A New Take on Irish Food in Astoria
Walking into Passage, one might think you have clicked your heels and landed in a bar in Ireland. Mike Mansfield’s intention was not far from that; he was trying to bring the air of his country to his third outpost in Queens alongside Banter and Cuckoo’s Nest. Hanging you’ll find signs from the motherland that detail distances of towns in Ireland to emulate the typical décor you’d find walking into any pub on the streets of Waterford, a small fishing town conquered by Vikings. While it does stick true to the Irish roots, one might become puzzled at the sight of an Elvis headpiece behind the bar, but Passage does things their own way from the drinks to its Irish food.
A combination of high and low tables allows you to choose the feel that you’re looking for. If you’re just looking to down a drink, look no further than to to your left and you’ll see some impressive towers imported from Ireland atop NY bluestone. Passage is another testament to grounding Irish roots in New York.
Guinness stands loud and proud on both ends of the towers. For being an Irish bar, Guinness isn’t the main player; what you’ll find is one of, if not the largest, selection of Irish whiskeys. Currently the restaurant has a total of 87 different types. As a new one comes in, it is added to the blackboard. Soon, we hope to see it fully incorporated with little black showing.
Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile). Let No Man Steal Your Thyme. The Sweetest Thing. All their cocktails are named after Irish songs. You might find yourself smiling when you take a sip and find a smooth combination of Uisce Beatha Irish Whiskey, ginger beer, fresh lemon juice and muddled strawberries. I sure did.
Unusual combinations of a traditional Irish dish are one of Passage’s fortes. Case and point: Irish breakfast flatbread. Irish sausage, Irish bacon, black and white pudding, Irish beans and two fried eggs on an Irish brown sauce flatbread. Something for an Irish man but also for someone trying to taste something new. Also on the menu, you’ll find mac n’ cheese with Argadh strawberry crust. Better yet, all cheese originates from Ireland.
A take on the Shepard’s pie, Passage has taken traditional this Irish food staple and spiced it up by incorporating Irish curry and switching the protein to minced lamb. Beautifully presented in a blue ramekin, don’t let the size deceive you. While it looks small, but once your spoon plunges into the crispy crust of mashed potatoes, you’ll realize it is a hearty dish.
Passage takes the Irish experience seriously; you’ll hear Irish accents from tables around you as well as some of the staff. It has done a great job of inviting in people to try the twist on fare while still making those from back home happy. Kitchens open until 3am, so if you can’t make it during the day, be sure to stop in after a night out. It may be the only option open in the area.