Rovin’ Through Louisville…

The Irish Rover, Louisville, Kentucky
The Irish Rover, Louisville, Kentucky

So…here’s the deal.

My roommate loves fish and chips.  LOVES them.  If we go to an Irish pub, I already know what she’s going to order.  And we do love our Irish pubs.  Oh yes…yes we do.

Interesting thing with Irish pubs when it comes to this my eating habits at these establishments…as a vegetarian pub grub isn’t always the easiest thing to navigate around.  Honestly.  It’s greasy, it’s fried, and not every pub offers much in the line of foods for vegetarians.

But almost every pub has something, be it a burger, a sandwich, a pasta, or a wrap, that incorporates portabella mushrooms.  And that will do for this veggie-lovin’ girl!

We ventured off our normal pub routine in Louisville, deciding to give the others in the area a try.  After all, while we are quite happy with our ‘home’ pub, it’s always good to branch out and see what else the Louisville area has to offer in the line of Irish pubs and the food they serve.

The Irish Rover came recommended to me ages ago by a co-worker at a law firm I used to work at, so I finally made my way down there.  The building itself is just how I would picture a pub.  On the inside, upon entering, you have the definite pub atmosphere, greeted by a large, fully-stocked bar.  The tables are scored and scratched.  The floor is wooden and showing signs of wear.  Yes…this is a pub.

But the expanded rooms are not as dimly lit, and while the atmosphere is still pub-like, it’s a more family-friendly feel.  Not that it’s a bad thing…just not how I picture a pub.  But this blog isn’t a critique on architecture and interior design, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty:  their food.

The Irish Rover offers up a good selection, better than most pubs, for vegetarians.  I had it down to a possible four choices: the Cashel Salad, consisting of lettuce, walnuts, Cashel blue cheese, cheddar cheese made near the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland, and dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette; the Veggie Gratin,  a mix of eggplant, portabella mushrooms and other in-season vegetables, baked in a curried tomato chutney and topped off with parmesan, all served with toasted foccacia;  the Veggie Sandwich, two thickly sliced pieces of homemade bread, filled with diced sautéed vegetables and melted cheddar cheese, served with a side of Irish chips; or the Portabella Sandwich, a large mushroom cap, topped with marinated, roasted red peppers and melted swiss cheese, served on a toasted bun with Dijon aioli and a side of Irish chips.

Homemade Bread at the Irish Rover, Louisville, Kentucky
Homemade white bread and Irish soda bread at the Irish Rover, Louisville, Kentucky

I love a good portabella sandwich, so I went with this option.  However, since my body tends to despise being filled with fried foods, I substituted a side of fresh fruit for the Irish chips.  And I got the Barry’s hot tea for my beverage.

While we waited for food, we were brought a basket of their homemade bread, a combination of white and soda bread.  I’m an Irish soda bread fiend, so I dove right in.  And it was good.  It was VERY good.  The white bread, while I only sampled a bite, was a bit sweet and still tasted of the yeast.  I wasn’t a fan of it.  And since I do bake my own breads, I can be a bit of a bread connoisseur and snob at times.  It just wasn’t to my taste.  But yes…more of that Irish soda bread, please!

The drinks and food arrived in good time.  The portion sizes actually weren’t overwhelming, as I find to be the case at a lot of pubs.  Everything was cooked to perfection, including my roommate’s fish, which fell apart when her fork would slice through it.

The portabella sandwich was good.  The Dijon aioli spread was quite tasty, and a nice touch to the sandwich as a whole.  The peppers grilled peppers and cheese worked well with the sweetness of the perfectly cooked portabella mushroom cap.  It was just releasing its juices, which made for a dripping mess.  But I eat these sandwiches with a fork and knife…always!  The fruit I was given was fresh, ripe, and so good.  I almost wanted to order another serving.  Everything tasted really, really good and I was quite happy with the service, as I was given refills on my hot tea whenever needed.

Barry's Tea at The Irish Rover, Louisville, Kentucky
A hot cup of Barry's Tea at the Irish Rover, Louisville, Kentucky
I do admit though, a lot of amusement was taken at watching my roommate tackle a pint of Guinness.  We had just watched an episode of No Reservations, where Anthony Bourdain went to Ireland.  He had Guinness everywhere…so she figured…maybe it tasted better with food.  She learned – it doesn’t.  But seeing the faces she made while trying to knock it back with her fish and chips did offer up a nice bit of entertainment that afternoon.

The Irish Rover in Louisville, Kentucky does offer up a great menu of great pub grub and a nice selection for those who go meatless.  That’s refreshing.  However, don’t go in there expecting a classic pub atmosphere.  What you find is more of a restaurant than pub.

And that’s okay…because their food comes with an Irish brogue and packed with flavor.  It’s authentic Irish…without the run-down appeal of a pub.  Great for a lunch out, but if you want to watch the rugby match choose your pub more wisely.

Come for the food and service…and you won’t be disappointed.

Portabella Sandwich at the Irish Rover, Louisville, Kentucky
Portabella Sandwich with a side of fresh fruit at the Irish Rover, Louisville, Kentucky

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