Dining After Quarantine at The Forge Irish Pub
Updated: May 26, 2020
This past Friday we ventured out to eat for the first time since restrictions have been partially lifted in Florida. We were hesitant, and had a little apprehension, but all of those feelings dissolved once we arrived at The Forge Irish Pub in Brandon, FL.
Friday afternoon we were able to make reservations (walk-ins welcome, too!) and our table was reserved in the back separated from the other patrons. The Forge has one door for entry and one for exiting and has arrows taped on the ground to follow one path and not disturb any one else. Their menus were disposable and all condiments had to be requested.
Now, after feeling one hundred percent safe, we were able to appreciate our surroundings and how eccentric and welcoming the interior was decorated. Warm tones, dark wood, plush booths and the coolest "gear wall" we've ever seen. Unfortunately it was pouring raining, so we couldn't enjoy their spacious, well-lit covered patio seating, but they had a fantastic musician, Matt Billor, that gave a local 2020 graduate, having a celebratory dinner at The Forge Irish Pub, a special 'congratulations' by playing her favorite songs with her sitting front and center.
Our waiter, Ryan, was so accommodating, had great recommendations as well as a great sense of humor. You could tell everyone working there really enjoyed being there and cared for the people they worked with, as other servers helped bring dishes to tables and came by to make sure everything was going well.
Now, the moment we had been waiting MONTHS for, GET IN MY BELLY!
These foodie sisters were HUNGRY, and we didn't have to wash the dishes, so gloves were off! We ordered drinks, appetizers and main courses, ya know... making our night out COUNT.
In true Irish fashion, the Forge's menu was filled with savory Irish cuisine; potatoes, cabbage, corned beef, fish and chips and shepherds pie. However, before we get into the main course selections, let's talk about drinks and appetizers:
The two featured in the photo are the MR 19 (left) and the Irish Old Fashioned (right). Both we full of flavor. We HIGHLY recommend the Irish Old Fashioned.
We later enjoyed draft beer and ended the night with a round of Baby Guinness.
The Fancy Mushrooms, MICK + Cheese Balls and Reuben Fritters.
Fancy Mushrooms -
Garlic beer-battered mushrooms with a garlic aioli and balsamic drizzle. The portion and size of the mushrooms were very generous, and the drizzle was so good I had to stop myself
from licking the plate clean. If I could cover everything in this drizzle for ever, I'd be very happy.
MICK + Cheese Balls -
Four large, deep fried macaroni and cheese balls served with a jalapeno lime ranch. Somehow, even with the balls fried to perfection, the macaroni and cheese was not dried out. Each bite was gooey and cheesy and POPPED when dipped into the jalapeno lime ranch dipping sauce.
Reuben Fritters -
Now, this third appetizer was our favorite of the night.
Corned beef, cabbage and Swiss cheese deep fried into bite sized balls.
This app was unique and in true Irish fashion, the corned beef and cabbage was perfect even in a small quantity.
If you're not hungry yet, just wait - these entrees are sure to get your mouth watering!
Briel ordered the classic Corned Beef and Cabbage, which we learned is made daily in small batches to keep the flavor locked in and not dry out from having to reheat and serve. If you're in the mood for tender, juicy and robust corned beef, make sure you call ahead because once it's gone for the night, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to get more.
This staple Irish dish is served with corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and a horseradish aioli.
Brittney went rouge, venturing from the Irish staples and ordered the Farm Yard Burger.
This 1/2 lb. Angus Beef burger had a drippy, fried egg on top with caramelized onions, American cheese, bacon and mustard on a warm brioche bun. If the Irish aren't known for burgers, this joint will put them on the map. Cooked medium, this juicy burger didn't even need extra condiments added. If you're craving a burger, do not count The Forge Irish Pub out.
The remainder of dinner party ordered Fish & Chips, Fish & Onion Rings and Shepherds Pie.
When the Fish & Chips came out, we were worried some would leave hungry with only having one piece of fish. Don't worry, we were wrong! The beer battered fried cod was THICK and provided more than enough flaky fish to fill our bellies and share among the table. The chips were crispy, thinly shaved potato wedges and the onion rings were huge! Both sides paired perfectly with the beer battered fish. You can't go wrong ordering this across the pond novelty!
Now, on to the Shepherds pie... This is NOT your mamma's shepherds pie, no ketchup needed to mask the taste. Meat and vegetable filling topped with mashed potatoes and cheese baked together perfectly. We tried to get Ryan to share the Chef's secret as to how he got the ingredients to bake together so well that there weren't any liquid, runny parts, but he wouldn't share!
The Get In My Belly Tampa sisters will be back to The Forge Irish Pub very soon. This was our first time here and we were blown away but also wondering what took us so long! They're located off of Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon, FL. Make sure you follow them on social media for daily specials and live music updates.