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Manhattan Irish Pub

Ulysses "gastro-pub"?

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Ulysses "gastro-pub"?

Skillet Licker | Jan 22, 2005 12:44 PM

I recall reading (Asimov, I think) about this "Greek-Irish gastro-pub" on Stone Street way downtown. I've never been to a gastro-pub in Britian -- if that's where this breed originated -- but the concept seems pretty simple: bar with real good food.

Ulysses has two rooms, the larger with a giant wrap-around bar in the center with booths and nooks around the perimeter. The smaller room has a bunch of tables and another bar at which we sat. In fact, I thought it was an oyster bar because it had a board listing the day's selection (4) of raw oysters. The shucking, as it turns out, was done elsewhere, but the oysters, served on a big ice platter with lemon and a duo of superfluous sauces, were excellent. Oddly, the draught beer (German wheat) also was drawn elsewhere (I guess the main room.)

I asked the Irish bartender-waiter for a food recommendation and he reminded me that Ulysses is a bar, not a restaurant. What? Whatever. I thought best to keep it simple and was rewarded with a very fine and rich shepheard's pie, crisped around the edges, a big side order of steamed veggies, and a nice shrimp cocktail (I haven't ordered one, if ever, since the 80s).

And although there was a Greek salad on the menu, I don 't know why Asimov described this place as Greek-Irish or, for that matter, a gastro-pub. The term gastro-pub evokes an image of a small local pub, with an ambitious and adventurous cook, and a clientele that appreciates real good honest cooking. The crowd at Ulysses, by the way, was strictly Wall Steet after hours types. But why quibble? I kind of like the concept of a gastro-pub, even if their own staff never heard of it.

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