8 Irish restaurants for St. Patrick's Day

A full Irish breakfast is served at Paddy's

A full Irish breakfast is served at Paddy's Loft in Massapequa. (March 3, 2010) (Credit: Photo by Timothy Fadek)

   At Irish dining spots across Long Island, the jig is just beginning. As St. Patrick's Day approaches, plans are in the works for menus that combine favorite Irish comfort classics with a few stepped-up variations — even corned- beef-and-cabbage egg rolls grace many a menu.

   What Irish revelers seem to want more than anything this time of year is an authentic taste of the food their mothers and grandmothers knew. The beer is flowing, the music is playing and the menus can satisfy a yen for fish-and-chips, lamb stew or shepherd’s pie at any of these eight restaurants:

Meehan's of Huntington, 371 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-351-0831, meehansrestaurant.com

At this spacious pub, the crew is friendly, the kitchen adept. Classics include crunchy Guinness-battered shrimp, shepherd's pie and a delectable Irish stew with beef, lamb, carrots and potatoes. Corned beef and cabbage with boiled potatoes is simple, fresh, perfect.

St. Patrick's Day plans: Limited a la carte menu of the Irish specialties listed above plus turkey potpie and bangers and mash. Evening entertainment: Irish step dancers and face painting for kids.

COST $$ (average meal about $30 per person)

Irish Coffee Pub, 131 Carleton Ave., East Islip, 631-277-0007, irishcoffeepub.com

Not exactly a coffee pub (it's lots bigger and more formal than the name would imply), this popular gathering place serves addictive Irish brown bread. Potato soup is thick and creamy. There's fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage and a sturdy, satisfying shepherd's pie.

St. Patrick's Day plans: Entertainment at dinner.

COST $$$ (average meal about $60 per person)

Paddy's Loft, 1286 Hicksville Rd., Massapequa, 516-798-7660, paddysloft.com

Cheerful service defines this multilevel restaurant-pub. Good Irish soda bread kicks off every meal; there's Irish smoked salmon and a bowl of creamy Irish baked potato soup for appetizers. Shepherd's pie is fortifying stuff. At lunch and brunch, the otherwise fine Irish breakfast is undermined only by the commercially seasoned bread- crumb topping on the grilled tomato. Overall, though, it can make you smile as it clogs your arteries.

St. Patrick's Day plans:  Live Irish music starts at noon and continues late into the evening; bagpipers and Irish step dancers will drop by.

COST $$ (average meal about $30 per person)

Lily Flanagan's, 345 Deer Park Ave., Babylon, 631-539-0816, lilyflanaganspub.com

It's nice to hide out in a cozy booth at this cavernous pub with a booming bar scene. Heavy-duty "Gaelic" chicken is topped with onions and mushrooms in a somewhat gloppy Irish whiskey cream sauce. The admirable shepherd's pie has a well in its mashed potato topping, making for a built-in gravy boat. Finish with a mug of potent Irish coffee.

St. Patrick's Day plans:  Irish menu served from 11 a.m.; live music, Irish step dancers and bagpipes from 2 p.m.

COST $$ (average meal about $30 per person)

Finn McCool's, 101 Riverhead Rd., Westhampton Beach, 631-998-3271

Back in 2007, restaurant guru Gordon Ramsay did a TV makeover of this Gaelic spot. Now, the kitchen uses fresh seasonal vegetables in such dishes as chicken potpie, made with both white and dark meat from a freshly roasted bird; it's topped with shamrock-shaped phyllo. You'll also want to try Ramsay's take on shepherd's pie, well-spiced and tomato-tinged.

St. Patrick's Day plans:  Corned beef and cabbage will be featured as a special; bagpipe bands will entertain throughout the day. A heated outdoor tent should accommodate the crowd.

COST $$ (average meal about $30 per person)

Cannon's Blackthorn, 49 North Village Ave., Rockville Centre, 516-594-1222, cannonsblackthornli.com

Adorable little rooms called "snugs" break up the vast expanse of space at this Irish restaurant whose creative chef, Axell Urrutia, was born in Guatemala. Here, you'll find a true Irish breakfast (perfectly scrambled eggs, Irish bacon, black-and-white pudding, broiled tomato, Irish sausage and baked beans). There's also deftly fried fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, savory beef and lamb shepherd's pie served in a casserole and topped with mashed potatoes. Also on offer is bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes).

St. Patrick's Day plans:  An all-day $18.95 three-course traditional corned beef and cabbage prix fixe runs concurrently with a la carte specials such as Urrutia's six-hour braised lamb shank and Cajun shepherd's pie with Cheddar potato crust. Recorded Irish background music.

COST $$ (average meal about $30 per person)

Jackie Reilly's Restaurant, 3964 Hempstead Tpke., Bethpage, 516-731-7544, jackiereillys.com

Green is the predominant color at this roomy pub-restaurant where the fish-and-chips can prove a bit oily; better are bangers and mash and the respectable shepherd's pie.

St. Patrick's Day plans:  An a la carte menu of Irish dishes will be featured, with Irish music from late afternoon through early evening.

COST $$ (average meal about $30 per person)

Declan Quinn's, 227 Fourth Ave., Bay Shore, 631-206-2006, declanquinns.net

At this inviting pub near the Bay Shore Long Island Rail Road station, chefs Sean Broderick and John Fisher put out pub classics with panache. Their better-than-ordinary shepherd's pie may be ordered as a "petite" or entree-size casserole of ground beef, peas and carrots crowned with mashed potatoes. "Mom and Pop's" corned beef and cabbage comes with garlic mashed potatoes and warm rye bread.

St. Patrick's Day plans A $19.95 prix fixe encompasses two courses (soup and entree) plus a pint of Guinness, Harp or Smithwick's. Main dishes include corned beef and cabbage, and bangers and mash. Live Irish music, too.

COST $$ (average meal about $30 per person)

MORE: The best Irish restaurants on Long Island

MORE: Where to get Irish egg rolls on Long Island

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