I have frequented The Harp Inn for a few years but have never written a review of it until now. The Rutgers Club of Southern California hangs out at The Harp during college football season because they order the television package that gets all our games. On any given Saturday in fall you will find 15-25 Alumni of Rutgers yelling, eating, drinking, and reminiscing on how cold it was in New Jersey during football season and how happy they are to live in California.
The Harp is a traditional Irish pub with all sorts of corned beef dishes including some wonderful corned beef and cabbage. They also have a wide variety of beers and Irish whiskeys. The atmosphere is extremely friendly and they have a large number of faithful patrons who end up hanging out while we are watching football.
Every time I come here I think about ordering something different but it never fails that I order the exact same thing, the Irish nachos. I figure I only come here between 6-8 times a year so why order anything besides what I think is the best thing on the menu. How can you go wrong with potatoes topped with cheese, corned beef, and green onions? You really can’t.
The nachos come out piping hot sitting on a double plate with the cheese melted and bubbly and the potatoes perfectly cooked. On the side comes a container of salsa and a container of sour cream. With no hesitation I add both to the nachos and dig on in.
On each forkful I try to get a combination of potato, cheese, corned beef, and the toppings to create the symphony of flavors that I crave from Sunday to Friday. Each item adds a unique quality to the dish and in unison work so well together. The potatoes are fork tender and add some texture while the cheese is stringy and rich. The corned beef adds the salty and fatty notes that cut through the richness of the cheese and the green onions add a little bite to the forkful.
Now you may think that the salsa and sour cream are unnecessary but you would think wrong! What are nachos, tortilla or potato, without salsa and sour cream? Incomplete. The salsa adds not only your serving of vegetables but the slight heat that is missing without it. The sour cream adds a much needed tang in addition to the creaminess that ties the whole forkful together. Those Irish nachos make me want to drive the forty-five minutes from Riverside every week but I might die of heart failure if I do so I am happy that football season is only a few months long and that I don’t like to pay for gas.
Next time you are in Costa Mesa and need a drink and some Irish grub stop by the Harp Inn. Even if you don’t need a drink or if you hate sports you can still sit outside on their patio and eat to your hearts content. You can also order the mozzarella sticks if the nachos aren’t enough and they are some of the best mozzarella sticks I’ve ever had. Perfectly fried, crispy, and not greasy at all. Check them out and have a great time at the Harp!
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