Saturday, March 10, 2012

#2 Galway Bay Irish Pub - Annapolis, MD

For our Triple D stop number two the kids weren’t with us. Teresa and I spent the day out on the Eastern Shore for some bird watching, but we wanted to stop into Galway Bay Irish Pub in Annapolis on our way home. Our good friends Ruthie and Ed, joined us for dinner and we had great food, great atmosphere and great conversation.

At this point I'll state the obvious: Galway Bay is an Irish Pub/Restaurant. So.... it is not a Diner, not a Drive-in, and to call it a “Dive” is really stretching the common definition of "dive". It’s a pretty nice place for an Irish pub with a full restaurant menu. I understand it’s locally owned, not a big chain and does everything traditional from scratch… so I guess that qualifies as a “dive” by some standards. But, I digress... who am I to question Guy Fieri and the Triple D definition of a "Dive"? The place was featured on the show, so that's good enough for me! This will go in the books as stop #2 on the Hunt's Triple D Food Adventure.

We showed up around 7pm, just behind a large party of 12 some of whom were also saying they heard that Guy Fieri did a show here. The hostess told us it would be 20-30 minutes, gave us a pager (much like the kind you would get at TGI Fridays or someplace like that) and we went to the bar to grab some Irish beer while we waited. I got a pint of Harp on tap for me and Teresa, and it was quite tasty for a light lager. The place was pretty busy and the bar was packed, but the wait staff was friendly and seemed to appreciate that we were there as part of our “Triple D tour”, but I did hear one of the staff at the front say with an unimpressed “yea…everybody’s doing that…”

We were seated about 20 minutes after we arrived and our waitress was friendly and very helpful when I told her about our Triple D tour and that I have a blog to document our adventures. I admitted that I could not remember what dishes were featured on the show. She told us it was the Killarney Cabbage Wrap (an appetizer pictured to the right) which we ordered, and found to be quiet tasty... corned beef inside a cabbage wrap with some nice dressing on the top.

Our waitress said that they also made the Galway Bay Fried Oysters appetizers for Guy when he was there, but that the dish didn’t make it into the show for some reason. We ordered them anyway, and the oysters were cooked perfectly with just a light amount of breading with very light seasoning. They seemed to be deep fried just long enough to add some uniform crunch to the coating, but they were light and tender. As you can see from the picture on the left, they were good sized oysters. It came on a bed of coleslaw that Guy apparently described as “righteous”. I have to agree, because the cabbage was shredded very thin and the dressing was light and very fresh with hint of vinegar and some other mysterious seasonings... the "lack" of over seasoning and heaviness of a typical coleslaw is what made it "righteous" to me.  

For my entree I ordered the corn beef and cabbage (pictured to the right), because it was featured on the show. I’m no expert on that dish, because I’ve probably on had it less than a dozen times in my life, but it was very good. I guess it's hard to mess up this dish. It was served with a side of mashed potatoes and a carrot side dish that was a sweet chunky puree like "mashed carrots" that was lightly spiced. I am really not a big fan of carrots, but I enjoyed it. The stone ground mustard added just the right amount of kick to the dish. My mother would be proud, because I cleaned my plate.

Teresa ordered Lamb Stew (on the left), and she gave me a few bites. The lamb was so tender and flavorful, and the broth was rich and delicious, but not overbearing. "It was more brothy than a regular stew". It was served with a plop of mashed potatoes in it and some delicious soda bread as a side. We had the left over broth put in a "to go" container and gave it to Ruthie and Ed, because they were going to feed it to their dog... Lucky dog!

My overall impression is that this is a pretty classy place for a Triple D joint. It's located just a block from The Governor's Mansion right in the heart of Annapolis on a historic brick-paved street. The building itself, while old, was well taken care of. We were there on a Saturday night and the place was crowded. There was a fun and casual atmosphere with everyone enjoying their food and good spirits to be found. The service was good and it was a great experience. I would recommend it to other Triple D travelers, but be warned that if you're looking for a cheap greasy spoon, you won't find it here.  Our bill was $51 for 2 dinners, 1 appetizer, 1 soda & coffee. The 2 Harp pints of beer were $13 at the bar. For a nice “date night” dinner, the price was about average for this part of the country. But if you're looking for a true “dive”, then it is pretty expensive. Next time we’re in Annapolis we will stop by Galway Bay for some Irish food and bring the kids so they can mark it off their Triple D list. However, next time we’ll probably be more economical and go for lunch, or just appetizers.

We’re looking forward to the next stop on our Triple D Food Adventure. Where will it be? You’ll have to check back to find out for sure, but it will be someplace in Baltimore.

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