WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TASTES OF IRELAND

030216dublinhouse2Bangers and mash, one of the Irish menu options at the Dublin House. The dining room dedicated to T.J. McMahon, seen below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

030216dublinhouse4A midweek lunch meeting at the Dublin House Pub on Monmouth Street in Red Bank presented PieHole with an all-but-empty first-floor dining room — but lots of company in the form of Irish ghosts.

Bits of local and Gaelic history prevail in the renovated 19th-century Victorian house-turned-pub. The T.J. McMahon dining room exudes literary warmth, in the form of antiqued headshots of Yeats, Shaw and more on its brick-red papered walls, as well as  literal warmth from a mantled fireplace.
030216dublinhouse3The Dub’s shepherd’s pie. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Seated in a cozy corner booth with a view of the courtyard out front, and thinking of an Irish proverb — “Laughter is brightest where food is best” — PieHole took a little time before deciding to go for some traditional Irish pub grub from the Dub’s ‘Taste of Ireland’ menu.

A small au gratin-sized casserole of shepherd’s pie and a plate of bangers and mash (each $15) arrived quickly. This tells us that the kitchen, obviously not busy preparing other orders, had these dishes prepped in advance and were not made-to-order.

Chopped meat mixed with onion, bits of carrot and tomato formed the base of a shepherd’s pie, smothered by a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes garnished with melted cheddar cheese. The dish, lighter than one might expect, had a pleasing sweetness to it.

The bangers and mash offered a deep, coffee-colored gravy flecked with plenty of sauteed onions. The bangers, or sausages, perhaps not the traditional Cumberland variety, were mild but tasty nonetheless. An abundance of bland mashed potatoes created a bed for the bangers and a foil for the gravy.

While the dining room is calm and relaxed, the long bar in the adjacent room had most seats filled with a lively lunch crowd as rugby matches played on the TVs.

In warmer months, the fenced-in courtyard is usually busy mid-week and on weekends. The outdoor Temple Bar in the rear of the restaurant also has tables for dining. A boisterous local crowd brings up the noise level, particularly when there is live music featured.

A doozie of an annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration at this bar is almost legendary. Revelers wearing the green pack the inside and outside of the pub starting early in the day.

The Dublin House is open from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily. 

SUSAN-ERICSON

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