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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Irish and More

Great pub food at Burke’s Castle near Miller Park

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About a year ago Sean Burke and his business partners Shane Valenti and Chuck Vecitis purchased the venerable Derry Hegarty’s Pub, a place near the Brewer’s stadium in business for 40-some years. Then came several months of renovation including building a new kitchen, a revamped back bar and—most importantly—adding glass garage doors to provide sunlight (plus fresh air) on warmer days. The new décor has plenty of dark wood and makes a convincing copy of a real Irish pub. The beer selection also is considerably improved. One thing has not changed, Burke’s still continues to provide shuttles to all Milwaukee Brewer’s home games.

At first glance, the menu appears to be typical pub fare, but this kitchen has all the extra touches to qualify as a gastropub. A starter of chicken wings ($9) is smoked, not simply deep-fried. Three different sauces are offered, the house barbeque is tangy with a little hot pepper punch. The kitchen goes even more “gastro” with the tapas platter ($12). Start with the baked blue mussels with herb butter, then a piece of funnel cake-battered brie with fig jam, then a potato cake topped with lox and boursin, and then the star of the plate, slices of pork belly topped with balsamic-glazed pearl onions. This is not your typical Irish pub fare.

But other items fit that bill. The potato soup ($4) is nicely done with bits of salty bacon and fried leeks in a seasoned creamy broth. The meat loaf ($13) is prepared with five different meats, fontina cheese and a whiskey glaze. Add Irish cheddar mashed potatoes and a dab of tomato jam and this comfort food becomes gastropub fare. The game hen ($14) takes a simpler approach. It’s a split Cornish hen with a cherry port glaze served over a creamy purée of butternut squash.

The kitchen also draws from locally sourced ingredients. Bangers and Smash ($12) includes bratwurst and smoked Polish sausage from Country Fresh Meats, located in Weston, Wis. It is served with sweet potato mash and porter mustard.

The Friday fish fry offers sustainable, farm-raised perch ($13), four large filets with a thin and crisp panko batter. It arrives with a nice creamy Asian slaw of napa cabbage and sweet red pepper in addition to a tartar sauce laced with sriracha. There is also a mountain of waffle-cut fries. Also offered is a more typical fish fry of battered cod ($10) with regular slaw and roasted garlic tartar sauce. In addition, there is a gluten-free option of tilapia in a cornmeal batter ($12).

On Brewers game days there is a smaller Special Events menu restricted to sandwiches and a smaller appetizer list. However, steamed mussels and the smoked chicken wings remain options and the Friday fish fry will be there. Burke’s offers some of the best fare in the Miller Park area.

 

Burke’s Irish Castle, 5328 W. Bluemound Road

414-453-6088

$$

Handicapped Access: Yes (East entrance)

burkesirishcastle.com


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