Review: O’Shay’s Pub in South City
4353 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.5232
Medicine for the Irishman’s disease
The Irish Slinger 1 satisfied on a sleepy Sunday morning. A pancake of mashed potatoes gets topped with house-made potato chips that double the dose of taters but add little crunch to the plate. Next comes thinly sliced corned beef that’s been browned until the fat caramelizes and the edges crisp. Two strips of “rashers” (hickory-smoked bacon), sauteed cabbage, horseradish sauce and a fried egg cap things off. The tender cabbage, that creamy yolk and a slathering of piquant horseradish – this dish is clearly designed with the booze-soaked diner in mind.
Bangers and Mash 2 were also well worth the adventure. The kitchen gently cooks the brats in a 50-50 blend of Guinness and Smithwick’s and then grills them to order. Served atop garlicky mashed, skin-on red potatoes and finished with Monterey Jack and cheddar, the sausages were moist, with tight skins and a decent chew. Accompanied by smoky bacon and a refreshing side of steamed peas, they made a lovely lunch that day – and leftovers the next.
Skip the soups and salads
The house salad was a sad mix of pale lettuce, unripe tomatoes and pre-made croutons. Clinch’s Cupboard Stew didn’t fair much better. Although the meat studding the stew was tender and rich, the broth – seemingly made from canned beef stock – was too thin to stand up to the peas, carrots and potatoes floating about.
Plate of gold
A sampling of half-pound burgers touted a trio of patties, each prepared perfectly to temperature. The Shroomy Shamus capitalized on the classic mushroom and Swiss combo but subbed in Monterey Jack for the stronger Swiss. The Kilkenny was interestingly topped with corned beef, caramelized onions and Swiss, but it was the McManus Brothers Burger 3 that stole the show: A topping of salty onion rings and sharp cheddar were a harmonious contrast to the sweet and somewhat spicy barbecue sauce slathered atop the patty.
The leprechaun moves south of the border
Served three to an order, the corned beef tacos 4 were a quirky little bar app that sparked fond memories of “trailer park sushi” for our family, but may not be for everyone. Slices of tender corned beef, Monterey Jack, smoked horseradish sauce and shredded iceberg lettuce were wrapped in cold, soft, flour tortillas. But it was the crisp, clean flavors of the dill pickle tucked inside the tacos that playfully juxtaposed the sour with the salty.
Wash it down with beer
This is an Irish pub; beer rules. Dollar PBRs are among nightly drink specials, but O’Shay’s showcases its own house draft, made by O’Fallon brewery. A lighter ale, this golden brew sparkled with notes of citrus fruit. A slew of suds from O’Fallon and Schlafly are also available on draft, as are Irish beers and a few from our own “local” Belgian brewer.
THE TAKEAWAY: For a bar to go to with friends for games and guzzling, this venue will slate the thirsty Irishman’s desires. And although the food is well prepared with attention to details (ie. poaching the cabbage in a touch of butter, braising the brats in a flavorful blend of Guinness and Smithick’s) if slightly better quality ingredients were used, such as house-made sausages, fresh ground burgers or locally farmed greens, chef-owner Shay Landry’s food would be the main attraction (as opposed to the beer and shuffleboard).
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