's Day Parade Photo: Tom Briglia/PhotoGraphics