Boiled meat isn't necessarily our favorite choice for dinner, but when it's St. Patrick's Day, we just can't get past our craving for corned beef and cabbage. The meat is usually a brisket that's been salt-cured, giving it a briny flavor that is perfectly accented by cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. In America, the dish has become the tourist trap of Irish food, a symbol of Ireland that's rarely eaten by Irish people. But that's OK. We're not looking for authenticity on St. Patty's, we're looking for green beer and good times, and a big plate of hearty pub food to help keep us upright as the parade rolls by.
O'Malley's on Upper King Street is showing their Irish heritage by offering all the classics: fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, Irish lamb stew, Dublin burgers, and shepherd's pie, a dish that basically takes meat and tops it with mashed potatoes (can't get heartier than that). Wash it down with a couple of Irish car bombs and you'll be set for the day.
Tommy Condon's just off the Market downtown will be serving its first ever traditional Irish breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. with corned beef hash, a meaty favorite that mixes shredded corned beef up with potatoes. It's pretty great with runny eggs on top. "We have a variety of breakfast choices, all for $9.99," says director of operations Richard Coleman. They'll also have drink specials for the rest of the day including $3 Yuengling and Miller High Life and $4.50 Guinness with live music all day and night. In the meantime, you should stop by and check out Chef Todd Garrigan's new menu. He's curing and roasting meats in-house and making everything from scratch these days, which should go a long way toward making the bland Irish food we're used to so much more interesting.
The Griffon near Waterfront Park will open at 11 a.m. on Thursday so you can get some corned beef and cabbage with steamed potatoes for about $8. To complement the corned beef they'll have $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life. Not very Irish, but then, neither is corned beef. So who cares, right?
Over on Daniel Island, there will be a traditional Irish breakfast offered all day on Thursday at Dublin Down. They'll have bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes), scrambled eggs, corned beef hash, and bacon. All of these are included in the $13 price. Don't feel up for a full breakfast? Grab some fresh cut corned beef and hot pretzels to hold you over. All of these are great ways to get ready for their big block party with giveaways, a beer truck, and an Irish car bomb tent. At 5 p.m., check out the Great Guinness Pour.
In Mt. Pleasant, Mike Calder's Buffalo Pub will be keeping it classic with a big platter of corned beef and cabbage with soda bread for $12 as well as shepherd's pie, green beer, and lots of beer specials.
Madra Rua is having a St. Patty's Day Block Party and Parade on Sat. March 12, but they always have corned beef and cabbage on the menu. They also have fishermen's stew, shepherd's pie, and the best fish and chips in town.
On James Island (and Mt. Pleasant), O'Brion's Pub has plenty of menu items to satisfy your Irish cravings, including corned beef and cabbage and pot roast fit for a king.