For this month’s Dining Out we went to one of our favorite places…O’Connell’s.
Opened on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005, O’Connell’s was an immediate success and a great
addition to the lower end of King Street. The place should be called Daniel O’Connell’s
Restaurant and Bars because of the four bars that run throughout the establishment.
Owners John Brennan and Billy O’Sullivan had been on a search for the perfect
location for a truly authentic pub atmosphere serving modern Irish cuisine and fell in love
with Old Town Alexandria. Tapping into their twenty year-old collection of antiques in
storage in Ireland, everything was shipped to Alexandria and the extensive build out
began. As Billy says, “O’Connell’s is without question one of the most unique antique
Irish bars in the world. An ancient Irish setting run as a modern Irish bar. Just walk in
our door…this is Dublin, this is Waterford, this is Killkenny or Galway. This is Ireland
right in the heart of King Street.”
The menu offerings are a perfect combination of traditional Irish and American
favorites. Starters include Scotch Eggs, Irish Egg Rolls, Irish-American Cheese Plate
(very good) and Dublin Nachos. Soups include O’Connell’s Lamb Stew and a seasonal
The Auld Favorites from across the pond feature Fish and Chips, Homemade
Corned Beef & Cabbage, Dunmore East Seafood Pie, Classic Irish Bangers and Mash,
Shepard’s Pie and an 8-ounce Guinness Burger. For us Yanks they offer a Lamb Burger
and a regular Hamburger, Crab Cake Sandwich, O’Connell’s Reuben, Fried Fish
Sandwich, Turkey Club, and a Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich. All of these sandwiches
are huge and served with a large portion of hand cut fries. O’Connell’s also offers four
salads for lunch or dinner.
The Entrees are also generous. Choices range from Marinated Chicken Supreme,
Wild Mushroom Risotto, Virginia Bone-in Pork Chop, Steak Frites, and Ravioli to
Grilled Scottish Salmon. All entrees are reasonably priced with the most expensive
topping out at $26.
I had the Virginia Bone-In Pork Chop served on a bed of butternut squash mash,
caramelized onions and apples, crispy sage and balsamic gravy. I am a meat and potatoes
kind of guy and the pork chop did not disappointment. Tender and seared just right to
give it that grilled look and taste. The stand-alone bone was a delicious treat to just to
gnaw the tender meat off of the bone (I did this when I got home). I love potatoes, and
mashed are the perfect way to serve these spuds at dinner, so I was somewhat skeptable
about the butternut squash mash. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought, at first, that they
were just very flavorful potatoes, but then the apple flavor came through and I was
delighted. The taste melded perfectly with the pork chop. As with the lunch items, there
is plenty of food so that I could not finish my whole meal, but did so the following day.
We also had the Grilled Scottish Salmon. It was cooked perfectly and was a nice portion.
Served with leek fondue and a smoked salmon cream sauce the dish is accompanied by a
chomp mash, this was a very flavorful combination.
We ordered a Home-made Apple Pie Crumble for dessert. It is served with
caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Very tasty and enough for two people to share.
O’Connell’s serves a hearty brunch on both Saturday and Sunday. Choices run
from a Full Irish Breakfast, 7-oz Sirloin Steak, Bacon & Egg Butty, West Coast Crab,
Pancakes, Eggs Norwegian, to house made Waffles and a Crab Omelet. The best part of
Brunch here is the fact that the House Bloody Mary’s and Mimosa refills are only 99
If you aren’t in the mood to dine, this is a great place to just belly up to the bar
and order a pint of Guinness or any of several other choices on tap. They have a nice
bottle selection as well. There are two good sized bars on the first floor and two more on
the second. The O’Sullivan’s Bar on the second floor opens up to a rooftop terrace that
overlooks King Street. This is a great place to be when the weather permits. There is also
sidewalk dining. The wine list at this restaurant is what we would consider “just right”. It
isn’t so vast that it is overwhelming but the selections available cover the gamut. The
wine pour at OC’s is probably the best in town and the price point is very attractive as
well. Being an Irish joint you can bet that they have every kind of Irish Whisky that is out
there as well! I am a fan of Tullamore Dew.
Having dined and drank several times over the last 10 years at this fabulous place,
we have always had stellar service. There are several servers and bartenders who are first
generation Irish and they all have that great accent and sense of humor. Never a dull
moment in this place – that’s how we like it.
O’Connell’s also offers musical entertainment Friday through Monday nights.
Each Monday is a rare Irish treat as the restaurant hosts a “Traditional Irish Music
Session”…a collection of musicians with very different instruments that perform
traditional Irish music. We were fortunate enough to have dined on a Monday evening
and it was definitely a party!
HAPPY 10TH ANNIVERSARY TO OUR FRIENDS AT OC’S!