The rustic-chic look of reclaimed wood and brick is totally on-trend. So, too, a long list of craft beers on tap. But don't mistake Amity Ales for a cookie-cutter gastropub. For one thing, at least one of the beers served is brewed on premise. Also individualizing the place: Colorful, whimsical murals. Vintage photos. And an Irish-American menu that reflects the heritage of two of its co-owners, Helen and John Corry, who both hail from Ireland.
Interestingly, it's a Honduras-born chef, Ramon Munoz, who does justice to many of Ireland's culinary traditions. Munoz, who previously cooked at Corry's Ale House in Wantagh, accords proper respect to potatoes, an Irish staple. Fries, available as an appetizer or side, are hand-cut, irregularly shaped, nutty-sweet and entirely irresistible. House-made potato chips come out warm, crisp and just salty enough. You can also get deep-fried "smashed potato" balls laced with bacon and Cheddar.
Amity Ales' house-brewed Bunker ale pairs well with a hot-from-the-oven pretzel, served with a creamy cheddar ale sauce. Baked clams -- which are chopped and mixed with bread crumbs and herbs -- are topped with a lemon cream sauce. It's an unorthodox combination, but it somehow works. Breaking the no-cheese-with-seafood rule are bacon-wrapped shrimp served bubbling in a mozzarella-topped garlic cream sauce. A shame some of the shrimp are a bit overdone.
A real treat here is a roast loin of pork sandwich, the thinly sliced meat heaped onto garlic bread and topped with melted mozzarella; on the side is a pork gravy for dipping. A surfeit of slaw drips from otherwise fine fish tacos featuring nicely fried cod. On a chilly night, you'll want to settle in with the restaurant's hyper-comforting shepherd's pie. Or with a savory Guinness beef stew served over noodles. Chicken potpie -- more accurately, chicken stew crowned with a square of baked puff pastry -- is creamy and satisfying. And the place makes a commendable burger: thick, well-seasoned and juicy. You can get it with melted cheese or even an egg on top.
Currently, there are only two finales: chocolate mousse cake and cheesecake. While neither is made in house, both are quite simple -- and quite good.