Restaurant: The Claddagh Irish Pub, Columbus, Ohio
I love pubs.
I love pubs a lot. But as a vegetarian, I was already limited on what I could eat there. When I had to go gluten-free…my options got even smaller. In most cases, I hope for an amazing salad. It has happened before. The right flavor combinations, the right ingredients, and yes…even a salad can be magic.
It was Friday night…the beginning of an exciting and busy weekend…and I was in Columbus, Ohio visiting my friend Jenn. I had actually purchased a Living Social deal for The Claddagh Irish Pub in Columbus knowing that there would be a cause to use it at some point. And that night was Friday night after a long trip up in the car.
We arrived and found parking and made our way toward the front of the pub. We entered and were immediately greeted and asked if we had a reservation. Uh oh. Did that mean that there was something going on that evening? I replied that we did not have a reservation and the hostess didn’t even flinch before picking up three menus and guiding us toward the back room. We were seated at a low-lit table in the corner and given our menus to look over.
Although…when it comes to pubs, Jenn, my roomie and I pretty much already know what we want. Our waitress came over and introduced herself and asked if we knew what we wanted to drink. Cathy grabbed for the folder of booze and looked for the one word that makes her happiest at pubs. Yep. They had it. Magners. She and Jenn both ordered a pint of that. I stuck to water as…well…I was running later that weekend and I wanted to hydrate properly.
After our drink orders were taken and water was brought out to all three of us, we placed our orders. Both Jenn and Cathy went with their most favorite pub offering on any menu. Fish and chips ($13.99). As for me…I was down to two salads that interested me. I was having a hard time choosing and Cathy wasn’t helping me make the call. So after a little debate…I made up my mind.
My order…the Galway Salad ($7.99). I stuck with the Balsamic Vinaigrette for my dressing.
With orders in, we sat and talked. Magners were delivered. We discussed upcoming plans we all had, the concert we were seeing the next night, and just whatever we felt like talking about. Why? Because we are good friends and conversation is never an issue with us. Love that. And soon, we found our orders being delivered safely to our table. Jenn and Cathy had big planks of fish (they use cod in an ale batter) over a bed of pub chips (fries). They came with a side of slaw and tartar sauce as well. Cathy, who has taken to at least trying the tartar sauce, was quite impressed with it and alternated dipping her fish in the pool of ketchup on her plate and the tartar sauce. Needless to say…they enjoyed their fish and chips.
The Galway Salad looks like…a basic salad. It basically consisted of a bed of mixed greens that was topped off with a boat-load (seriously…it was crazy and a bit overwhelming to the palate) of sun-dried tomatoes, a pile of goat cheese, and a scattering of candied walnuts. They thankfully kept the balsamic vinaigrette to the side so I could add however much I wanted.
The salad was good…but there were just way too many sun-dried tomatoes. They were clumped together at times and would definitely overpower a bite if too many were on the fork. I had to scatter them out and really make sure that they were balanced out by the other components of the salad itself. And, let me tell you, when you are working with four ingredients, that can be a challenge. Thankfully the balsamic vinaigrette helped offset some of that as well.
Was it amazing? Not really. It was okay. Not bad. Just a bit unbalanced when it came to how it was topped. I mean…it was a very simple, basic salad. It was good. It was delicious. But it was a bit much at times when it came to the heavy-handed sun-dried tomatoes that topped it off. But, I got through it and polished off my plate, leaving the pub with a happy (and full) tummy.
The Claddagh served me a delicious salad. I will give them that. I left there full. But I think the chef needs to learn take a lighter hand with the sun-dried tomatoes as it was way overpowering at times. Thank goodness for the goat cheese and walnuts to help tamper that flavor down some.