Restaurant Review – Dooney’s Irish Pub in Delran, NJ

Readers of my restaurant reviews have asked me where I like to go for a good meal. After years of dining at various establishments throughout the Northeast, South and Midwest, I can write that I found an exceptional location where I’ve never been disappointed with a dish. That distinction goes to Dooney’s Irish Pub in Delran, New Jersey.

Dooney’s offers the best sandwiches and wraps I’ve had the pleasure of sampling. I’d challenge anyone to find a better Reuben on the market today; ($11) and it’s always my top choice for lunch. It takes a very special menu—at a pub, especially–to get me to order something other than a Reuben during the afternoon hours.

Somehow, Dooney’s inspired me to expand my culinary horizons. That’s an achievement in itself. After perusing the menu one day, I opted to try something a little more upscale that corned beef. I’m glad I did. The Prime Rib Sandwich tasted just like genuine prime rib. ($13.25) That well exceeded my expectations for a “sandwich.”

They recently added another called the Cuban ($12) to their repertoire. This one contains smoked ham, house roasted pork, swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon mustard on a grilled long roll. I first tried it when they offered it as a “special” one day. Many patrons must’ve agreed with me that it’s an outstanding dish. It’s now a part of the regular menu.

As an Irish-American, I really appreciate that Dooney’s understands Irish means more than beer. They started serving a sandwich called the Irish Grilled Ham Cheddar and Chutney. Smoked ham, Irish cheddar and mango cherry served on a toasted pretzel roll make up this one. It’s well worth the $10 price.

In keeping with the Irish theme they also feature the Blarney Burger. The menu describes it as a “house burger topped with corned beef, bacon, horseradish cheddar, cole slaw and spicy mustard on a pretzel roll.” It’s both delicious and filling which justifies the $13 cost.

For those who don’t care for meat, Dooney’s offers several vegetarian sandwiches. The Three Grain Veggie Burger has always been a favorite of mine. ($10) I really enjoy the new Grilled Veggie Sandwich. It delivers exactly what it promises and is well worth the $10 price tag. The dish includes yellow squash, zucchini, tomato red onion and basil with a roasted red pepper hummus spread on whole grain ciabatta. The spread gives this dish just the right tangy taste.

Dooney’s also features great salads, flatbread pizzas, and host of grilled chicken sandwiches. Regarding the latter, I’m partial to the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich ($11) and the Tuscan Chicken ($10.5)

Within the last few weeks, the establishment expanded the variety of entrees it serves. They offer phenomenal Fish and Chips. ($14) While I’ve always liked their Fish Tacos, when I’m in the mood for seafood, I have to splurge on this one.

No place earns the right to call itself “Irish” without properly preparing potatoes. Dooney’s makes its own potato chips. They’re the best I’ve ever tried and I know something about spuds. My stepmother’s a genius when it comes to making anything with potatoes. Even she loves Dooney’s potato chips. It’s quite an achievement when a potato aficionado likes what someone else does with potatoes.

In addition to the food, Dooney’s provides a great atmosphere. Whether sitting at the bar or in the main dining area, patrons are guaranteed a clear view of one of the large screen televisions throughout the building. For those who don’t care to suffer through Philadelphia sports woes while dining, Dooney’s offers an escape through patio seating during the warmer months.

Every weekend I get my Irish on. Diners in the South Jersey area should do the same. While St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year, it’s always a celebration of good food at Dooney’s. Slainte!


Ireland Comes to Delran – A Review of Dooney’s Pub and Restaurant

In the spirit of the season I know many readers will be looking for a great way to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day. I thought it very topical to review a local Irish Pub. If you happen to be spending this March 17th in the South Jersey area and are interested in a fun dining experience, I’d recommend Dooney’s Pub and Restaurant located in Delran, NJ.

With the understanding that there’s only so much one can do with the usual Irish triumvirate of ham, cabbage, and potatoes Dooney’s varies up the menu. I’ve mentioned in this column before how much I enjoy seafood. This eatery offers some of the more interesting ones I’ve tried. The Blackened Mahi Mahi Sandwich is one of my favorites. (Before readers criticize me for eating this, allow me to remind everyone: one of the perks of being human is sitting at the top of the food chain. Live with it.) I’ve also savored the Fish Tacos they serve. Both feature a spicy Thai mayo that gives these meals just the right pop without being so hot they ruin the dining experience.  I applaud Dooney’s for managing this difficult balance.

Dooney’s features a number of chicken dishes as well. I’m a big fan of the Tuscan Chicken Sandwich. People I know who don’t like chicken have added the following corollary to an old adage, “everything tastes like chicken especially chicken.” I’d point out to them that this is one of the more savory versions of it that I’ve had. It comes with roasted red peppers, spinach, and provolone cheese on a bun. I like the addition of the spinach in lieu of lettuce. It gives the fowl a slightly different flavor while still allowing the sandwich to “taste like chicken.” I happen to like this species of fowl.

Of course, no Irish establishment would be complete without corn beef on the menu. I rarely pass on an opportunity to have a Reuben for lunch. Dooney’s has a good one. They also offer a similar sandwich called an Irish Paddy Melt. I’d classify this as an upscale version of the Reuben. The latter comes with swiss cheese, caramelized onions and Russian Dressing on Grilled Rye. I like the sandwich and it’s very good. As a traditionalist, however, the Reuben appeals more to my tastes.

If you don’t like chicken and beef, Dooney’s recently added a Three Grain Veggie Burger to their menu. This is another unusual dish, but one that’s well worth trying. Typically anything with vegetables tastes a little bland. When I noticed it advertised I figured I’d have to drown it in ketchup to get it to taste good, but I was mistaken. This burger does have a pretty tasty flavor to it on its own. That alone makes it worth ordering. I’m a huge Reuben fan, but I’ve found myself switching over to the Veggie Burger whenever I stop at Dooney’s for lunch.               

No true Irish establishment would be worthy of the name unless they sold good potatoes. Dooney’s offers the best potato chips and French Fries around. To my palate they taste like they came from real, fresh potatoes. The ones I’ve had at other places have a processed or plain flavor. I don’t have that complaint about the ones they offer at Dooney’s. They’re crisp and would make Ireland proud.

To the relief of friend and foe alike, I quit drinking quite some time ago. I’ll have to leave the review of beer and spirits Dooney’s serves to people more qualified. Well, I don’t know that anybody would be, but let me say I should leave it to people who’ve sampled them in the recent past.

Dooney’s is a great place for a good meal. The friendly and professional demeanor of the staff makes the dining experience there all the more enjoyable. If you’re disappointed that St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year here’s an opportunity to celebrate it every day. For a little bit of Ireland in the South Jersey area, you can’t go wrong with Dooney’s Pub and Restaurant in Delran, NJ.