Tag Archives: Seafood
April 1, 2013 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Two things to remember before you visit The Irish Rover:
- Ten dollars will take you a long way at this Louisville Original, but $15 goes so much further.
- Don’t wear Spanx during your meal.
The Irish Rover delivers food hearty enough to stretch your waistline while your budget remains fairly intact. I say “fairly” because it’s hard not to sample a variety of dishes from a menu bursting with descriptions that make everything sound delicious. And the good (and bad) part about it is that everything lives up to its introductory prose.
The restaurant’s atmosphere is well-worn and humble, thanks in part to its location in a 150-year-old building on Frankfort Avenue. The entrance thrusts patrons directly into the bar area where drinkers mingle with folks just waiting for their table. It got a little cramped during my weeknight visit, but Rob and I were rewarded for our brief wait with a quaint table for two in a dim section of the restaurant. Lots of hardwood? Low lighting? A handsome date? I was a fan.
I quickly snapped out of my romantic lull when the waitress handed me the menu. This is when things got real.
I don’t know much about Irish cooking. But if I use The Irish Rover as my definitive guide, I would say the diet of our friends across the pond is filled with lamb, fish, potatoes and cabbage. In short, stick-to-your-ribs food.
Irish food is more than just Guinness Beef Stew ($6.95), fish and chips (market price) and bangers and mash ($6.95). The Irish Rover takes (what I assume are) traditional Irish ingredients like fish and rabbit and presents it in dishes that make the ingredients more accessible to those not used to this genre of food. For example, the Welsh Rabbit sandwich slides this meat into a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on sourdough bread (with Irish chips, $6.95); salmon is presented in casserole form with potatoes, cream and Swiss and Parmesan cheeses (smoked salmon and potato gratin, $8.95); prawn are paired with cashews in a light salad ($9.95). I wish I could say something more poetic than, “Everything looked good.” But it was true. Everything on the menu did look good, from the appetizers to the desserts.
I wanted a little taste of everything. We started with the Cordon Bleu Fritters ($4.95), little balls of ham, chicken and Swiss cheese batter and deep fried. They were crunchy, gooey and delightful. I followed with a cup of leek and potato soup ($2.95), a rich soup that was a soothing chaser to the sharpness of the fritters.
I was all set to order the lamb-stuffed cabbage ($12.95) until our nice waitress began to list the evening’s specials. I heard the words “meatloaf,” “stuffed with bleu cheese” and “brown gravy” before I blacked out from disbelief that such flavors could exist in one dish. When I came to, I ordered the bleu-cheese stuff meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy ($12.95).
At this point, my abdomen was screaming at the Spanx that was supposed to hold me into my date-night dress. I couldn’t possibly dive into this plate of deliciousness, could I? Oh, yes, I could.
This was a meal for the record books. A rich brown gravy covered two thick slices of meatloaf and hid the mixture of bleu cheese and mushrooms stuffed in the center. The creamy gravy and moist beef balanced the tanginess of the bleu cheese, a wonderful combination I would have never considered without The Irish Rover.
The mashed potatoes were lumpy and filled with onion and hunks of potatoes that escaped the masher. The mashed potatoes’ thick consistency was perfect for constant dipping in the gravy sliding along the edges of my place.
The steamed vegetables were the Michelle Williams of this Destiny’s Child of a dish — an ingredient that rounds out the trio, but you could honestly do without it. But I dutifully ate my vegetables to help balance all the meat and potatoes I put back in the course of my meal.
By the end of the night, I wasn’t sure what I was more excited to do — eat the slice of meatloaf and hunk of potatoes in my to-go box or change into more bloat-friendly sweatpants. I may have regretted my choice in foundation undergarments that evening, but I was happy I went over my $10 benchmark. I left with a second meal that reheated wonderfully and a taste of Ireland.
