REVIEW: Brian Boru – Pricey, Ersatz Irish Pub

IMG_3388Brian Boru Pub is a wanna-be Irish Pub named after a legendary Irish king who ruled Ireland from 1002 – 1014.  Live Irish/Celtic music is featured on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

The pub is located on the first floor of a modern office building on Ritchie Highway (aka MD Rte 2) in Severna Park.   There’s a small covered patio for outdoor dining when the weather cooperates offering a view of the cars parked in front of the pub.

IMG_3389Inside, there a big L-shape bar that appears to be popular with the local.   There are three dining rooms with a mix of booths and tables.  The space is divided up into small spaces in the attempt to give it more the feeling of an old pub that’s been around for awhile (that seems to work best in the bar area).

IMG_3386IMG_3387The menu at Brian Boru includes 10 appetizers ($9 – $12), Soups (Irish Potato & Leek and Irish Tomato with Whiskey – $4 cup, $6 bowl), seven entree salads ($14-$17), ten Irish classic entrees (From $13 for “Cottage Pie” to $17 for Corn Beef & Cabbage) plus a dozen not so Irish entrees ($15 – $23), and a dozen sandwiches ($9 – $13 and include chips and pickle.  Fries available for $1 extra)

 

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Wexford Potato Cake

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The three of us decided to start by sharing an appetizer, Wexford Potato Cakes ($9).   The four “cakes” were each a two inches in diameter and the potato mixture had been breaded and deep fried and served up with a small container of (classic Irish? ) ranch dressing.   The menu noted that the cakes included blue cheese and cheddar cheese plus onions and peppers.   My friends really enjoyed them (though personally at least with the one that I tried, it just seemed like deep fried mashed potato and I didn’t taste much of the cheeses or onions/peppers.   For me – at $9, it seemed seriously overpriced for what was and I wouldn’t order it again.

For our main course, Tom selected the “Dublin Dip” sandwich ($11 plus $1 for fries), Paul ordered the Shepherd Pie ($13) and I decided on the Irish Lamb Stew ($14).

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Dublin Dip

Tom’s Dublin Dip included a hoagie roll with sliced prime rib topped by sauteed onions and provolone cheese with a small cup of “aus jus” for dipping  (For some odd reason, I never associated melted Provolone Cheese with Irish dishes! <Smile>)  Tom thought it was quite good and gave it a “Thumbs Up!”.

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Shepherd’s Pie

Paul’s shepherd pie arrived in a casserole topped with a layer of browned mashed potato over a mix of ground beef, peas, onions and carrots with a slice of “made here” Irish brown bread.   Paul thought it was quite good and polished it all off!

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Irish Lamb Stew

John’s lamb stew arrived in a small bowl topped with a scoop of mashed potato and a slice of the Irish brown bread.  The stew contained a couple of small pieces of lamb along with some carrots and onions in a generous amount of gravy.  John was disappointed with the portion size and the small amount of lamb.

Service was at times good but other times our waiter was difficult to find.

Brian Boru Pub is a good example of where my opinion and the opinion of my friends and dining companions ended up about 180 degrees apart.

Brian Boru struck me as an ersatz Irish pub on the first floor of a modern office building divvied up into way too many dysfunctional, wanna-be cozy spaces.   (The modern window shades hung in the openings between small dining “cubby” spaces were a tad too unauthentic.  In contrast, my too friends thought it was a charming Irish pub space which no doubt explained the crowded bar.   I thought that the menu was pretty pricey, the portions distinctly small for what you paid, and the food was uninspired; my friends thought the prices reasonable and the food tasty and satisfying.   My friend liked the place and the food and would willingly return.   I left thinking that it might be a good place to sip on a draft beer while listening to Irish music on the weekend but wagering that there’s got to be a place offering better food and better value in Severna Park!

 

FACTS:  Brian Boru Pub – Severna Park; 489 Ritchie Highway ; 410-975-2678 ; http://www.brianborupub.com ; Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner; Sunday brunch 10 am – 1 pm; Live music Thurs-Sat evenings; Full Bar; Limited Veggie options; adjacent free parking; Bargain $6 burgers on Mondays; Happy Hour Mon-Fri 2:30 – 6:30 pm

Brian Boru on Urbanspoon

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