Billing itself as an Irish gastropub, Pub 32 has quietly opened its doors with the promise of a unique, atypical pub experience. In my mind, just using the term "gastropub" in self-description raises the bar in terms of expectations. So we set out to see if Pub 32 makes the grade.
Located at 8383 S. Tamiami Trail, approximately half a mile south of the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall, Pub 32 can be found in a small strip that also includes First Watch and J Ryan’s. With a typical glass store front, overhead signage and a small bistro sign out front, the entry to Pub 32 blends inconspicuously into the surrounding building. Once inside, however, you will notice great attention to Irish pub authenticity. This includes warm, dark woods, tin ceilings, tile, stone, flat screen TVs, a bar with premium Irish drafts, hard cider, Irish whiskeys, high-top tables, wooden blinds and, of course, a warm Irish welcome. The dining room has a number of tables and a row of “Irish snuggers” for a cozy dining experience. There's also a private room for dining and special events, such as Irish whiskey tastings.
As one would expect from an Irish gastropub, the menu offers traditional Irish dishes with an updated gourmet twist. With a good selection of starters, soups, salads, seafood, beef, lamb and nightly specials, the menu is large but not overwhelming. For our meals we chose the following:
- Soda Bread: Fresh baked Irish soda bread with Irish butter. $4.00 Fresh, soft, slightly dry and not too dense. A delightful treat to start the meal.
- Pub Salad: Mix of field greens, bleu cheese, pickled onions, cucumber, spiced walnuts and blistered cherry tomatoes, with sweet malt vinaigrette. $8.00 A great collection of fresh greens, flavors, colors and textures … a forkful of flavor!
- Black and Bleu Salad: Mixed field greens, spinach leaves, bleu cheese crumbles, blistered cherry tomatoes and onion. $10.00 A very fresh, richly flavored salad. The blistered tomatoes added a nice color and flavor combination.
- Pan Seared Scallops: Served with pork belly confit and corn puree. $10.00 A beautiful presentation and delicious combination of flavors and textures from the fresh, sweet scallops, salty-smoky confit and sweet corn purée. Loved it!
- Chicken Pot Pie: Roasted organic chicken with garden vegetables in a supreme sauce on a puffed pastry. $14.00 A very flaky puff pastry shell filled with tender pieces of chicken and firm veggies in a creamy, silky-smooth sauce.
- Fish and Chips: North Atlantic cod in our own Smithwick’s beer batter, served with hand cut chips. $10.00/$14.00 This is the real deal! Nicely battered, fresh, moist cod, flaky and light. The chips were dark and flavorful, a chip connoisseur’s delight.
- Pub 32 Signature Pork Ribs: Our very own pub style ribs with whiskey marmalade glaze, served with hand cut chips. $15.00/$24.00 Tender, fall-off-the-bone deliciousness with a dark and slightly sweet sauce. Once again, the chips were outstanding.
- Grilled Salmon: Charbroiled and finished with a chili Guinness glaze, served with potato cakes. $16.00 The salmon was done exactly as requested: fresh, moist, flaky and flavorful. The potato cakes were as good as my mother’s potato latkes!
- Whiskey Steak (14 oz. Rib Eye): Certified Angus, aged 21 days, grilled and finished with “Black Bush” mushroom sauce. Served with seasonal vegetables and champ. $28.00 A large, tenderized piece of meat, full of rich flavor and butter soft. We asked for the sauce on the side, which allowed us to control the amount of added flavor. Prepared as requested.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding: An Irish classic with a touch of vanilla ice cream. $8.00 A very simple and elegant presentation, great texture and not overly sweet … beautiful to look at and even better to eat!
As one would expect, Pub 32 offers a full bar service with a great selection of Irish whiskey, Irish and domestic beers, wine, hard cider, soft drinks and specialty drinks, along with Irish coffees to accompany your meal. We found the wait staff to be very friendly and knowledgeable, especially when explaining the nuances and preparation of specific dishes. The service was quick, efficient and unobtrusive.
With an air of Irish authenticity, a great selection of Irish beers and whiskey, a gastronomic focus on quality Irish food and the recent addition of evening entertainment, it is clear to me Pub 32 is providing an extraordinary Irish pub experience.
8383 South Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34238