Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Guinness by the fireplace

Easy Corned Beef and Cabbage
Corned beef & cabbage usually isn't pretty, but Paula Deen and
the Food Network stylists make it so.

P.J. McIntyre's Irish Pub
17119 Lorain Road
Cleveland, Ohio

We'd missed lunch and it was almost dinner time, so we were looking for a rib-sticking meal on a damp, grey Sunday afternoon. We found it at P.J. McIntyre's, a warm, welcoming Irish pub. Our party of four sat by the glowing fire, in a cozy corner booth, and admired the stacked-stone fireplace and the ceiling that looked like pressed tin, the color of a shiny penny.

We all tried the corned beef, on a Reuben sandwich and on a plate with cabbage and garlic-mashed potatoes. It was the best corned beef any of us could remember having: very lean yet juicy, and just salty enough. And I'm usually not that crazy about cabbage, but this version had some texture, and a nice roasted flavor.

The lobster bisque was wonderful, rich and creamy with a surprising amount of lobster meat. We also enjoyed the Guinness beef stew, which was full of lean meat.

If you haven't tried it, draft Guinness beer is quite different from the stuff in cans; it's creamy, and not so smoky. I also enjoyed a draft Smithwick's red Irish ale.

It's hard to believe that this place used to be an appliance store. There are pretty stained-glass panels around the fireplace, and comfortable wood booths, with padded stools pulled up to the tables. It was quiet that afternoon, but I can easily imagine the place filled with sports fans watching the big screen, or live music on the weekend.

P.J. McIntyre's Irish Pub in Cleveland

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