8 Irish Egg Rolls to Try for St. Patrick’s Day

A fusion snack food that’s easy to swallow.

Reuben rolls at Irish Whiskey are served with a dipping sauce of mustard and crème fraîche. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

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.

Irish Sausage Rolls at O’Faolains Irish Pub

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

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.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.