Restaurant Review: Pub Mahone Downtown
Pub Mahone doesn’t scream Ireland at you. Inside the doors, at eye-level and at first glance, there are no obvious lucky charms, no clovers. Rather than something like Dropkick Murphys, the ambient background music might feature classic seventies rock. But look up, and there are lots of iconic flags fastened to the ceiling, along with fonts, knots and props that suggest a Celtic angle. Indeed, as its name hints, Pub Mahone is an Irish pub, replacing a fast-casual Cajun joint on Gay street with a full-service bar and restaurant that serves lunch and dinner daily.
As required of an Irish pub, Pub Mahone has plenty of iconic Irish edibles on the menu. So, if you haven’t figured out its angle when you walk through the doors, you’ll surely know the score once you sit at the table and look over the eating options.
To the point, Corned Beef and Cabbage ($14) (pictured up top), an Irish staple, is quite good. Rather than slices, the soft pink beef is cut in chips and shards and served with equally soft cabbage and a puddle of comforting mashed potatoes. With a plain color palate of red and white, the combo’s not fancy or pretty, but the cured meat has the appropriate brine, with a detectable saltiness at the optimal level that adds interest without leaving you hopelessly thirsty.
Although the Cottage Pie ($12) was not a personal favorite, a table guest with a hardcore affinity for comfort foods defended it enthusiastically. Under a swirling layer of piped soft potatoes is a wonderland of soft peas and carrots mixed with loose ground beef. The vegetable population is dense enough to ensure balance in every bite. All-in, the dish is homespun and quite plain, by design . . . so it’s best for those with palates that run firmly in that direction.
Corned beef options return a few times on the menu in other configurations. It’s also offered in two sandwiches, a Reuben and a Boxty ($10). For now, the Boxty was a one-and-done item. While its corned beef and cabbage foundation was an asset, the duo is paired as a sandwich inside two hash brown fritters. The fritters were heavier and oilier than what is typically palatable. Reuben next time.
For those who seek something less iconically Irish, there are plenty of other options on the menu. Sweet potato fries are a competent starter ($5). Said to be hand-cut, they’re an appropriate mix of salty and sweet, crunchy and soft and served with a dipping sauce. At the other end of the spectrum, there are salads. The Caesar ($7) is respectable, built on romaine with parmesan, it’s fairly classical, save for its tomato slices. Maybe it’s an Irish thing.
Drinks wise, the full bar features a solid array of draft beers that boast Irish roots (Harp, Magner’s Irish Cider), as well as items for locaphiles (CBC, and however you categorize Brewdog right now). Happy hour specials at the bar run from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays.
You can find Pub Mahone at 31 E. Gay St. It’s open daily at 11 a.m.
For more information, vist pubmahone.com.