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Holy Grail revisited

Joan Kureczka | Aug 1, 200509:42 AM

We took a visiting friend from New Orleans out last night to O’Reilly’s Holy Grail for Irish music (Sundays only, excellent group) and then dinner. I’ve been surprised not to see any posts other than my previous one on this new place, which – for dinner at least – is certainly great. Has anyone yet tried the more pubby lunch menu? According to their website, the chef came over from Kokkari but has also cooked at La Folie, Lespinasse (in NY) and before that a one-starred place in Berlin.

This time we started with two appetizers: crispy cod and potato cakes, and curry and mint seasoned lamb riblets. The fish cakes were superb accompanied by herbed sour cream and a little mustard vinagrette dressed watercress. While our friend liked the lamb riblets, I found them okay but a little plain.

Jesse and I then had salads, while John went with the oxtail, barley and Guinness soup. One was the excellent roasted beet and citrus salad that we enjoyed last time, while the other was a salad of green, yellow and romano beans with some parmesan and herbs – quite nice.

While the guys went with the salmon (a slightly different preparation from the bacon and hazelnut sauce I’d enjoyed last time) and the halibut, I tried what is one of the Grail’s signature dishes: a peat-smoked pork shank with garlic confit, cranberry beans, and fig-mustard sauce. Yum. The pork was falling off the bone tender and intensely smokey, with the unique smoke flavor that peat produces (think Laphroaig whiskey). This was also quite a sizeable shank and I brought nearly half of it home.

We finished by sharing a dessert of lovely house-brandied bing cherries, whipped cream and a little scoop of intense chocolate ice cream.

The price for the three of us, which also included a bottle of wine and other drinks was a very moderate $159. Service, once again, was smooth and highly professional.

By the way, for posters looking for a nice place to take parents – this is it. The clientele for dinner seems to be all ages, including a portion of the older local Irish community. And as I posted previously, it is truly a beautiful room.


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