The Alhambra Irish House serves a portion of fish and chips ($22) large enough to elicit a “Yabba Dabba Doo!” from the brontosaurus burger-loving Fred Flintstone. My serving of the Icelandic haddock wasn’t that much smaller than a handheld Celtic harp.

The tender white flesh was battered and fried in a crispy, golden coat, flecked with bright green parsley. Even after slicing the fish in half to share with my friends at the table, I still had enough left over to take home for a midnight snack. A ramekin of tartar sauce nestled itself among mounds of hand-cut fries, which never seemed to get any smaller even after eating a few handfuls.

Proprietor Erik Barry, who also owns St. Stephen’s Green in Mountain View, should never have to contend with Yelp complaints of paltry serving sizes.

Where St. Stephen’s Green leads with its identity as a bustling sports bar, the Alhambra’s whale-blue and exposed brick walls encourage a more relaxed atmosphere for family gatherings and date nights. Two TV screens stare out from above the bar, but at dinnertime the screens were muted while easy listening pop songs played in the background. There is a note on the menu about the “craic,” an Irish term for having a good time, but for now that seems to be limited to a Tuesday night of trivia and a selection of a dozen or more draft beers.

Martins West, which closed in June, used to occupy this space—a former saloon and theater dating back to 1896. With an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad ($10) as a starter, the newly formed Alhambra kitchen announced its intention to become a serious gastropub. This wasn’t a dish that needed to be drowned out by a pint of Guinness (20 oz. $9). The salad was smartly composed with leafy stems of micro arugula and a higher ratio of tomatoes to watermelon. Radishes were diced as thin as matchsticks. But the surprise ingredients were the little green dollops of smashed peas. At first, we thought guacamole had been plated as a mistake. But when you dragged the arugula and a cubed piece of tomato through it, this lemony mash added an unexpected tang and vigor to a simple and straightforward salad.

Anticipating a heavy shepherd’s pie ($18), we also tried a decidedly un-Irish dish of padrón peppers ($7). Charred with sea salt and lemon zest, they tasted like a grownup’s version of candy. Vegetarians should be made aware: The menu isn’t that interested in wooing you. Even the specials menu—including a banger sandwich, barbecue ribs and a pork loin sandwich—is intended to charm the belly of a carnivore. The “Irish Favorites” section of the menu features a pub curry chicken, steak pie with Guinness gravy, sausage and colcannon (mashed potatoes mixed with greens) and the shepherd’s pie.

Beneath a canopy of browned mashed potatoes, the lamb and beef gravy was dark and rich. The pie comes with a thick slice of toasted Irish soda bread to use as a vehicle for dunking. If you’d like to try the soda bread in a different dish, it can be served as an appetizer with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers. In retrospect, my plate of fried food didn’t make for an ideal pairing with it. While the pie tasted fine, after a couple bites my mind wandered back to the beet salad I hadn’t ordered.

Normally I’d come to the conclusion that a meal like this had only weighed me down, with a tenfold increase in the density of my flesh. But I didn’t have the typical reaction that I’d eaten too much. It helped that the salad was summery and light, and that the cooking oil had evaporated from the fish before it was plated. With that caveat, the last thing we wanted were either of the two desserts on offer: a chocolate chip brioche bread pudding with vanilla ice cream ($9) or butterscotch pudding with whipped cream and salted caramel popcorn ($9). These might be variations on, or bona fide, Irish desserts. But the Alhambra Irish House succeeds in its mission to create some craic well before the arrival of one of those sweet puddings.

Alhambra Irish House     
831 Main St, Redwood City