My Meal Cost: $20.07 +tip. Health Rating A. Yelp 4 stars
O'Donovan's is an Irish restaurant and pub located on the first floor and basement of the landmark historic Mayfair Hotel. First a disclaimer. I am associated with the building as the historic consultant and have been involved with the restaurant since its inception and know Mark Drury the owner/operator. I just completed a National Register nomination for the building which is currently with the state Office of Historic Preservation and the National Parks Service.
Originally I was reluctant to visit this as one of the sites for this blog and figured that since it has a Third Street address that I could get away with it. But with my deciding that if it's on Garey, it's on Garey despite the address, I was kind of stuck (but in a good way). So having said that I've eaten at this location on many occasions.
The upstairs restaurant is not open on Monday or Wednesday during lunch, so I ended up in the basement pub area. This area is usually very lively and had a few people there at lunch on a Monday at about noon, mostly people sitting at the bar. The atmosphere of the pub is Irish themed with a pool table, TVs behind the bar and in most areas with sports (in this case the Olympics, swimming and water sports), darts, a small semi-private seating area, and a large bar with over 20+ beers on tap.
I arrived and sat at a high bar table with stools and Vanessa the bartender/waitress came to make sure I had a menu and to take a drink order. I'm not really a beer drinker (on a majority of my visits to O'Donovan's I've had wine) but since I had beer last week at Krazy J's I decided it would only be right for me to have one to compare. I asked Vanessa for a recommendation, saying that I liked a somewhat darker beer, but not real dark, something like an amber. She had two suggestions and poured me tastings of the two so that I could choose (thank you). I chose the Red Trolley, red ale, which I found to be refreshing on a warm day.
As some of you may be aware, these blog postings are reposted on the Pomona Proud news site, where, so they tell me, they are very popular. I had a request that since this week's post would be about O'Donovan's, which they had just featured, if they could come by and film me for a feature story on this blog for their site (http://www.pomonaproud.com). I must say that the interview part was OK, but then they wanted to actually film me eating. There is nothing more disconcerting than to be filmed while trying to eat. Above you can see what I was looking at while enjoying my lunch.
The menu at O'Donovan's has evolved since it opened. While they started out with more full dinners such as bangers (Irish sausage) and champ, corned beef and cabbage, and other Irish specialties, it seems that the local market was much more interested in burgers and apps, and it's reflected in the current menu. The bulk of the menu is appetizers/small plates, which are usually a good choice while having a beer (or wine) and includes wings, quesadillas, fries, tacos, and a whole raft of other delectable dishes. The main dinner menu is a little more spartan with four different burgers, other sandwiches, 3 salads, some breakfast dishes (served all day). However, the bar menu is also available in the restaurant as well.
Of a more substantial nature is their fish & chips (which I've had on several occasions and is very good), a couple of pasta dishes, and their shepherd's pie. The pie actually comes in traditional lamb or, if preferred, with Angus beef. I opted for the traditional shepherd's pie which I was assured would go really well with my beer selection.
It was more than I could eat in the one sitting (especially with a camera staring me down), so I ended up taking half of it home in a to-go box. Should make for some good Tuesday lunch!!