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The Dubliner Is Reborn

Irish gastro pub comes to National Avenue

May. 11, 2010
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Many locals will remember The Dubliner, a popular spot to grab a pint of Guinness and take in some live Irish music in Walker’s Point during the 1990s. It has been closed for many years, but the name was recently revived at a location about a block away from the original.

Owner Jerry Stenstrup, who also runs Steny’s just across the street, extensively renovated the building. The fieldstone exterior matches the indoor fireplace. The interior remains a tad plain, though a large mural of Irish scenery adorns one wall. An outdoor terrace is ready for summertime customers.

The Dubliner bills itself as a “gastro pub,” which implies a heavy focus on the food—and, indeed, most of the early customers are clearly here to dine. The menu is not far from that of a true Irish pub. Yes, chicken curry qualifies, though corned beef is scarcely found on menus in the Emerald Isle. This menu has everything from Irish stew to salads, pub (small) plates, sandwiches and entrees. In general the fare is homey, not gastro-pretentious.

All right, the Dubliner crab cakes ($12) do have touches of gastro. Instead of breading, lump blue crab meat is combined with a mousse of shrimp and scallop. The resulting cakes are feathery in texture and all of the combined flavors shine. The cakes, which are just fine without the tomato coulis, arrive with some mashed potatoes and wilted spinach. Another pub plate offers Gallaway Bay mussels ($9). Presumably this alludes to Galway Bay on Ireland’s west coast, though either way they are delicious. The dish arrives as a big bowl of blue mussels in assorted sizes, with leeks and red potatoes in a Guinness broth. The slightly tart broth is especially good with the potatoes. With a taste this good, the broth merits more than the one small roll that comes with this serving.

The entrees stay true to The Dubliner’s Irish theme, except for the corned beef ($14) that is served in thick, lean slices. Other items include shepherd’s pie, lamb shank, salmon and filet mignon. Walleye pike ($18) includes three filets, lightly breaded with a hint of horseradish, that are pan-fried—crisp and delicious, if a bit pricey. A cream sauce with flecks of parsley tops the filets. The plate also includes mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley of leeks and carrots. Some will prefer the sauce served on the side, as it competes with the crispness of the horseradish crust.

Curiously, Irish stew is not an entrée; however, a beef and lamb version in a Guinness broth with the usual root veggies is offered as a starter course ($4.50-$5.50). There also is country leek and potato soup ($3.50-$4.50), a sound cream soup with a few herbs. Consider ordering a house salad ($3.50) with an entrée or pub plate. The leaf lettuce with tomato, onion and cucumber is very fresh, plus there is a wedge of hard-boiled egg and tasty garlic croutons. The dressings are above the norm, especially the house tomato vinaigrette. Weekends offer Irish breakfasts and a special lunch menu.

The Dubliner still feels very new. Pubs should have more of a timeworn feel, and this building will age well with time. For now, this is still a nice setting. In addition, the service is friendly and the menu is thoughtful—not to mention the decent international beer list. This should prove to be a good home for the rebirth of the Dubliner.

The Dubliner

124 W. National Ave.

(414) 763-0301


Credit Cards: VS, MC


Handicap Access: Yes


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