Thursday, January 30, 2014

O'Bricks Irish Pub & Martini Bar - Bradenton

Our original Great Escape pick last Saturday had been for a restaurant in Tampa and we’d all looked forward to it until someone remembered it was Gasparilla weekend. A couple of years ago we had found ourselves gridlocked in Tampa’s most celebratory weekend and vowed to forever more avoid the pirates and pirate lovers. We quickly changed the venue to O’Brick’s Irish Pub & Martini Bar in Manatee. Sometimes last minute Plan B’s work out great and this was one of those times.
I confess I have driven past Manatee Avenue and 12th Street (Old Main Street) a hundred times on my way to Holmes Beach and Anna Maria Island. So it was with surprise and delight that we found ourselves on a charming street of restaurants, bars and lounges that reminded me very much of NYC’s Greenwich Village (ah the good old days). I encourage you to explore those little side streets as you never know what treasures you’ll find.
O’Brick’s sounds like an Irish Pub but really doesn’t feel like one. I had a dear Irish girlfriend who introduced me to Irish Pubs in NYC when I was in my twenties, so I know the difference. O’Brick’s interior has brick walls (hence the name?) and there are quite a lot of stylized paintings and plaques of fish. They do have Shepherd’s Pie on the menu. But there the similarity to an Irish pub ends.
This deconstructed version of Shepherd’s Pie was surprisingly delicious according to a fellow in our group who regularly orders this in Irish Pubs. He really liked it even if it did come with a fancy flower on it.
My grilled salmon with Balsamic Glaze was perfectly cooked and the roasted potatoes and al dente green beans were the perfect accompaniment.
O’Brick’s offers a myriad of martini’s (mmm). I had a Lemon Drop that was quite delicious but they had dozens of flavors to pick from.
The service was very good and our waiter was extremely nice. Note that while groups of 6 or more customarily get 18% gratuity added to their bill, at O’Brick’s it is 20%. Not a bad thing as we’d tip that much anyway for good service. But I’m guessing you’ll see this small increase at other restaurants soon.
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