Happily, at Dubliner (2000 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, 561-630-0590), their new Irish place in Palm Beach Gardens, Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich (who also own Dada in Delray Beach) offer less visceral fare no kidneys here! They've taken the concept of "pub" and given it sparkle, tweaking it for an audience of boomers and X-ers there's valet parking and photos of edgy intellectuals on the walls: Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw. You'll find polished-up Irish standards smoked poached salmon, Guinness fondue, beef and lamb stew, corned beef and cabbage.
We only sampled appetizers and desserts, but they were mostly hits chicken drums marinated in a shiny, tart-sweet Guinness and honey glaze ($8.50) were completely addictive; a fresh and sprightly chop-chop salad ($7) composed of frisée, spring mix, and romaine was sprinkled with walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette; Irish corned beef sliders came on miniature burger buns to slather with sweet mustard and horseradish cream. A potato pancake ($6) of fried mashed potatoes served with honey, sour cream, and applesauce didn't suit our New Yorker, but we of Irish ancestry set him straight. By that time, we'd been recognized (full disclosure: I worked for several years as editor of Mayo's magazine, Closer) and the free sweets were arriving fast and furious: our desserts (all $5.50) were pretty fabulous. We particularly loved Grandma's oatmeal cake, which I understand originates from the Irish manager's grandmother, a moist and spicy winter treat; and the banana bread pudding, "steeped in Jameson's whisky for a day." The band climbed up on stage and launched into (authentically not-Irish) Earth, Wind & Fire tunes. Who knew happiness was this easy?