Donnybrook Debuts Food Menu

IMG_0530 We stopped by Donnybrook, the semi-new Irish pub on Clinton Street last weekend to try out their brand new brunch.  The bar was opened a few months ago by the team behind Lucky Jack's on Orchard Street, Meghan and Diarmuid Joye and Declan Collins.

It's a small but well conceived and executed menu. An Irish breakfast, sausage, bacon, black pudding, scrambled eggs and beans. "Union Hall fish pie," cod and shrimp in a béchamel sauce with leeks and a cheddar crust. A ham, tomato and chedder pressed sandwich. And very fresh oysters on the half shell.

Meghan told us they planned to serve a more limited menu during the week — sandwiches and a few other items. Donnybrook features a beautiful, dark wood bar constructed by an Irish carpenter, no less. The long tables were made of salvaged wood from the Bronx Republican Club. There's also vintage wallpaper and lighting fixtures. Donnybrook is right in the heart of the Lower East Side bar scene, but Meghan says the place is meant to be a neighborhood hangout.

She and her partners worked at a few different East Village Irish bars, saved their pennies and opened Lucky Jack's four years ago. Meghan told us they're weathering the recession fairly well. While we were there last Sunday, people seemed to be discovering the new brunch spot – perhaps it was the smell of bacon wafting out the open windows.

Meghan also happens to be a member of Community Board 3, assigned to the committee that recommends to the State Liquor Authority which bars and restaurants should get licenses. Noting that she was not on the board when the Donnybrook license was considered, Meghan told us she thinks it's important to have someone on the committee with her perspective. She says it's important to her to balance community concerns about quality of life while supporting restaurants and bars trying to survive in the economic downturn.

Donnybrook's weekend brunch is offered from noon to 5. They're located at the corner of Clinton and Stanton.

The Fight for 365 Grand Street

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The food blogs are having a wonderful time poking fun at the squabbling over the fate of the old “Isabella’s Oven” location at 365 Grand Street. Neighborhood message boards lit up after last week’s controversial meeting of Community Board 3’s liquor licensing committee. Jesse Hartman’s proposal for an Italian restaurant in the shadow of the Seward Park Co-op with a full bar and an enclosed backyard was opposed by three residents toting petitions with over a hundred signatures. Over the weekend there were rumors that the Seward Park Housing Corp., the landlord, had decided to go with another applicant, an Asian fusion restaurant. But this morning Seward Park General Manager Frank Durant told us “there is no signed lease in place with anyone.”

Some residents expressed concerns about the full bar Hartman wants to operate and the closing time (4am). But most of the comments at the meeting and on the message boards express worries over late night noise wafting from the garden up to the apartments above. Durant said,“We will make sure that our residents and neighbors are protected from any disturbances. If that means having a sound proof enclosure or have lease provisions in place we will.”  He added, “the Board and Charles Greenthal Management will do whatever is necessary to make (sure) whomever leases that store (will) be able to succeed and be welcomed by the neighborhood.

At the community board meeting, Hartman agreed to withdraw his proposal in order to reach an agreement with opponents of “Grand Park.” He’s been having discussions since then with both supporters and opponents of the restaurant.  Today he met with an architect who has agreed to draw up sketches for a sound proofed backyard enclosure.