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The Irish House ~ A fantastic blend of New Orleans and Irish cuisine that serves as a window into some fascinating regional history. Bailey's Cheesecake, Guinness stew, Guinness, lamb shank, Guinness, shrimp, Guinness, and more! featured post *tasteologie

The Irish House ~ A fantastic blend of New Orleans and Irish cuisine that serves as a window into some fascinating regional history. Bailey's Cheesecake, Guinness stew, Guinness, lamb shank, Guinness, shrimp, Guinness, and more!

November 23rd, 2011

New Orleans never struck me as a particularly Irish city. French influences dominate popular depictions of the area while the Spanish history is largely found in the architecture.  The Irish made a long lasting impact on the city working on the docks, digging some of the canals, adding to the racial mix and contributing to the signature New Orleans accent. The Catholic nature of the city, the general disdain for the British, and cheap passage made the city an attractive spot for Irish fleeing persecution in the 1700's and escaping the potato famine in the 1800's.  Irish Channel, a neighborhood located near the river, and St. Patrick’s Church are just part of the legacy they've left behind.  A proliferation of pubs also remains.  The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau brought me out and insisted that I try the modern Irish pub, The Irish House. Tasting history lessons is probably my favorite way to learn.

The blending of identities is apparent even from the before you enter. American, Irish, and New Orleans Saints flags all fly about in harmony.
The blending continues all the way to the plate. This is their Grilled Ginger Whiskey Shrimp.. the classic Southern staple grits is replaced with a potato, broccoli and cheddar cake. This dish is amazing.. it takes cues from both the Old World and the New to make a dish which just explodes with flavor.
Their Duck Sausage and Asiago Flatbread utilizes the Irish beer Smithwick's in its bbq sauce.
There is even more Irish beer in this classic Guinness Stew... with its generous portion of wonderfully soft chunks of beef.
Their Lamb Shank was also braised until it is insanely tender. This dish is wonderfully primal... I had to resist the urge to pick it up by the long protruding bone and pretend to be a medieval king. To keep it New Orleans, Chef Matt Murphy added a delicious bed of grits which hide underneath the giant hunk of meat.
There are of course fish and chips. They beer batter cod and stack it high on the plate... ready for a healthy dose of malt vinegar.
They've even worked Bailey's Irish Cream into the cheese cake, which is delicious. The addition of Bailey's is noticeable but not overwhelming. While certainly not the most Irish of desserts it is a fun addition to the menu.
The decor is also playful... it is wall to wall Irishness. With its maps, advertisements, football paraphernalia and more, the pub never let's you forget its cultural roots.
There are signs for Guiness everywhere...
... though they still serve a great selection of local Louisiana beer as well.
The sign at the corner of the bar directs you around the surprisingly large establishment. The promise of a tea room intrigued me.
While it's not quite open yet, upstairs they are preparing a tea room to serve a traditional Irish tea service.
While still certainly Irish this new space will provide a much different atmosphere than the rest of the pub.
Back downstairs at The Irish House there is of course a dart board... and the signature phrase of the "Who Dat" nation written in Gaelic. That really sums up my experience there perfectly.
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