James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant in Harbor East creates a party atmosphere with tasty food and boy, are folks flocking there. From live music nights to singles gatherings, English soccer game breakfasts to Ravens specials, the place has definitely become one of the city’s hot spots.
The best parties have food, right? James Joyce concentrates mostly on classic pub fare, with a selection of Irish influenced dishes as well. The St. James Mussels are an outstanding surprise. I’ve eaten at a bunch of places famous for mussels, but these far surpass them. They’re sweet, perfectly fresh, with a Guinness/garlic/tomato sauce. I promise, you will be grabbing for bread to soak up the light, savory sauce.
Here’s a little secret: while you might hesitate to order bread when you get other bread for free, just do it. Get the homemade Irish Brown Bread. It’s award-winning for good reason. With a moist quick bread center and crunchy oats on the outside, you’d be thrilled to be able to get it in any grocery store. It’s served with a savory herb butter that’s a nice compliment. Before you know it, you’ll have gobbled up a whole loaf of bread, promise.
My server recommended the Corned Beef and Cabbage and she was right on the mark. The meat is tender, and it comes with a creamy mustard-parsley sauce that adds the just right amount of “something” to a traditional Irish fave. It’s served with smooth mashed parsnips that are mild and carrots that are so naturally sweet, they could be candied sweet potatoes.
If you feel like a twist on a Maryland commodity, there’s the Joyce Special Blue Crab Ravioli. It’s got a tangy red pepper vodka sauce and served in a generous portion. Hey! Crab without Old Bay! Can you believe it?
The James Joyce Ice Cream is a unique adult-style sundae: it’s got caramelized pieces of their famous bread, along with Bailey’s, and vanilla ice cream. It’s definitely an Irish influenced dessert that’s a change from same old, same old desserts.