If you’ve ever wondered why you couldn’t get a decent corned beef on rye in the same place you got your Old Overholt Rye, your decidedly secular prayers have been answered. On Friday and Saturday night last weekend, word got out that another long-awaited H Street establishment would be doing a soft opening for Facebook fans and local friends alike. Just a few doors down from Dangerously Delicious Pies, Star and Shamrock has arrived.
Part Irish bar and part Jewish delicatessen, Star and Shamrock Tavern & Deli is a food and beverage mash-up that fits perfectly into the Atlas District’s increasingly eclectic nightlife and dining scene. We poked our heads in on Monday afternoon for a quick look around and a chat with the guys behind the pastrami-and-a-pint concept.
Star and Shamrock occupies the ground floors of two neighboring buildings that have been joined and renovated by the Taurus Development Group as an environmentally-conscious project. The Bearden Arts building boasts a green roof and the offices of DC Greenworks on the 2nd floor. No word yet on whether green beer will be making an appearance downstairs…
Step into the Star and Shamrock through either of the front doors and you’ll find yourself face to face with the impressive oak bar. Done up in the style of a traditional Irish pub it’s got plenty of dark wood and some intricate carving work. But take a closer look and you’ll find the carvings include a number of six-pointed stars in among the Celtic knots.
That interweaving of the two cultures repeats itself in the bar’s menu, as well. The beer list has the Irish standards you’d expect – including Guinness on draft – but it also includes the He’Brew line (“the Chosen Beer!”) and a decent selection of craft brews. Got a stronger thirst than that? Check out their impressive selection of Irish whiskeys that goes quite a bit deeper than Jameson’s and Bushmill’s.
And to soak up those beverages? Star and Shamrock’s owners, like many DC residents, long lamented the dearth of decent kosher-style delis around town. So they decided to do it themselves, focusing on quality meats – many of them roasted and prepped in-house – and a well-edited list of appetizers and snacks that take traditional Jewish dishes in creative directions.
Thrillist got the Star and Shamrock menu posted first, and a look at the sandwich offerings shows that this is not your run-of-the-mill deli. KFC’s Double Down? Puh-lease. Check out the Latke Madness. This is a double-decker Reuben that swaps out the rye bread for a trio of potato pancakes. It’s just one of a handful of specials that are waiting for anyone who doesn’t already have their ideal sandwich committed to memory.
As far as creative appetizers go, Kosher Kornies and Sadie’s Fried Matzo Balls seem to be getting the lion’s share of the early attention from soft opening attendees. And who can blame them for loving Hebrew National pigs-in-a-blanket or the best part of Passover? But fried chicken livers speak to traditionalists, and the Reuben Egg Roll Wraps sound like a dare waiting to happen.
The soft opening vibe is continuing all this week, as Star and Shamrock brings in additional beers, some new menu items and the all-important credit card machine. They’re hoping to have the deli open for lunch as early as next week, so you can drop by to try the food if you’re worried about the crowds at night.
You probably should be worried. Star and Shamrock (even without blue moons, pink hearts and their other breakfast cereal brethren) seems like a recipe for success on H Street.