My Harford County friends had me hooked when they described the fried green tomatoes at Sean Bolan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant: crisp panko-dusted slices topped with jumbo-lump crabmeat and drizzled with spicy rémoulade sauce. I had to try them—and they were good. The restaurant may advertise its ethnic roots, but its kitchen is also turning out some impressive American fare, often fusing the two cuisines. As an appetizer, a giant mess of mussels is steamed in white wine and Harp Lager dotted with tomato bits and liberally sprinkled with garlic. A warm loaf of bread makes for good dipping in the broth. And the red pepper, crab, and Gouda soup is an ethereal purée of the ingredients—fire-roasted red peppers, smoked cheese, and lump crab—finished with a touch of honey.
Sean Bolan’s has been a mainstay on Bel Air’s Main Street and draws a fun group of loyal locals. If you’re in the area, stop by for a drink in the lower-level bar or head upstairs to the dark-wood dining room for a bite to eat. You’ll feel welcome wherever you sit.
This is a casual spot, and the service reflects that. Our waitress was really sweet but there were some timing issues. We were still in the midst of our appetizers, when the entrees arrived. We ended up with a gaggle of plates crammed onto the four-top table.
Given our Irish pub location, we went traditional with the fish and chips, a house specialty, for our main course. The succulent cod filet was coated in a house-made Guinness and Harp batter and fried to a golden hue. There were enough fries to share.
The chef is known for his specials of the day and we couldn’t resist ordering the Gorgonzola-encrusted petite filet with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. The dish was very good, but the steak was cooked past the medium rare we requested.
We loved the homeyness of the chicken pot pie with its bounty of meat, corn, carrots, peas, and potatoes in a thick gravy. The crisscross strips of puff pastry were a nice touch.
We finished with a wonderful, homemade bread pudding, topped with cinnamon and crème anglaise, and, for the serious chocoholic, we recommend the volcano cake, a warm chocolate cake oozing chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate syrup.
We were happy to discover that Sean Bolan’s manages to blend its owners’ heritage in County Tipperary with its roots in a Baltimore exurb.