Salem Food Digest - O’Neill’s Irish Pub - Shepherd’s Pie, Extreme Burgers, Irish Curry, and Weekend Balladeers

O’Neill’s Irish Pub - Shepherd’s Pie, Extreme Burgers, Irish Curry, and  Weekend Balladeers

By The BaldOne

We all, over time come to a decision as to how we feel about a place. Reputations, deserved and undeserved develop. Once that happens it can be difficult for a business to recover.

Recently I had heard through the local rumor mill that there there had been a change in attitude, if not latitude at this well known Irish eatery and watering hole. The local characters spoke of a new manager, a new menu, and stressed that it was still the place to go if a lilt or a ballad was something that you desired to hear.

So I decided to go in search of some traditional Irish music and a little something to sooth my appetite.

There band was warming up as I entered and most of the seats at the long bar were taken. I selected one closer to the door and ordered a Pabst Blue Ribbon and a menu. I like my PBR, but only cold and on tap. It is an old school no-frills American lager with a slight sweetness and a moderate hops accented finish (how’s that for some beer snobbery?).

The new menu still features a few of the old reliables. Shepherds Pie, Curried Fries, Quesadilla, Fish & Chips, and the Steak Tips are all there. A few of the new appetizer type items caught our attention. Mac & Cheese or Shepherd’s Pie Rangoons jumped out right away, to say nothing of the bacon cheeseburger bites.

Since I was looking for something photogenic, the Extreme Burger medium-rare was the call. It came with a quite large patty, pulled pork, bacon, lots of cheese, an egg, lettuce, tomato, jalapeños, and a stack of onion rings on the top, slathered in a spicy mayo. The whole thing came skewered on a steak knife.

This was a burger. A young lady a few seats down advised me to crush it flat and attack it like a normal everyday burger. That would have been a sloppy move. Being a gentleman with a modicum of dignity I did not consider that option. After all, I have a reputation to consider.

Deconstruction seemed the best move and that is what I did. Using a fork and the provided steak knife I removed the top piece of the egg washed bun and and began to eat this creation in layers. I was very happy to discover that despite the thickness the kitchen knew how to cook a burger medium-rare. That can sometimes be a problem in this modern world of ingestion provoked litigation.

I managed, with the assistance of one more PBR to finish this extreme creation. All that was left was the bottom bun, I’ve got to watch those carbs you know. It was properly cooked, assembled well, served with a smile, and well worth the time and money invested. The steak fries were slightly over cooked which is my preference.

They also pleased in the mustard category. I like my mustard brown and spicy. The creamy dijons and such will serve in a pinch, but the Gulden’s Spicy Brown hit the spot. The various yellow creations out there are best left to the uncultured.

So, a decent and affordable beer, a good and exceedingly large burger, and some nice traditional Irish music played by some local yokels. I may not have climbed off of my stool and step danced across the floor, but I did enjoy my visit.

So in closing I will say to Dana, the young and energetic manager, keep up the good work.

The Salem Food Digest declares O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Restaurant the “Best Place That You Haven’t Visited Lately.”

Drop in and check it out yourself, after all I’m the only one who believes that I know what I’m talking about.

O'Neills of Salem

120 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970-3545
(978) 740-8811