Monday, August 20, 2012

The Irish Rover: Louisville's Irish Staple

Guinness imported direct from Dublin
In an effort to network some more in the Arts sphere of Louisville, I joined the Actors Theatre Generation One Board. It is a great group of people who work on projects from social events to fundraising benefits for the theatre. I'm pretty excited about it, and my friend and I had a great time touring backstage and meeting the behind the scenes masterminds. I look forward to getting further involved in their work. After years of work volunteering, it is nice to be back in the Arts field, and I'm glad Actors has this outlet for me to take advantage of!

After our evening at Actors, we were still a little hungry (no surprise there) and we decided to hit up Frankfort Avenue to see what was going on. The Irish Rover beckoned us in and we took shelter from a surprise thunderstorm. I feel like a pub is the perfect place to take refuge, especially with the image of the typical pub in some rainy countryside in Ireland. We nestled into a booth; my friend ordered the staple Guinness and I the Magner's cider, then my roommate joined us with her cider and we were all set to go!

We wanted to make it a kind of pub grub meal, Irish tapas if you will, so we picked four dishes to share between us all. The Beef and Blue, the Bubble and Squeak, the Smoked Salmon Pâté, and the Blue Cheesecake. Normally, I come to the Irish Rover with a raging appetite, so I hadn't yet had the chance to try the pub grub--I mean, when you have the promise of really great fish and chips, I don't know why you would try something less majestic. This was a new experience, and I was pleasantly surprised for the most part.

The Blue Cheesecake: Check out that tomato garnish!
For me, the most impressive dish was the Blue Cheesecake. It was something I had never seen done before, and I think the Rover executed it well. The crust for the Blue Cheesecake is walnut, but for some reason it reminded me of the breading on their scotch eggs. The filling was a creamy blue cheese that was baked into the crust to resemble a slice of traditional cheesecake. I loved the presentation, and it was absolutely divine spread on the accompanying brown soda bread. The garnish spinach salad and bright red summer tomatoes were absolutely beautiful as well.

Smoked Salmon Pâté

Next on my list was the Smoked Salmon Pâté. It was a phenomenal house-made pâté that took me straight back to Europe, where pâté is a food fit for humans, not just cats. It was beautiful, fluffy, full of actual smoked salmon, and the bowl seemed bottomless. Also with the brown soda bread, I was very happy.

The Bubble and Squeak did not come out very hot, but it is always a delight to eat--probably because the name is so adorable. It is a smooth potato-based griddle cake with vegetables and onion. Simple and delicious, perfect for the rainy day.

Bubble and Squeak!

Beef and Blue: I preferred the latter over the former
My least favorite was unfortunately the Beef and Blue. It was horribly spiced and not well cooked either. The beef tenderloin was tough and it tasted like a fistful of the forest floor--very heavy on the sage and black pepper. If you're into that, I guess that's cool, but I was expecting something a little more decadent. The blue cheese that accompanied it was a fabulous cheese, I was just sad that the beef was executed so poorly.

Our service was very good. The waiter was friendly and helpful, and was even patient with my cider-picking madness. The restaurant itself is super comfortable. I have been going there since I was a wee one, so I really do feel at home. It is an important part of the neighborhood and an equally important part of Louisville, a city that has a very proud Irish population (is there such a thing as Irish without pride?). The Reidys, the owners, are always involved in the community, and they have donated on multiple occasions to some of the fundraisers that I have personally organized. They are the perfect example of what a local Louisville restaurant is, and in turn they are a part of our hearts.

I will be going back soon, with a full appetite this time, in order to take advantage of those fish and chips I hold so dear!


There are two locations for your gastronomic pleasure:

The Irish Rover
2319 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
Phone: 502.899.3544

The Irish Rover Too
117 East Main Street
LaGrange, KY 40031
Phone: 502.222.2286

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! :) I would have loved to have a rainy Irish day experience too! I am starting to miss rainy days :(