It's St. Patrick's Day tomorrow! Green beer and corned beef and cabbage are fine options, but if you're in the mood for something a little more authentically Irish, try some of the pubs in Sunnyside, which has one of the most robust Irish populations in Queens. These spots know how to pour a proper pint of Guinness and serve up great pub food with an Irish accent and a warm welcome.
Bliss Street Station Restaurant, a nice, dark pub and restaurant on Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside, is as old school as they come. I got a Shepherd's Pie and a glass of cider and felt completely at home. The ground beef (yes, beef, not lamb) with carrots and peas was was almost too salty from the brown gravy, but the plain smashed potatoes (pure potato, no noticeable addition of butter or cream) balanced the dish out. Maybe not the best version of the dish in Sunnyside, but a warm place that's fun to visit, nonetheless.
Ham & Leek Pie
The Dog & Duck, a Sunnyside gastropub that's nearly six months old, is a few blocks off of Queens Boulevard, which makes for a nice walk on a Spring day. I tried the Ham and Leek Pie, accompanied by french fries ($11.00). It was heavy, creamy, and ultra-rich—and it was great. The thick cream sauce, perfectly seasoned, blanketed chunks of pink ham and leeks, and came topped with a thin, two-layered crust. The upper layer was crunchy and dark; the bottom layer, softened by the filling, had a slight chew. You can dip the crisp fries in standard ketchup or malt vinegar, but try them in the pie filling for extra flavor.
Fish & Chips
I tried two dishes at Molly Bloom's, another newish spot in Sunnyside. The Battered Cod and Chips ($12.00) were a strong rendition: flaky cod in a light batter, served with a creamy tartar sauce, bright green not-too-mushy peas, and crisp steak fries with malt vinegar.
You may not think of chicken curry as traditional Irish food, but it's an increasingly popular option in UK bars. The Chicken Curry ($11.00) at Molly Bloom's, which can be served with rice and fries, is exactly what you want curry at an Irish pub to be. A brown gravy neither too spicy nor too mild, surrounds chunks of fresh chicken, slices of sautéed red onion, and pieces of pineapple, soft and sweet. The rice and crisp fries sop up the extra sauce.
More Irish Classics
For more Irish classics, be sure to visit PJ Horgan's, one of my favorite pubs in Sunnyside. You can see some of their best Irish dishes on last year's St. Paddy's day post right here.
There are many, many more places to explore in Sunnyside, and I'm just scratching the surface with these spots. Where are your favorite places to grab a pint in the neighborhood?
Bliss Street Station 4702 Greenpoint Avenue, Sunnyside, NY (map) 718-729-2547
The Dog & Duck 45-20 Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside, NY (map) 718-406-9048
PJ Horgan Tavern 42-17 Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside, NY (map) 718-361-9680