Blackthorn’s Pub

Blackthorn’s Pub Parsippany NJ

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For a long time a friend was telling me to try this place out.  They have 2 locations, the one in Parsippany was closer to me.  Before I say anything, let me say that its a very friendly atmosphere, warm, attentive and competent staff.  No doubt about that at all. And, the food is very reasonably priced.  Let’s take a look at how their menu reads…

Belmullet Bangers & Mash $12 Imported straight from Ireland we offer you the classic; 4 Jumbo Irish Banger Sausages with Mashed Potatoes, Braised Cabbage and Brown Gravy.

Bangers & Mash are known as Irish “pub grub” and can be made up of both pork and beef.  They are usually black, more stout and plump than those you see above.  I gotta admit, these did not live up to the hype.  As I’ve mentioned in sausage postings before, the problem with too many of the sausages made today, is the meat inside is all pulverized and/or cooked until the insides look more like a hotdog than a sausage.  It was the same in this case.  The gravy had little if any flavor, and the mashed potatoes also were just a stiff, dense carb on the plate.  The cabbage was supposed to be braised, and it tasted fine, but I tasted  nothing that might indicate that it was braised, I would have guessed steamed, maybe thats just a fancy way of saying steamed.  More than enough food on the plate, no doubt about that, it could have easily served two people, but there was not enough flavor there for me to want to take any leftovers home.

One great thing I discovered that really helped this meal out was the discovery of Colmans Mustard JarColman’s Mustard.  Very spicy, very hot, but a good hot, not like Chinese mustard hot, and I bet its more than most can handle, but it is very good and I will be looking for it in supermarkets soon, if not ordering it online.  One of the oldest know brands, they have been around since 1814.  I am sure there are plenty of things that have been around longer that I’ve never heard of, but this is a mustard that’s really been missing from my culinary stockpile.  Looking online, I even find that they sell it in powder form which is excellent for baking, but also only making enough with water as you need it so it always has that fresh “zippy” taste mustard should have.

Another pubgrub favorite is beer battered fish and chips, as you see below.

fishchips

From their Menu: Harp Battered Fish & Chips $13 Fresh hand-cut Cod dipped in our own Harp Beer Batter and deep fried until it has a Golden Crisp Crust. Served with our House-Cut Steak Fries and Tartar sauce.

They say a photo is worth a thousand words.  I can’t think of a thousand, but certainly a few come to mind like greasy, oily, too much batter.  As for the house cut fries.  Well, someone needs to re-train the cutter, at least for consistency, and an extra half-handful could not have hurt.

This was by no means horrible food and the large, clean dining rooms are a plus, the prices were more than fair, and where else are you going to get a plate of nachos this size for half price ($5) since we got there before 7pm?  No complaints about this place at all, but its certainly should not be anyone’s first stop for authentic Irish fare, as they claim it to be.  I’ve never been to Ireland so I don’t know if nachos are on the menu.

photo copy 3I can say though, without any doubt at all, the very best pint of Guinness I can every recall having was here.  A true thing of beauty, delicious, perfect temperature, perfect pour. If you are looking for a perfect pint of Guinness in this area, you found it.

One last comment… my friend ordered a Bailey’s on ice.  The glass it came in was barely enough to hold ice to the top and what could not have been more than 2 ounces of Bailey’s. It was comical, and he noted it before I could say anything.  I’ve never seen anything this small.  It was smaller than a scotch glass no taller than your thumb.
Blackthorn’s is a great casual place to replace any Bennigan’s, Houlihan’s or any other
chain you might think to go to first.  Don’t, you should try this place, its right on the highway and the food is reasonable and not over-salted to hide the taste. The entire bill, with 2 drinks an appetizer and two full dinners only came to $54 with tip, hard to beat that price at any restaurant.
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