By Tracy Arnold
Prior to this last Wednesday, the only reason I had ever visited de Vere’s Irish Pub was for the occasional pint of Guinness. If you are like me, I challenge you to change your perspective and discover the food behind the drink. De Vere’s not only offers the largest whiskey collection in Sacramento, it offers a full restaurant menu including weekday happy hours, daily lunch and dinner and even a weekend brunch menu (that I notice includes a bacon waffle – with chopped bacon in the waffle batter – intriguing!).
For those of you who have never visited de Vere’s, it is a traditional Irish pub – loud atmosphere, table tucked in nooks, two large bars and an outside patio. It is a great place for happy hour after a long day or participate in a weekly trivia night contest. However, I discovered they should also be on one’s list of dinner destinations.
de Vere’s Dine Downtown menu offers a three course dinner comprised of either beet salad or soup of the day (we had Irish Wedding soup, YUM!), followed by a second course of either braised lamb shoulder stew or lemon Dijon chicken, and the dessert course choices include Bailey’s cheesecake or crispy bread pudding served with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries.
The beet salad, is a mache lettuce salad with both golden and red beets and herbed goat cheese. The Irish wedding soup was my favorite choice in this course, best description is a home-made chicken sausage and noodle soup with kale and beans – exactly what this January weather calls for. The lamb dish was served like a stew with barley, fresh carrots and a mint salsa that made the entire dish pop. The chicken is a de Vere’s favorite, roasted chicken and red seasoned potatoes served with cabbage – after all what is an Irish meal without cabbage?
For dessert, the crispy bread pudding alone is worth trying out de Vere’s Dine Downtown menu. It is one of those dishes that will soon be featured on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate - it is a cross between French toast and a churro, deep fried goodness rolled in sugar and cinnamon served with ice cream, fresh raspberries and blueberries topped with caramel – it cannot get any better!
While there, I also learned that de Vere’s just added to their regular menu a fully loaded (with peas and bacon) mac and cheese that has the potential to surpass Esquire Grill’s as the best mac and cheese in town. It offers whiskey pairing dinners to members of the de Vere’s Whiskey Society, and in addition to hosting the city’s biggest St. Patrick’s day celebration, de Vere’s hosts Sacramento’s annual St. Baldrick’s shaving day to raise money for childhood cancer research.