Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pub Brunch

Last week in Sunnyside. PJ Horgan's. I was so looking forward to a good burger, and they did not disappoint. I told José that we were going to go to a pub for brunch today, Saturday. A pub, you know, a bar with good food and Guinness. It wasn't a very difficult sell. Even with the mid-day sun shining brightly, and the glare from the snow, it was dark and cozy inside. There were a few people sitting at the bar watching rugby. I liked it already. There was a baby behind the bar. Don't know why. I liked it even more. We sat at a wooden booth under a stained-glass lamp, and were given a brunch menu, as well as the dinner menu. Here's the problem with the brunch menu: the drinks included in the brunch special were the regulars - bloody mary, screwdriver, maybe a mimosa, and then the kicker- domestic beers. Why would we get domestic beers in an Irish pub when what we really wanted was a Guinness? Ok, I didn't really want a Guinness, I was there for the food, but why would we want a domestic beer when José really wanted a Guinness. He loves them. We asked our server just to make sure, and even in Sunnyside, Guinness does not count as a domestic beer. So we ordered from the dinner menu. The Sunnyside burger and Shepherd's pie. It was, as I mentioned, very dark inside, so I had a very hard time getting good pictures. I hate using a flash in a restaurant. My not so great pictures of pretty great food-
The Guinness. No description necessary.

Soda bread. Comes with all entrees. It was delicious. Very moist as soda breads go, with plump golden raisins and caraway seeds. Sweet and salty.

Worst picture ever, so I will describe. Thick patty, ordered medium rare, came medium rare, (which doesn't happen often enough). The burger was topped with cheddar cheese, fried onions (these really made the burger) and Irish bacon, crisp and salty flowers of bacon, a huge garnish on an already piled-high plate. The bun was thin and soft, and the burger was accompanied by lettuce, tomatoes, sliced white onions, and 2 pickles. The fries were good, thick cut, mushy on the inside and crispy on the out. I wish we had thought to order the onion rings, which passed by our table at one point and looked amazing, but we were too full to do anything about it.

Shephard's Pie. Delicious. The potato topping was smooth and buttery, the top crisped perfectly. The ground beef was flavorful and well-seasoned, the peas and carrots were fresh, not frozen. It was a very large portion, and I didn't think I would be able to finish it, but even with the burger, we managed to clean both plates. I shouldn't be proud of that, I know. But I kind of am.We sat, ate, and chatted for over an hour, were not rushed at all, and really felt comfortable in our little booth. We talked about how much we liked the place, and how much we liked the neighborhood. It pains me now to think that just a few months ago, Sunnyside was something that I passed on my way home, never thinking to get off the train. The walk back was a history of my journey so far. Such a nice way to spend a slushy afternoon in February. We left the pub, and the neighborhood, full and happy. A little fatter, a little wiser.

PJ Horgan's
4217 Queens Blvd


  1. I'm loving your blog -- great project idea! You've been repping Sunnyside, my home base, well.

    Looks like you're not short on ideas, but just in case -- two Sunnyside places a block from the boulevard: Biryani House (43rd St just north of QB) is super-cheap, pretty good Indian -- most would say much better than Sonali. And some (not me -- a vegetarian) swear by the chicken at Pio Pio Riko (45th St & Greenpoint).

    You've already hit most of Sunnyside's best right-by-the-7 spots though. Keep it up!

  2. Thanks so much Lauren! I'm loving Sunnyside. I do really want to go to Pio Pio Riko, I'm sure I'll find a reason to go there soon enough. Thanks for reading, and commenting, I love it, and I love the suggestions!

  3. Too bad you've left Sunnyside. I would recommend Ariyoshi for excellent sushi

  4. i have been to biryani house, the food was not good,,
    as a sunnyside resident i have heard people talking which resturant is better
    sonali or biryani house since they are the only close by indian restaurant..
    i would say sonali