I generally don’t review restaurants in Davis for good reason. Davis being an extremely small (but extremely awesome!) college town, I have been to most of the restaurants here more times than I can count, and plus the variation here is sadly lacking: there are at least seven Thai restaurants, 8 Chinese restaurants, and 8 pizza restaurants. Not a knock on any kind of those foods at all, because they are some of my go to spots, however being as food obsessed as I am, I am always looking out for something new.
De Vere’s Irish Pub, which just opened its doors this week, definitely delivers on that need and then some. Located on E Street, between 2nd and 3rd, this is such a unique and welcome addition to the Davis dining scene. I was able to attend a soft opening here Wednesday night, and brought along three friends that are as obsessed with food as I am. Before I go into reviewing our time at De Vere’s, I’d like to quote my friend Lani, who summed it up quite nicely: “This place is so good…and so cozy….I don’t even feel like I’m in Davis.”
So, what made it seem like we were miles away from Davis, CA? First, the restaurant interior. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the pub last week while everything was still coming together, and I have to say I was seriously impressed at the final product. A gorgeous bar (imported from a real pub in Ireland!), dark wood chairs and tables, a ‘library,’ and a room with a TV set the stage, while antiques and pictures of the owners family from Ireland, along with pictures of Davis back in the day, really complete the experience. In a word, it is cozy, and extremely different than any other bar, or even restaurant, you will find in Davis. When I spoke to the owner last week, he emphasized how important it was for him that De Vere’s be a lively community meeting place for professors, students, and families, and I can already see that vision coming together. He told me an Irish saying, that went something like: “You go to the pub after you’re baptized, you go after you have your communion, you go after you get married, and everyone else goes after your funeral.” Being Irish, I have first hand experience of this, and I appreciated the sentiment for both it’s humor and applicability.
The other unique thing about De Vere’s is the cuisine, and how it separates itself from typical ‘pub food.’ Firstly, they make an insane amount of things in house. They butcher their own meats, brine their own bacon, stuff their own sausages, grind their own burgers, and bake their own Irish brown bread daily. This, plus their emphasis in farm-to-table food (what’s up Davis Farmers’ Market), truly puts them in a category of their own. Additionally, their head chef comes straight out of working at The Kitchen in Sacramento, one of my most lusted after restaurants (any takers want to bring me? I won’t give up until it happens).
So now that my food philosophy rant is over…on to the actual food. The soft opening event we went to was actually a joint event with Sudwerk’s, in which Sud’s brought over a couple of their beers (including the extremely delicious Aggie Lager). The four of us all ordered pints (which come automatically as 20 oz., unless you specify smaller). To go with the brews, we ordered some Chips and Dips (fries and dipping sauces), and Parnell’s Potato Boats (crispy potato skins, filled with Dubliner cheddar and house made Irish bacon, served w/ sour cream).
Both of these appetizers were great. We loved the dipping sauces for the chips, and the house made Irish bacon was a great touch on the potato boats. These items are also offered during De Vere’s happy hour, which seems like an awesome deal. And I love a good happy hour.
I obviously ordered the Mac and Cheese (with American bacon), as my entree. I am kind of a mac and cheese freak, and this definitely met my expectations. The noodles were the perfect doneness, and the breadcrumbs on top were a good textural contrast. This is a definite ‘order again.’
Lani and Avery chose to split the Pig Sliders (pork sliders marinated in De Vere’s barbecue sauce, crispy onions, and jack cheese, served with cole slaw). The ever eloquent Lani Chan exclaimed how much she loved the cole slaw, when apparently she doesn’t even like side dish in real life. Oh, and the pork sliders themselves – just the right amount of crisp to keep them from being soggy, but still wonderfully tender.
Chelsea got the Irish American Grilled Cheese (Dubliner and American cheeses with tomato, served with your choice of bread) and the side soup of the day, which was BACON and Leek. I emphasize the bacon because the soup was very bacony without being overwhelming, although let’s be real there is no such thing as too much bacon. The grilled cheese was awesome too, and Dubliner just happens to be my favorite cheese.
Because I like to take full advantage of being 21, I had to try one of the cocktails. I chose the Pink Lady, which is Bombay Sapphire gin, Laird’s Applejack, fresh lime juice, and grenadine. While I looked pretty stupid drinking this dainty beverage while everyone around me was enjoying frosty pints, I don’t regret my decision because this cocktail was refreshment at it’s finest.
Overall, I really recommend going here. Like, now. It is a great addition to the Davis dining (and drinking!) scene, and there really is something for everyone. When it gets up and running there will be trivia, Sunday brunches (with BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS), and a Whiskey Society, plus the awesome food and ambiance will always be there. So what are you waiting for?!