If you are looking for a place in New Orleans for your rehearsal dinner or for your small wedding ceremony, “Chopped” champion Matt Murphy welcomes you as one of his family at The Irish House. He wanted to take Ireland’s food fare to a city rich with Irish history, so Matt and his wife, Alicia, headed to Louisiana. We were blessed enough to eat at the Chef’s Table. This gave us the perfect vantage point to see how the restaurant works. Near the end of our meal, I commented on the quietness of the kitchen. Chef Matt told me that the kitchen was on its best behavior while we were there, though I believe it likely runs as a well-oiled machine with visitors at the Chef’s Table or not.

We inadvertently arrived at The Irish House an hour before we were expected. I suggested we grab a drink at the bar. Jeff, one of the bartenders, made me a “Frozen Irish Kiss,” which was delectable. Frangelico, whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream make up this frozen dream. Jeff checked on us frequently while we enjoyed the bustle of the bar. This gave us a chance to check out the flow of the restaurant from an observer’s point of view. It was an unusually stressful evening at the restaurant, because its front-of-house-manager had an extenuating circumstance, leaving Chef Matt in charge of many things at once, which he handled with grace and poise.

A friend of Chef Matt’s, Tarique Hanna of Sucre, passed his name to the producers of “Chopped.” The “Chopped” guys were persistent about getting Matt onto the show. (They had not previously had an Irish chef on “Chopped.”) He was busy for sure. Mardi Gras was happening, with Ash Wednesday following, and a baby was due to arrive when Matt headed to Los Angeles to tape “Chopped.” According to Matt, the process is just short of insanity, with multiple takes, attitudes of competitors and odd ingredients.

Our five-course meal at The Kitchen Table, as it is affectionately called at The Irish House, has its own Guinness and Harp tap. Our experience, because it was far more than “just a meal,” began with pumpkin soup. I don’t think I have the vocabulary to describe that soup; I was completely impressed with it. Pumpkin soup has the texture of a strawberry soup. It is a cream-based sweet soup that Chef John, who worked with Chef Matt, topped with tempura crab. Delicious indeed.

Our second course was a beet salad. I have to admit, I did a mental eye roll when I read that we would be eating beet salad. I promised my husband that I would try anything the chef prepared for us at this meal, so I ate. Arugula, goat cheese, beets and creamy, white balsamic dressing, topped with shrimp sautéed in garlic…I don’t know that reaching enlightenment through a meal is possible, but we kept inching closer to it as the meal progressed.

Course three included wasabi crusted tuna with Asian vegetables. Wasabi, oh wasabi. Wasabi, in fact, has never been a consideration for me. You know that song that says, “Hot like wasabi when I bust rhymes”? Based on those lyrics, wasabi must be some insanely hot spice.  I was absolutely terrified to try it.  I was embarrassed to admit to Chef John that I had never tried wasabi and that I was slowly reaching a whole new level of trepidation over trying it. He arranged the tuna on my plate from the spiciest, in the center, to the least spicy, on the outside of my plate. The least spicy end of the spectrum was fantastic. I skipped the middle and went to the most spicy inside piece. I enjoyed the wasabi crusted tuna, at least the lightest side of it. The spiciest of the tuna, was too much for me, but I ate it like I had made it for myself. The third course was as fabulous as the first two. I can say now that I have tried wasabi and that I will not willingly try it again. It is, indeed, quite hot.

As we were waiting for the second entrée, Chef Matt took us to the event space on the second floor. Thankfully, after walking all week in the French Quarter and Garden districts, we were able to go to the second floor in an elevator. It was, again, our good luck to find a Ceili Night happening on the second floor. The Irish jigs were in full swing…literally. When we returned from our tour, our hanger steak with roasted fingerling potatoes (a requirement for me in an Irish meal), arugula and tomatoes was waiting. I had not heard of this type of steak. It is served almost rare, its amazing flavor melding with the potatoes for a mouth-watering meal.

Fergus, another bartender, brought us the best Irish coffee I have ever tasted as we waited for our Bailey’s Irish Crème Brulee dessert. Pattie O’Sullivan came to our table to serenade us with a slow Irish ballad. I think I ruined Pattie O’s music buzz by asking him to do “Danny Boy” for me. I know it is a cliché, but I adore that song. Unbelievably amazing is the only way to describe the experience we had at The Irish House. In a city overflowing with dining choices, The Irish House is worth a trip to New Orleans.

Contact Nicole Bean to schedule your upcoming event.

Phone:  504-595-6755

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Contact Mike Reeves at I Do Photography

Phone: 615-414-3813

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Please note: Only the Irish Coffee photo was taken by us, on our phones, during our meal. All other images were pulled from The Irish House website.

Michelle Reeves

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