The Gourmet: A Slice of Old Éireann

Photo courtesy of Tre Thomas

A review of the Auld Shebeen, an Irish restaurant in Fairfax


Restaurants are scored by three categories: decor, service and food.

Within the illustrious city of Fairfax lies a slice of the magical land of Ireland. With authentic Irish music, great décor and hearty, carb-filled goodness, Auld Shebeen feels like a piece of home you never knew.

Decor- Filled to the brim with wooden furniture, Auld Shebeen feels like an old, lived in business, even though  the restaurant was founded only 15 years ago. Paintings and posters with Gaelic inspiration written all over them cover the walls. There are televisions in the main dining room for all your news- and sports-watching pleasure as well.

While the televisions were nice, I was so concerned with the immense size of the bar that I couldn’t have cared less about the Duke vs. UCF game. Sorry, sports fans. The bar was rowed with delicious wines and brews. As a pub, and an Irish pub at that, it fits the bill as a place to get an authentic Irish draft or wine. The traditional Irish music within the pub also was amazing, as I heard familiar Irish jigs and ballads as I observed my surroundings.

Service- Our waitress was very friendly and smiled brightly, even through the bustling business of dinnertime. She always asked if there was anything else she could get me, and the food was steaming hot when it was delivered.

Food- To start off, I ordered the Irish Croquettes as an appetizer, and they were good. The crispiness of the fry was just right, and the inside, which consisted of mashed potatoes, cabbage and corned beef, was tasty. The mashed potatoes and corn beef meshed well, as did the cabbage, with its slight sourness that added to the heartiness of the other ingredients.

After that, I ate the shepherd’s pie, which was about what I thought it would be: an oval bowl filled with beef, carrots, peas and onions with a thin, brown gravy between the other ingredients and the mashed potatoes layered on top. While I wish the gravy was a bit thicker, the dish was still very good.

To finish, I ate an Irish Stout cake, which was a layered chocolate cake with Baileys cream on top and a strawberry on the side. It was soft, rich in sweetness and creamy—all things a cake should be. I didn’t think the Baileys cream would be good, but I stood corrected. It was my favorite part of the course. Its taste was by far best out of the other entrees.

If you want great Irish food, good service and sweet, traditional Irish music blessing your ears as you eat, the Auld Shebeen is the place to be. I give it an especially simple and digestible rating of 4.2 pints of beer out of 5