Alexandria, VA – Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub, 713 King St. has been part of Old Town Alexandria since 1978. If you haven’t been there, you really should check it out. This authentic Irish Pub was opened by friends and family to bring a bit of Irish heritage and entertainment to Alexandria. The dining area shares space with a long polished dark wood bar where you can select from an assortment of Irish beers and ales along with varieties from around the world and local brewers. Of course, there is a fine selection of Irish whisky to help warm you up on these cold winter evenings. The dining room is divided by a two-sided fireplace and if you are lucky, you can sit at a table next to the glowing logs. The second floor is available for special parties, events, and other gatherings. Many evenings feature live music ranging from soft rock and country to rousing Irish bands and vocals. There are several large TVs hanging over the bar so you can get your game on while sipping on a Guinness.
I purposely ordered carryout for my meal because I know many of you still prefer to dine at home rather than inside a restaurant. Each of the dishes were well prepared and nicely packaged. I had no leaks from any of the foam and plastic containers. My drive home took about 15 minutes and everything was still hot and ready to eat. Murphy’s does have outdoor seating when weather permits.
I enjoyed a plate of oysters on the half shell while I waited for my carryout order. The oysters come from Murphy’s own oyster beds and are some of the best local ones I have had the privilege to slurp. Use the mignonette or mix up your own cocktail sauce with the horseradish and ketchup provided, give everything a good squirt of fresh lemon juice, and dive in. These are big and briny, and served up icy cold.
With a big menu to choose from, I decided I had to try the Irish Egg Rolls that were four pieces of Chinese style egg rolls stuffed with our house corn beef, cabbage, and potatoes. The dipping sauce was tangy, sweet, and sour. I will tell you that if we ever have a meal together at Murphy’s, you better order your own because I’m not sharing these crispy bundles. To make sure the vegetarians are well taken care of, there are a variety of salads available. I ordered the Greek Salad which was loaded with chopped romaine lettuce, kalamata olives, cucumber, onion, peppers, capers, tomatoes, and feta cheese with a container of the house Greek vinaigrette. The salad was loaded with so many veggies, there was hardly any room for the lettuce. That’s always a good thing as my mother always told me to eat the special stuff first, not the lettuce. The vinaigrette was able to stand up well to the variety of veg which made me happy. For a light meal, Chef Raul will be happy to add some grilled salmon, shrimp, or one of the other proteins that are available for an extra charge.
Entrees cover a wide variety of Irish dishes including a hearty Irish Stew loaded with beef, celery, potatoes, carrots, peas, and onions in a beef broth. There’s also Beer Battered Fish and Chips made with fresh North Atlantic cod fillets lightly fried in Murphy’s signature beer batter and served with Murphy’s cottage fries, and cole slaw. Also available is a platter of Bangers & Mash, a traditional Irish dish of sausage and mashed potatoes, topped with green peas and gravy. Because India was once part of the British Empire, Indian cooking is part of the Irish lexicon. Murphy’s serves up Chicken Curry made with large chunks of chicken and onions simmered in a homemade curry sauce and served over a bed of rice pilaf. There are occasional specials offered outside of the daily offerings. Ask if Chef Raul has made oyster stew that day. I tell people I don’t like cooked oysters but I love this stew. It is rich and buttery and flavorful. It comes with crackers but I just downed the soup straight out of the container, no crackers necessary. Besides, I wanted to savor all of the broth and not ‘waste’ a drop on crackers. There is a nice variety of burgers and sandwiches plus seafood dishes such as broiled salmon, crab cakes, and a daily seafood taco special.
I opted for two of my favorites for entrees. Murphy’s Shephard’s Pie is made with slow cooked ground beef and lamb mixed in a light gravy sauce with peas, corn, and carrots. It’s topped with mashed potato and cheese then baked. The dish would make an Irish mother proud. The beef and lamb mixture was well seasoned and loaded with flavor. And what could be bad about mashed potatoes topped with melted cheese. The portion is definitely big enough to share. I also chose the Jameson Strip Steak since so many folks on Alexandria Curbside Dining on Facebook are always asking about a good steak. Murphy’s provides a tender charbroiled, 12 oz. New York Strip seasoned with spices and Jameson’s Irish Whiskey served with baked potato and fresh vegetables. The flavor was great – you could definitely taste the seasonings without being overpowered by them. The baked potato came with butter and a container of sour cream. The veg that night was fresh broccoli tops that were just cooked to crunchy. If you order a steak, be sure to order it a degree less than what you like because it will continue to cook a bit in the carryout container.
In addition to lunch and dinner, stop by for Sunday Brunch from 10 am to 3 pm. The menu includes American standards like traditional or crab cake benedict, French toast, pancakes, and sausage biscuits and gravy. I would definitely suggest the American breakfast of corned beef hash served with apples, grits, eggs, and a biscuit. You might also like the Trad Irish Breki with Irish rashers, Irish bangers, black & white pudding, tomatoes, and a biscuit.
March is Irish-American Heritage Month and Murphy’s is celebrating with a St. Patrick’s Menu to go available all month. The special menu offers family size meals that can feed from 6 -8 people. Items include Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips, Irish Stew, Corned Beef and Cabbage, and Bangers and Mash. Get some Irish soda bread to accompany any one of these feasts.
Get on over to Murphy’s and have a pint, eat some oysters, and enjoy a bowl of Irish stew. Everyone there is always friendly and happy to serve you a great meal for a reasonable price.
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Murphy’s Own Back Creek Oysters from Chesapeake Wild
Murphy’s Irish Pub is the owner of Chesapeake Wild Seafood. They work with local watermen to ensure that guests are getting fresh, local seafood delivered to their plate. Fish are always on the move and Chesapeake Wild focuses on what is currently available in the Chesapeake Bay and local waters to bring a variety of in-season, sustainable seafood. They harvest clams, oysters, and fish from local fishing areas like the lower Chesapeake Bay, Lynnhaven Inlet, Hungars Creek, and the Atlantic Ocean. Chesapeake Wild is committed to following sustainable seafood practices. This ensures that when the fishing boats go out to harvest wild seafood, the wild seafood will be there. Nothing matches the freshness and taste of wild seafood.
The oysters served at both the Alexandria and Virginia Beach restaurants come from Chesapeake Wild come from their own beds. These Back Creek mollusks are large and briny beauties with a great fresh flavor. They are delicious raw or cooked. Try them raw or in oyster stew when it’s available.