The Little Things Count

McGurk's never disappoints, because it gets the little things right

Other entrées more than hold their own. Pesto tortellini comes in a cream sauce that's almost sweet, but that can be cut through by requesting extra diced tomatoes. For heartier appetites, the "Irishman in the Bronx" (a fourteen-ounce New York strip steak with garlic champ and green beans) satisfies without qualification. The only weak spot I found among the main dishes was the "Dubliner," an open-faced sandwich of shaved roast beef, sautéed onions and mushrooms, and Murphy's Amber barbecue sauce. It suffered from a sauce too sweet and heavy to allow the more delicate onion and mushroom flavors to surface and from an overly toasted sourdough hoagie on bottom that competed against the meat for your canine teeth's attention.

You could probably count on one hand the number of Irish pubs worldwide (or at least across the Midwest) worthy of visiting just for dessert. And although McGurk's regular sweet-tooth offerings top out at two -- a whiskey bread pudding and a Bailey's cheesecake -- both are whopping mounds of sweet sublimity. First there's the presentation: ridiculously plump berries (black for the cheesecake, rasp for the bread pudding) and molasses-thick sauces (fudge and raspberry, respectively) adorn the plate with an artistry that's almost embarrassing for such casual environs. The bread pudding, equipped with a good crust, spiked heavily with nutmeg and topped with the aforementioned raspberry sauce, hits the palate in a fugue of welcome textures and tastes.

At McGurk's, the service (exemplified here by Casey Kusiak) is attentive to detail and friendly without being overbearing.
Jennifer Silverberg
At McGurk's, the service (exemplified here by Casey Kusiak) is attentive to detail and friendly without being overbearing.

Location Info


John D. McGurk's Irish Pub

1200 Russell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63104

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Soulard


Chicken wings (one-pound platter) $6.25
Homemade Irish stew $8.95
Fish and chips $7.95
Irishman in the Bronx $16.95
Whiskey bread pudding $4.50

314-776-8309. Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Sat.; 10 a.m.-midnight Sun.

1200 Russell, St. Louis

The subtler-tasting cheesecake, meanwhile, goes down so smooth and cool that my tongue kept thinking it was having ice cream. In fact, the only contention worth making against the desserts is that they're just too much. After the overwhelming bounteousness of a full meal here, it might be wise to do right by your digestive system and settle in with a Bailey's and coffee instead.

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