On our way to the National WWII Museum, we stopped nearby for brunch at The Irish House Restaurant, proudly-proclaimed home to TV show Chopped champion chef Matt Murphy. And while one of our orders, the bubble and squeak, may have had a funny name, no mystery ingredients appeared on our table — just delicious food, well served.
We walked in to find soccer fans seated at the bar cheering on their team, and we were promptly seated at a corner table with a nice view of St. Charles Avenue. The large, charming restaurant’s walls are covered with art, old and new photographs, and Irish memorabilia including dancing shoes and Guinness beer advertisements. Pretty Celtic music softly played, and we admired the wooden floors and craftsmanship that obviously went into the construction of the building. Some of the tables had bench seats which looked like old church pews separated by lovely leaded-glass dividers. The waitress couldn’t tell us how old the structure is, but one photo on the wall suggested it has been there a long while.
We started our meal with soup and liked one more than the other. The chicken soup, ($6) was full of chunky roasted chicken, mushrooms and potatoes. It was well seasoned and delicious. We didn’t like the creamy potato and leek soup ($6) as much and one diner said it left a funny aftertaste.
The strawberry and cream waffle ($7.50) was huge, almost two inches thick, and was covered with the sweetest strawberries ever, topped with fluffy whipped cream. This was good, and filling.
We also tried the farmer Nick’s scrambled eggs ($8.95). Another very generous serving, this dish started with a wonderful potato pancake, called “griddled potato bread,” that was fantastic — more dense than a regular pancake and slightly sweet, followed by a layer of roasted vegetables (mostly zucchini and onions), then a layer of scrambled eggs topped with heirloom tomato slices spread with goat cheese. Biting down through the cheese, vegetables, eggs and bread was a wonderful combination of tastes and textures and we really enjoyed this very filling dish.
The Molly Malone ($12.95) was a winner as well. The large omelet was full of crab and shrimp and served with roasted zucchini, onions and asparagus. It was all very good. The menu said it was topped with a lemon beurre blanc, but while the sauce was buttery and delicious we didn’t really taste the lemon. We had this with a side of wheat toast ($1.50) and a rasher of bacon ($2.95), two slices of Irish bacon which looks and tastes like slices of fried ham without the smokiness, which was also very good.
We were a little disappointed with the order of fish and chips ($11.95), a large serving of beer battered and fried fish served with delicious French fries, because the fish was on the soggy side. This dish also came with house-made tartar sauce which was good.
We couldn’t resist ordering the bubble and squeak ($8.95), an omelet full of Irish pork sausage, lots of spinach and onions and served with a delicious side of roughly mashed buttery potatoes and shaved cabbage. The latter is actually the “bubble and squeak” of the meal, a traditional English dish made with leftover vegetables. We really enjoyed the taste and texture of the vegetables together and will try this at home.
The hallway leading to the restrooms features a wall of photos commemorating the Irish in New Orleans and as you wash your hands with Leprechaun soap you can listen to a live radio broadcast from Ireland. That Sunday a Mass was on and we enjoyed the lovely lilt of the priest’s accent.
As our meal came to an end the restaurant was filling up with Saints fans on their way to the game and everyone at our table agreed brunch at the restaurant was a great way to start the day. We look forward to going back and trying more of the reasons why Murphy beat out the other competitors on the popular Food Network show.
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