How nice to get a Tanqueray and tonic for only 5 bucks! And a big one at that. I guess that's one of the perks of venturing off the beaten path (the “beaten path,” of course, being Baltimore, Wilmington and Rehoboth avenues). The newly renovated Irish Eyes in Milton is one of a pair of eateries, the other one overlooking the canal in Lewes. Make no mistake, however: This is bar food (albeit creative) at reasonable prices, lots of beer neons and TVs on the wall. One value-added at the Milton location is the old exposed-brick building and time-worn hardwood floors. Very “old-town.” Very “Set me up with another Pabst (or Guinness).”
I used to trek all the way to Louisville, Kentucky to get fried pickles (well, I did some other things there, too). Irish Eyes does their fried pickles differently. Rather than the round “chips” that are breaded and deep fried, they do the same thing with a pickle spear. If you've never had a fried pickle (shame!), go for it. What's the worst that can happen?
We ordered the “Thursday Wings” (a special on 10 or 20 wings–they're OK). Several of the more creative appetizers include the Cucumber Bruschetta (kind of a deconstructed tzaziki sauce on crispy toast points), the Irish Nachos (fries tossed with ranch and cheese–very European) and a cheesy Quesadilla (add chicken or crab for a few bucks more). My favorite salads are the Walnut Bleu Cheese topped with the standard raspberry vinaigrette and the basic but fresh Irish Eyes Home Salad with greens, tomatoes, red onion and cucumbers.
Do note that Irish Eyes often rotates items on and off the menu. So some things might not be there, but there will also be new stuff.
The “bar style” entrees are the things to get at Irish Eyes. The Bangers and Mash feature a particularly delicious sausage…almost Italian, but without the heat. The mashed potato component is buttery and creamy. A side of peas and cabbage tops off this very Irish staple. The Shepherds Pie offers up a particularly savory ground beef base, slathered with those buttery mashers. The Beef and Guinness Stew leaves no doubt as to the beer element, and the fun bread bowl lets you clear your plate…literally. I've received a number of emails suggesting I try the Classic Burger, so I finally gave in last week. It's big (1/2 pound), and came out of the kitchen cooked just the way I ordered it. I would have liked it with a softer, more absorbent roll. The roll was fresh, but firm like a brioche. Too firm, in fact, to properly envelop a burger without the patty shooting out the other side and putting somebody's eye out. A softer, more pliant roll, please?
I subbed onion rings for the fries and was not sorry: The crispy beer batter really worked on the thin onion slices. Several dining companions ordered the Soft Shell Crab BLT topped with a Chesapeake aioli (Old Bay) and loved it. The fried crab and the bacon play very well with one another. One of my faithful Foodies-in-Waiting loves the Cuban Panini. This sandwich features an almost-sweet ham, smokey pork, cheese, pickles and all the other requirements of a proper Cuban (the kicker is the crispy pressed ciabatta roll). In the same vein, do try the Reuben. Grilled crispy on the outside, with tangy corned beef inside, my only gripe is that they should slice the corned beef thinner. The fat cap on the brisket is moist and delicious, but much easier to negotiate when cut paper-thin. Another dining companion likes to order things he thinks are “diet,” then complain about them. What did he expect? This happened with the Turkey Burger–so govern yourself accordingly.
It's hard to go into Irish Eyes and not get some of the Pick o' the Irish goodies or the Classic Sandwiches. It's just that kind of place.
The Irish Eyes in Milton is located at 105 Union Street in an old brick storefront. They have regular specials, including, as of this writing, $5 Oysters on the Half Shell, various bruschettas, etc. They also feature entertainment on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, not to mention $1.25 PBRs every day.
Give 'em a call to see what's going on (302) 684-8889. Click here to see what's going on right now. (L., D., Bar). Price range: Moderate .