Corned Beef and Cabbage

Jason: 3.5 stars
Nicole: 3.5 (close 4) stars
Elliott: Thumbs Up

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

We headed to Portland for a little getaway and to take Elliott to see the Lego exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).  Since it was St. Patrick’s Day on Friday we decided to head to Kell’s Irish Pub downtown for corned beef and cabbage.  From what I’ve read corned beef is a very traditional Irish meat, but it was the Irish-Americans that popularized pairing it with cabbage.  Regardless, it’s now a St. Patrick’s day stand-by.

We left early from Eugene, for the 2 hour drive to Portland, as we wanted to be at the pub right when it opened.  We knew it would be packed for the holiday.  Unfortunately for us there was no parking anywhere near the pub.  We ended up parking on the top floor of a parking garage about 6 blocks away.  It was pouring down rain.  By the time we got there all of the tables in the restaurant were filled and it was an hour wait.  We were offered a table in the over flow section on the 2nd floor which quickly filled up as well with other hungry patrons.  The tent area where all of the Irish dancing and music is was closed to minors except on Sunday (Family Day), which was unfortunate for us.  It would have been fun for Elliott and Miles to have seen the entertainment.

Our server at Kell’s was very accommodating with the kids, and we ordered two plates of corned beef and cabbage for the four of us to share, along with a side of french fries and rolls to keep the kids happy.


corned beef and cabbage at kells pub in portland oregon


My family, on both my dad’s and mom’s side, has roots in Ireland.  My direct ancestors, through my dad, immigrated into Canada and then into Michigan.  So…go Irish!  I have had corned beef and cabbage before, and I like it.  The meat is tender and salty and it pairs nicely with the cabbage, which is more of a bland vegetable.  Kell’s had a really nice mustard gravy that added a bit of a kick and flavor.  I don’t do back flips for the dish, and really only order it on St. Patrick’s day.


This is not a dish I’d order off a menu, but on St. Patrick’s day that’s what you do.  The meat was fork tender and I really enjoyed the mashed potatoes and carrots with it.  I wish my plate had more of the mustard sauce.  It seems that every time we sit down to a dish up to this point, I’m so hungry!  I was eager to get our plates at Kell’s and it did not disappoint.  I mentioned to Jason that the way our house is, the time or two I’ve made corned beef and cabbage at home it really “smelled up” the house.  This is certainly one advantage of eating out for this holiday.  A disadvantage…no leftovers for Reuben sandwiches!

Will Kids Like It?

Elliott was a fan of the corned beef, but didn’t care for the cabbage.  I think if you tell kids that it tastes a little like a hot dog they will like the meat (“hot dog steak!)”.  Miles liked both the little bit of meat he tried and, of course, the potatoes and carrots.  He actually spit out the cabbage which was a first.  Not sure if it had to do with the flavor or texture, but we tried it twice with the same result.

St Patricks Day Kells Portland

Questions For You

What’s your favorite St Patrick’s Day meal?