BILL OF FARE
A dinner for two at County Cork Irish Pub might look like this:
Guinness draft: $6.00
Smithwick’s draft: $6.00
Guinness Irish stew: $8.89
Corned Beef Reuben: $8.89
WARWICK, R.I. — In the dead of winter, County Cork Irish Pub seems to sit alone there in Brewer Greenwich Bay Marina. The boats are away for the winter, the deck is clear of tables and the fog can settle in thick.
But step through the door and you’ll find a cozy pub with roots that were planted across the pond. Most importantly, the beer is cold, and the beef stew is hearty and delicious.
Cora McAuliffe, an Irish lass, and Patrick Tetreault, a Pawtucket firefighter, celebrate five years of ownership on Friday, St. Patrick’s Day. They’ve done a darn good job bringing a bit of the Irish to Warwick Cove. Tetreault was in the Marine Corps, stationed in Germany, when he met McAuliffe. Lucky for us, he brought her to Rhode Island and made her his wife. She brought her mother’s recipes from County Cork with her.
On a recent Saturday night, the dozen seats at the bar were full, as were three of four tables. Live music was billed for 8 p.m., and I was confused where any musician could possibly find a corner. But I had no problem understanding why this crowd wanted to be there. Drafts of Guinness and Smithwick’s were chilled and perfect.
The menu is full of comfort food, including burgers and sandwiches. Appetizers range from stuffies and calamari to chicken tenders and nachos, and include chowder, chili and salad. The regular menu has but five entrées, only two of which are north of $10: The ribeye with two sides costs $13.99, and fish and chips, made with Guinness batter, is $12.89. There were also specials, including some pasta dishes, which I saw people eating at the bar.
But I was here to enjoy some good Irish food and I was not to be distracted, especially after server Ashley assured me the beef stew was something special. We learned they cure their own beef, so a Corned Beef Reuben was another must-have.
The beef stew was no-nonsense, just the way you want it. It was a huge portion and full of tender beef, potatoes and baby carrots. The sauce was beautifully seasoned. I’d say the dish held more than 2 pints of the stew.
In a phone call after my visit, Tetreault said the stew is made the way the way his wife was taught by her mother. He wasn’t giving away any more than that, except to say his wife makes a lamb stew at home that is among his favorites.
The corned beef was equally excellent, with lots of the meat extending beyond the crust of the rye bread. There was plenty of sauerkraut and dressing, too. It was served with perfectly wonderful hand-cut fries.
Asked about the night’s Italian pasta dishes, Tetreault told me the winter menu is all about comfort food and specials. They let chef Kenneth Heidelberg be creative, he said, because once the warm weather arrives, the pub extends to outdoor seating on the deck and guests eat a lot more sandwiches.
He said the pricing is meant to be affordable for all diners, so that average folks will be able to come for dinner. “Just because we are by the water doesn’t mean we have to jack up prices,” he said.
The menu doesn’t change from lunch to dinner. They do offer a Cork breakfast on Sundays from 9 to noon, with eggs, omelets, pancakes, French toast and corned beef hash. Mimosas are also served.
On St. Patrick’s Day, County Cork Irish Pub will open at 10 a.m. and have a tent on the deck. They’ll serve corned beef sandwiches and Reubens and offer live music all day.
(401) 277-7266 On Twitter: @gailciampa
County Cork Irish Pub, 50 Waterfront Drive, Warwick, (401) 739-1530. countycorkirishpub.com. Parking lot. Reservations. Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday 12:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Closed Tuesday. Serves breakfast on Sunday. Open at 10 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day.