Chefs’ Picks: St. Patrick’s Day
As the saying goes, “On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone’s Irish.” This international holiday, which honors the patron saint of Ireland, provides the perfect excuse for everyone (whether actually Irish or not) to drink, eat and be merry. Get into the spirit with these chefs, who share their favorite spots to score Irish pub classics.
Fries and battered fillets are a popular pick for many pros. “I love St. Patrick’s Day!,” says Chef Nicolas Lebas of Castile Restaurant in St. Pete Beach, Florida. “Being from France, I didn’t grow up celebrating the holiday but I love everything about it.” When it’s time to indulge in a classic from Ireland’s culinary canon, Lebas especially loves fish and chips. His go-to spot to satisfy a fried fish and potato craving is MadFish, also located in St. Pete Beach. For Lebas, the allure of MadFish’s version is its “great beer batter and tasty cod.”
Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier of 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale doesn’t limit her fish-and-chips fandom to March. She regularly swings by her local pub, Waxy O’Connors, for fish and chips — preferably doused in malt vinegar — on her way home from work. “The beer-battered fish is perfectly golden and I love the thick-cut chips,” says Grenier. “I’m also a malt vinegar fiend, so it’s the perfect combination.”
For Chef Brett Sparman of Coastal Provisions on South Carolina’s Isle of Palms, a plate of fish and chips conjures fond memories from his student days. When in college, Sparman (who is a huge fan of Irish pubs) spent many a night at Casey Moore’s in Tempe, Arizona, drinking beers while filling up on fish and chips, as well as raw oysters. “Always the best bartenders,” says Sparman. “It was a true meeting place for the neighborhood, you always could find a familiar face there. One of my old roommates was the chef there, as well.”
Fry up the Irish favorite with this recipe for fish and chips from Tyler Florence.
Damien Del Rio (co-founder of Brooklyn’s Loosie Rouge and Loosie’s Kitchen) also loves the personal nostalgia of Irish pubs, particularly for beer paired with good bar snacks. His favorite combination is a pint of Guinness matched with a big, crisp batch of Irish Curry Fries at Playwright Restaurant in Manhattan’s Theater District. “Every so often, I do get a craving for a pint of Guinness and those salty chips covered in a sweet and savory curry sauce,” says Del Rio. “It just brings me back to my college days.”
Make your own sauce-soaked fries like this bacon-studded spin on the dish from Robert Irvine.
For Chef Marcel Vigneron, the connection to Irish cooking runs deep. “My mom’s side is Irish, so this type of food is a favorite of mine,” says Vigneron, who is the owner of WOLF and Beefsteak in Los Angeles. His mother routinely makes corned beef and cabbage, and has since he was a kid. Vigneron describes her version of the dish as “super traditional; [she] brines and braises the brisket and the cabbage is fresh. She blanches and melts butter into it. It’s so good.”
Cook up the Emerald Isle classic with this recipe for corned beef and cabbage from Tyler Florence.
Depending on your needs, some cuts are better than others.