On the Emerald Isle, you’re about as likely to spot a leprechaun as you are an Irish egg roll, but here in Washington the deep-fried cylinders stuffed with a Reuben-esque combination of corned beef, cabbage, and cheese are a common pub snack. Blame the creation on our American love of fusion food and convenience. It’s no easy task trying to consume a towering Reuben at a Jewish deli or a platter of corned beef and cabbage at a pub. And if you’ve ever worked in the restaurant industry, you know it’s ideal to use as many of the same ingredients in different dishes as possible. Thus these finger snacks packed with items from the oft-adjoining sandwich menu are popular with customers and owners alike. Plus they’re mighty tasty with a pint of Guinness—and even better still after drinking three.
Crispy Reuben Rolls at Columbia Firehouse
While many menus boasting the Irish egg roll use corned beef elsewhere, chef James Wolfe makes his own brisket specifically for the popular appetizer. The meat is then mixed with sauerkraut, Gruyère cheese, and caraway seeds (for a hint of rye bread flavoring), deep-fried, and served alongside house-made Russian dressing for dunking.
Killarney Cabbage Wraps at Galway Bay Irish Pub
Guy Fieri coined the term “Irish sushi” for this Annapolis pub’s riff on the Irish egg roll during his stop there on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Instead of deep-fried rolls you’ll find a mix of mashed potato, cabbage, and corned beef wrapped tightly in steamed green cabbage leaves, served with a warm whole-grain mustard sauce. Still craving fried food? Beer-battered bits of the same meat come in “popper” form.
Reuben Rolls at Irish Whiskey
A touch lighter than some of the other versions, the spring-roll-like wraps at this Dupont whiskey bar are made with house-cured corned beef and plenty of tangy cabbage. They’re served with a creamy dipping sauce of mustard and crème fraîche.
Don’t want any of that healthy green cabbage contaminating your fried food? This Sterling pub serves up more of a Japanese take than a Chinese treat. A whole Irish pork banger is dipped in a tempura-style Guinness batter, flash-fried, and served with warm mustard sauce.
Gaelic Bite Spring Rolls at the Old Brogue
It would be a challenge to take down the rolls at this homey Great Falls restaurant and bar in a single bite. The rotund cylinders are filled with a mix of corned beef, cabbage, and warm mashed potatoes, and served with honey mustard sauce.
P. Brennan’s Spring Rolls
More of a turkey Reuben fan than the original version with corned beef? Head to this Arlington watering hole, which serves a spring roll version of the sandwich stuffed with either bird or beast, as well as cabbage and a Thousand Island dipping sauce.
Short Rib and Cheddar Spring Rolls at P.J. Clarke’s
Think of this appetizer as the downtown steakhouse riff on the Irish egg roll. Instead of corned beef and cabbage the crispy cylinders are stuffed with a mix of Guinness-braised short ribs, sharp Wisconsin cheddar, and scallion mashed potatoes. On the side: a horseradish cream sauce (and hopefully a rye Manhattan).
Reuben Egg Roll Wraps at the Star & Shamrock
Jewish deli meets Irish pub at this H Street watering hole, where the two cultures combine in playful mashups like a drink of Dr. Brown’s ginger ale and Jameson. Thick appetizer egg rolls arrive stuffed with house-brined and cooked corned beef and a Russian dipping sauce.