Remember that scene in Super Troopers when the chief threatens to pistol whip the next person who says “shenanigans” and Mac lures in Farva by asking the name of “that restaurant you like with all the goofy shit on the walls and the mozzarella sticks”?
It was all I could think about when a place called Shenanigans opened the decades-old New-England-fishing town-inspired tourist attraction Shoreline Village a few years ago, but thankfully (or unfortunately if you're into TGI Fridays), this is not that restaurant.
The latest establishment to nest in the oft-turned-over location about midway through the Village is actually an Irish bar, and not even the kind that most Americans open with a permanent Guinness handle and a menu full of pizza and wings.
Shenanigans might be less stoically Irish than the brown bar Auld Dubliner up the street (it loses points for its canary yellow exterior paint job and having cartoon shamrocks fluttering across the menu), but they still offer a range of authentic dishes from the Republic that are unlikely offerings for an eatery that calls Yardhouse and Tequila Jack's neighbors.
Most of the items offered have cheeky Irish names, from the Cork clam chowder to the Kilkenny burger to the pot o' gold shepherd's pie. I go when I'm craving the Murphy's corned beef and cabbage dinner or the Guinness Irish stew because it's not often I can afford to have time-consuming foods like this have a long, lovely simmer in my own kitchen.
The round of corned beef brisket comes in a big bowl with a half-head of cabbage and sliced carrots and potatoes. As per most food from the United Kingdom, the vegetables are pretty bland and benefit from a healthy dose of salt, however, the round of corned beef brisket is already spiced and salty, its meat flaking with the grain under the tender touch of a fork.
On cold days, nothing is more comforting than a bowl of Shenanigans Irish beef stew, a soup so hearty it makes Dinty Moore weep for mercy. The stew has nearly the same ingredient composition as the corned beef plate–carrots, potatoes, beef, celery instead of cabbage–but drenches it this time in a tomato-beef-and-beer broth for a sturdy Irish hug that coats from the inside out (don't forget to dip the soda bread!).
Shenanigans has no lunch specials, so you might have to splurge ($12) on dinner prices, which run all day, but in a way you're also paying for the view–you can take a seat on either of the restaurant's two patios and enjoy the view of the boats parked in the surrounding harbor.
Just don't stay for happy hour when wings and flautas hit the discount list, lest the offerings at Long Beach's Shenanigans begin to resemble the tacky, mozarella-stick restaurant of Super Troopers lore.
Shenanigans, 423 Shoreline Village Drive, Long Beach, (562) 333-6477
Sarah Bennett is a freelance journalist who has spent nearly a decade covering food, music, craft beer, arts, culture and all sorts of bizarro things that interest her for local, regional and national publications.