We’ve walked by O’Brien’s Pub a number of times en-route to The Deck and the West Wind Marina. It always seemed crowded and as we passed Friday night, I also noticed live music around Happy Hour.
Last year we enjoyed Chicken Wings and Oysters on The Half Shell at The Deck. Alas, although the live music at The Deck is as good as ever, the menu changed.
The Chicken Wings are gone – replaced by very average Chicken Tenders, Oysters are no longer available as well. Thankfully, O’Brien’s Pub is a 2 minute walk up the driveway.
A True Publick House
I lived in England in the 1980’s and visited many authentic pubs or Publick Houses as they call them. As you may guess, they served draft beer and simple food, but more notably, they were family gathering spots.
I recall taking my one-year-old daughter Natalie to the Pub in Wimbledon Village on Saturday Mornings to see the Fox Hunters ride back to the pub on horseback to greet their wives, parents, and children after an early morning chase though the forest.
Similarly, the first thing I noticed when I walked into O’Brien’s was lots of kids and dogs.
I’m guessing since half the pub is open air, it’s legally dog friendly, like The Deck and The Landing.
It’s also incredibly kid friendly. In the center of the patio dining room there’s a fountain filled with kids water toys.
As you might suspect, this all leads to a very lively atmosphere and since the patio sits on a busy street, you can add the constant din of traffic to the mix. Despite all this, Mrs. Horne and I had no trouble carrying on a normal conversation.
Before I get into our lunch, I must mention that I checked yelp before venturing in and much to my surprise, O’Brien’s sported a solid 4 stars and ranked 5th for lunch among restaurants near the Newport Waterfront.
Since all the other well ranked lunch spots are down by Bannister’s – a 10 minute walk, O’Brien’s was a no-brainer.
Mrs. Horne and I had just finished a 2 hour bike ride so were ready for pub grub, but rather than rush into a hasty choice, we ordered up some cold beverages and studied the menu…
Keeping with it’s Publick House tradition, the menu offers a wide range of dishes. Beyond the usual, they also had pizza, gourmet Mac & Cheese, Steak and other dinner entrees.
After a little negotiation, we decided to share an order of wings and a veggie wrap.
In the spirit of compromise, we went with medium heat Buffalo Wings. As far as I was concerned it was a perfect choice although Mrs. Horne thought they were a tad hot.
What impressed me most was their size and moistness. I think these go hand-in-hand since it’s difficult to get a skimpy wing to the proper level of crispness without overdoing them inside. The wings at O’Brien’s offered the perfect balance of crispiness and moisture.
A Recipe Worth Stealing!
A lot of lunch sandwiches are straight forward; a Ruben is corned beef, kraut, and swiss and a Fried Fish Sandwich is, well, fried fish in a sandwich!
But when it comes to “A Veggie Wrap”, there is no such standard.
The menu said:
VEGGIE WRAP – Roasted & seasoned carrots, red & green peppers, zucchini, summer squash, feta cheese, sauteed in our balsamic vinaigrette and wrapped in flour tortilla with shredded lettuce…
The ingredients intrigued us, but it kind of looked like it might be a spring roll, so we asked Ed (our server) if it was a hot or cold wrap.
Ed said “hot” and we said “we’ll have one…”
What a wonderful combination of flavors. The squashes worried me a little, but they were al dente and crunched like a warm pickle. The star was the feta cheese and yes, this is a recipe I’ll steal and serve my guests. I know my occasional vegetarian daughter Natalie would love it!
A New Star on the Vigilant Dining List
O’Brien’s isn’t 22 Bowens or Fluke, but it is a totally legit culinary experience. If you want al fresco that’s not on the water, or you have a dog, or you have kids and you’d like a break while they play with water, this is your spot.
It’s definitely going on the Vigilant Dining List in Newport and the next time we’re in the West End, we may try it for dinner…