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Jameson’s Bar & Grill: Combining two dining ambiences

Jameson’s Bar & Grill

157 Tulip Ave., Floral Park

516-326-8300

Befitting their heritage. Robert Sullivan and Mark McEntee, both born in America of Irish parents, opened an upscale, Irish American pub. That was three years ago.

Here, the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration includes bag pipes and step dancing. Come Thanksgiving, it’s turkey with stuffing and gravy with cornbread and squash and a dessert tray of fancies, plus pumpkin and pecan pie.

Jameson’s is half restaurant and half bar, with a window wall in between. A fireplace adds to the ambience in the restaurant part.

The look is “pub” but it doesn’t shout it out. There’s a discrete framed Doors of Dublin on the wall and bag pipes on display and a barrel (empty) of Jameson’s 1966 and a few booths. In all, it bespeaks casual comfort.

Ensconced in this setting we were bowled over by the specials. The duck appetizer seemed unusual and unbeatable. The salmon, uniquely handled. The breaded pork chops with potato pancakes nicely different, the steak quite drool-able. The difficulty was — would it be salmon and steak, or salmon and pork, or pork and steak?

The appetizers had new niceties: Shrimp served on ice with cocktail sauce; baked chopped clams with lemon; teriyaki shrimp, shrimp marinated in teriyaki sauce, grilled on skewers, Buffalo calamari, with blue cheese dressing, of course; mozzarella with a tomato coulis and pesto sauce. And the winner was spinach and artichoke dip. It was warm, centered in the midst of a cluster of corn tortilla chips. Think in terms of two or three or four with drinks. The duck appetizer tasted even better than expected — a serving of mixed greens with tidbits of roast duck (sans skin) set amid grilled squash bites. Now if you haven’t tried one-fourth-inch-thick slices of squash done on the grill you’re missing a lot. I’m heading for the barbecue this weekend.

The salmon was a thick rectangular piece, wrapped in prosciutto with a whiskey glaze, shiny, mahogany colored. It was perched on white canneloni beans with a few leaves of fresh spinach tucked in beside. Salmon has practically become the other red meat, so it was great to taste another version.

And oh that steak! It was served draped over a bed of smashed potatoes. Chargrilled, it had just the right tinge of char. It was thin, yet reddish pink inside. Just wonderful. On the side was a steak’s best friend, a dish of creamed spinach. I must hasten to add that like any good Irish pub, there are chicken pot pie and shepherd’s pie.

A few more menu item notes: salmon topped with spinach and tomato coulis; fish and chips; onion-crusted chicken served with butter sauce. And there’s a nice selection of pastas. My must try was angel hair with scallops and mussels tossed in a tomato and garlic broth.

Two lads nearby began with a blooming onion, then progressed to burgers with steak fries. I wondered, Was it the whiskey burger with bacon and Irish whiskey sauce or the Buffalo style burger with blue cheese?

The dessert tray was presented by our very pleasant waitress. My dining companion, without hesitation, went for the pecan pie with a clear bottom layer topped by a thick pecan layer. “Not too sweet,” she beamed as she admired the plate’s chocolate scroll work and dipped into a bit of whipped cream.

I fell for tuxedo pie. It was layered black and white mousse, topped with a chocolate leaf. Delicious elegance.

There’s mudslide cheese cake that you might wish to investigate or the equally intriguing chocolate, chocolate pie.

Jameson’s early bird dinner is $13.95 and Sunday brunch buffet, from cold cereals to carving and omelet stations, is $14.95.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Steaks, chops and seafood. Low-key Irish pub setting with fireplace. Pleasant service. Sunday brunch buffet. Bagpipes and step-dancing on St Patrick’s Day.

CHEF’S CHOICE

Spinach & Artichoke Dip (served warm with corn tortilla chips)...S6.95

Crab Ragoons (with horseradish cream sauce)...$6.95

New York Sirloin Steak (with sauteed mushrooms & onions with smashed potatoes)...$17.95

Shepherd’s Pie (seasoned ground beef, with smashed potatoes)...$11.95

Jameson’s Whiskey Burger...$8.50

Tuxedo Mousse Pie...$4.95

Pecan Pie...$4.95

Cuisine: Irish/American.

Setting: Comfortable, low-key pub. Fireplace

Service: Friendly

Hours: L 6 D 7 days. Brunch buffet Sunday

Reservations: Yes

Dress: Casual

Credit cards: All major except Discover

Children: Own menu

Private parties: To 100 Takeout: Yes

Off premise catering: Yes

Smoking: Section

Noise level: Moderate

Handicapped access: Yes

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