Source: Ian McNulty, bestofneworleans.com
Thursday August 11 2011
Chef Matt Murphy has opened his new restaurant the Irish House (1432 St. Charles Ave., 595-6755), taking over the former location of Taqueros.
Murphy, a native of Dublin, was previously executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, where he was responsible for the luxury hotel’s overall culinary operations and oversaw M Bistro, the flagship restaurant the Ritz opened (and named in his honor) in 2010. He left the Ritz in March and began working on this new venture.
After an extensive renovation, the formerly Mexican-themed restaurant space in the Lower Garden District now has the look and feel of Irish pub (albeit one with climate-appropriate high ceilings). Irish House does feature such sturdy pub grub standards as Irish stew, shepherd’s pie and fish and chips, which are on the lunch menu and a bar menu. But Murphy’s kitchen is largely centered on more sophisticated fare, much of it prepared with locally sourced staples from the eggs to the beef.
There are appetizers like lamb belly and a truffled chicken tart with wild mushrooms and smoked gouda, while some entrees include shrimp and artichoke risotto, duck stuffed with figs and brie and herb-crusted redfish. Lunch entrees and sandwiches range in price from $8 to $15, while at dinner entrees are between $18 and $24.
“The idea is like the places back home (in Ireland) where the carpenters and the working men would come in and get their pint and their stew at the bar, but in the same place you can do something a little more at dinner, bring the family, that sort of thing,” Murphy says.
The Irish House opens each day at 7 a.m. for breakfast, and it serves breakfast all day. A centerpiece of this menu is the traditional Irish breakfast, a heaving platter of eggs, imported Irish bacon, sausage and black and white puddings (a.k.a., blood and oatmeal sausages), beans and tomato.
“People have been ordering that at 10 o’clock at night, it’s been surprising,” he says.
(My own prediction: this will make a killer breakfast before — or, heck, after — Saints games in the nearby Superdome).
Murphy says he plans to use the upstairs rooms of his sprawling building for private events and parties for now, and live music will soon be on tap as well. The Irish House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.