The Irish Rover, 2319 Frankfort Ave., Louisville
Cordon Bleu Fritters: $4.95
Leek and Potato Soup: $2.95
Bleu Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables: $12.95
Total (without tax and tip): $20.85
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September 18, 2012 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
(Blogger’s note: Click here to read part one of this series highlighting a couple of blog-worthy restaurants I visited while on my honeymoon last month. Click here to read more about the new Treat Yo’ Self feature.)
The Crab Shack, 40 Estill Hammock Road, Tybee Island, Ga.
Rob and I have discovered a certain phenomenon that happens when we share an outstanding meal.
At some point, let’s say between bites 49 and 50, we glance across the table at one another.
“Why aren’t we saying anything?” one of us will ask.
The chewing stops for a moment. Then our mouths get busy again.
The answer to the question is understood. The food is so good that conversation is unnecessary and discouraged.
Tybee Island is a beach town on the Atlantic Ocean about 30 minutes east of Savannah. The road into town is lined with equal parts gift shops and seafood joints. But when dinnertime arrived, Rob and I headed away from the ocean, into a marshland area and through a gravel parking lot to find The Crab Shack.
This restaurant began as “a sleepy little fishing camp with a boat hoist, boat storage, live bait sales and a bar in the ship’s store,” according to The Crab Shack’s website. It’s now a restaurant and bar with a live alligator pit, a gift shop and aviary. And here is what the owners have to say about it now:
The Crab Shack wasn’t a plan. It was a serendipitous happening. But, it has been carefully managed as it morphs and grows so that the ambiance of it’s creek bank location, the lushness of the hundred year old live oaks dotting the property, the freedom of dining al fresco while watching dolphin play in the creek, and the taste of seafood so fresh you want to slap it, will never be lost.
It was hard to see all of the beauty surrounding The Crab Shack for our late-dinner date. But we had ringside seats at a table next to the misty alligator pit and a TV showing Hurricane Isaac coverage.
(And speaking of the seats, the tables at The Crab Shack compliment a big seafood meal. A whole is cut in the middle of the large, round table with a trash can underneath to toss all your shells. Your tray of food is placed on a raised platform above the garbage can. If that’s not genius engineering, I don’t know what is.)
After a round of drinks (beer for The Mister, frozen margarita for the lady) and a chat with the waitress (a recent Tybee transplant from Kentucky), Rob and I ordered The Shack Specialty for two ($39.99), “a platter piled high with an assortment of tasty shellfish that are in season with corn, potatoes and sausage.” That night’s selection included king crab legs, shrimp, crawfish and mussels, all fresh from the water and steamed with a generous dousing of Old Bay-like seasoning.[caption id="attachment_2101" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Before.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2102" align="aligncenter" width="300"] After.[/caption]
We sprang into action, devouring the poor little crustaceans while they were still steaming. Conversation stopped, but the noises picked up. We cracked shells to get to fleshy meat inside. We licked butter off our fingers. We sucked the crawfish heads, for goodness’ sake. It was the most disgusting display that I, lifetime meat-eater, had ever been a part of. And it was the most fun meal I’ve ever had.
The waitress had mentioned something about a to-go box. By the time we finished, only a few empty shells, lemon wedges and crawfish arms dotted a platter that arrived full a half hour earlier.
Rob and I eventually slid out of our chairs, washed the buttery goo from our fingers and headed toward our rental sedan. We were empty-handed and still pretty awestruck by what we just experienced. But we left The Crab Shack full, fat and happy.
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February 16, 2011 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
The folks over at Louisville Hot Bytes are hosting a chowder competition to benefit autistic children. The Rumble at the …
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December 29, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
(Blogger’s note: This is the first in a few posts that will reflect on 2010 or look ahead at the …
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November 15, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
It’s been a few days since the Carnival Splendor cruise ship stuck at sea was towed into San Diego. But …
October 19, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Every few years, I become fixated on a particular dish. A few years ago, it was cheesecake. I had …
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My dog is a horrible dining companion. Yet I’ve become an enabler of Roscoe’s bad habits by including him in …