Lucky & Unlucky Irish Eating

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris March 21, 2024 21:39 in Dining Diary

After chasing Fish Frys it was time to turn our attention to corned beef. I really didn’t want to go into New Orleans again and get trapped in parades, and then I remembered Brady’s, a pub in Hammond that we liked when we went. At that time, Paul Murphy owned it. Paul is a skilled restaurateur and oenophile, though those traits aren’t required to run a college pub. But Paul has sold all three of his restaurants, with Brady’s the last of the transactions. I hoped little would have changed.

It was a beautiful day and we noticed a back patio. We went through the restaurant and sat outside. It was impressively clean for a place where college kids drink at night. My anticipation went up.

There were three St. Paddy’s Day specials: Irish stew, Shepherds’s Pie, and of course corned beef and cabbage. We missed the banger sliders the night before. Since I was the only one interested in eating Irish, there was also a hamburger on the table, cheese fries, and rainbow trout.

The cheese fries arrived first and they were fine and perfectly ordinary cheese fries with bacon and Ranch dressing. When the Irish stew came to the table my expectations went way down. This was nothing. A light broth with vegetables and a few chunks of meat, it was unnecessary to continue after a bite or two.

It's a good thing my expectations were reduced because the corned beef and cabbage would have pained me. The corned beef was cut into small pieces and scattered amidst a tub of overcooked cabbage. I picked out a piece or two and found it chewy and pretty tasteless. I sent this back.

The Shepherd’s Pie was equally awful, with the meat underneath also chewy. I’m sure the mashed potatoes covered in cheddar cheese would have been okay but because what could go wrong with melted cheddar on mashed potatoes?

The burger was also ordinary. It was a perfectly fine burger but nothing special. I’m sure tons of these are sold to the college kids in there every day. It works. Tom got the rainbow trout that came with broccoli florets. It was gone in minutes, so I think he really liked it. The broccoli was drenched in butter, but isn’t everything better that way?

It was still a pleasant lunch out on the patio in the sun. And that’s about it. We came back to town and I headed right down to Pyre BBQ for their smoked corned beef. It came with two sides: potatoes and cabbage. They were out of those by the time I arrived, so I swapped out those sides for the housecut chips which are some of the best I've had, and creamy grits, which were the worst I've had. They were too creamy and inedibly peppery.

I finished off the chips on the way home, and the three large slices of corned beef were superb. It was crusty with coarse pepper and very tender. it was also very salty, which is how corned beef should be. The grain was all over the place, as corned beef can be, so too much of it was stringy with the grain. Even that didn't alter the enjoyment of eating this delicious smoked corned beef.

We had more delicious corned beef the next day at The Anchor on the real St. Patrick's Day. It was served as a poor boy sandwich, sliced really thin and stuffed on a French roll with cheese and a Russian dressing. 

So our travels for Irish food were as good as they started out bad. I never did have a heaping plate of tender corned beef and cabbage the traditional way, but there was some delicious spinning of the classics. It satisfied that craving. And I did have a Guinness.