Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Irish cuisine

If you think of Irish food as corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, you're a good decade behind the times.

This week takes me into the heart of Ireland’s culinary renaissance, County Cork. Tonight I’m just outside the county line, in the town of Arthurstown in County Wexford, just outside Waterford (yes, the place where the glass is crafted.)

I’m at Dunbrody House Hotel, home to superchef Kevin Dundon.

If you haven’t heard for him, you soon will. In Ireland, Dundon is known for his hotel and its restaurant, his books and TV shows. He’s so famous, in fact, that he just appeared on Dancing with the Stars. His Irish restaurant at Disney's Pleasure Island, Raglan Road, is a hit, and he’s opening another restaurant in February in Kansas City because of the availability there of first-rate produce. His Dunbrody House sausage is headed to a Whole Foods near you.

But if you’re in Ireland, don’t miss the chance to dine at the mecca of his inspiration. About 90 percent of his produce is grown within sight of the dining room.

Tonight’s choices: The full-on Iris Tasting Menu (75 euros) including smoke salmon gateau with wholegrain mustard dressing, garden pumpkin soup, terrine of foie gras, champagne and lemon sorbet, grillet monkefish with leek fondu and lemon beurre blanc, roast breast of mallard and chocolate decadence 9white chocolate mousse and tiramisu).

Too much food for me. Instead, I’m going for a two-course menu (48 euros). It’s a tough choice ... scallops or rabbit or foie gras or ravioli of john dory or seasononal greens to start. And for a main: honey-glazed pork belly with pan-seared scallops, fillet of cod, pithivier of forest mushrooms and smoked gubeen cheese, Wexford fillet of beef, pan-seared turbot or confit of barbary duck leg.

Should be here soon. I'll let you know how it tastes!


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