A Quarter Celtic on My Dad’s Side
Celtic Fare Is the Name of the Game at Quarter Celtic
Being a single adult just entering their thirties, I have few issues with life, though one still stands out. See, when the Celtic Festival comes to town, I always go out and buy a kilt. Our family name doesn’t have a tartan attached to it, though with enough digging and searching, I’m sure I could find our exact Celtic heritage and determine the family name our tartan would be attached to. Either way, I have a couple nice kilts (and some really sexy ones) floating around my closet, and I just don’t feel like I have enough occasions to wear them out. They’re not an every day outfit, and you get too many funny looks at big formal occasions where being the center of attention isn’t in the event’s best interest, so I’m left with wearing it when the festival comes back through town or when I want to do terrible cartwheels alone in the park until one of the neighbors complains and calls the police. The point is, I need more reasons to kilt it up publicly, so I figured it was time to dive into the Irish scene and visit Quarter Celtic Brewpub.
You may remember that we’ve done some pieces about Quarter Celtic before that were focused primarily on their beer. So I’ll save you the effort of reading through what you already know; though if you missed those pieces, you can find them on our website to get caught up. This is just about the food.
Quarter Celtic Brewpub is officially in two locations now, helping supply the Nob Hill and Northeast Heights communities with beer and food in equal measure. Consistency is key, with exectuive chef Drew Orvlosky III leading the charge for both locations in terms of menu choices and rotating specials, making sure Quarter Celtic doesn’t have “the better location” conundrum some chain restaurants suffer from.
The first thing I dived into was the poutine ($6.99) which is a bed of crispy, crunchy French fries topped with globs of cheese and brown gravy. The plate didn’t last long in front of me as I tore through it voraciously because how does anyone not adore and treasure poutine? The cheese was melted wonderfully, leaving long, gooey trails behind with each bite. The gravy was hot, creamy and smothered the fries perfectly. It’s some of the best poutine I’ve had in New Mexico, and if you want a proper introduction to the dish, this is my new go-to recommendation.
Next up was the pork belly BLT ($9.50), featuring grilled pork belly on sourdough with jalapeño aioli, lettuce and tomato. The bread was toasted just right, giving it a little crispy kickback when you bit into it, but not enough to injure roof of your mouth. The pork belly had enough fat on it to give it juiciness, with the rest of it being crunchy with all those wonderful pork belly flavors dripping into the bread. Add on the jalapeño aioli, and you get a hot little bump at the back of your throat that brings the rest of the flavors up with it. It’s enough of a twist on the classic BLT formula to make it stand on its own without the need for name recognition.
Then it was on to the Shepherd’s Pie ($10.95), a Celtic staple that is arguably one of my favorite things to eat, period. Their version features a mix of ground lamb and beef, fresh carrots, peas and onions topped with mashed potatoes and cheese and is made with their Quarter Porter. Additionally, you can toss some pie crust on there to give it that traditional feel. It was exactly what I was looking for in a shepherd’s pie, with the meat being juicy and steaming, the veggies giving texture and flavor and more cheese and mashed potatoes than I knew what to do with. The pie crust added a bit of sturdiness to the dish, allowing the whole of it to be just killer. The Quarter Porter put a bit of richness into the sauce and meat that made it feel a little more elaborate and multi-dimensional than the usual takes on this dish, and it’s just really good.
I finished dinner off with the tiramisu, which was honestly one of the largest pieces of cake I have been served in a restaurant. Finding that delicate balance between bitter coffee and delightfully sweet creaminess is difficult, but the Quarter Celtic team put out a piece of tiramisu worth ranting over. Granted, I was very full by the point in the meal, I still struggled to even get through a quarter of the piece before I had to tap out from being legitimately too full to continue.
I sat down with Orvlosky to ask about their approach to food, and what the food philosophy of the kitchen is. “We strive to bring flavorful, fresh, from scratch food to the table as much as possible. There is a big sense of pride that goes into the Quarter Celic, so it feels like a family and you never wanna let family down. When you have quality beer and food together, it’s hard to beat!”
I do feel a bit of sadness that fall is here, as the weather begins to cool, since kilt season is mostly over. My thighs were not made to resist the cold, and a gentle breeze this time of year can be devastating in something with that much air flow. But, rest assured, come spring time, I’ll be kilting it up at Quarter Celtic, because much like they said, it feels like being surrounded by family. That’s a comfort we all need nowadays.
1100 San Mateo Blvd. NE Ste. 50
Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Vibe: Friendly, open spaced Irish pub
Alibi Recommends: Shepherd’s Pie, Tiramisu