“Even when they have nothing, the Irish emit a kind of happiness, a joy. “

Fiona Shaw

I’m not sure if you’re aware, either because we’ve never met or you’ve never checked out my “About the Blogger” page but I’m Irish. Not just any Irish but a freckled, redheaded, can speak a smidge of Gaelic (Hello, Goodbye, Cheers, Kiss My Ass and Ireland Forever) Irish lass. Since St. Patrick’s Day is on Saturday I felt it was only appropriate to celebrate this week with Irish blog entries. Today’s Tuesday Tables feature is one of my favorite Irish restaurant/bars, Katie O’Byrne’s in Schenectady.

I recently not only went to Katie’s for lunch with a friend but also attended a Jameson Irish Whiskey tasting. First, I went to lunch to meet up with a friend and purchase my tickets for said Whiskey tasting. For lunch I ordered the 3 Lobster Salad Slyders ($9.99) – sweet Canadian lobster meat with celery, onion, cucumber and tarragon mayo. All slyders (how they spell it) are served on a deli soft bun and served with a choice of side, I decided on sweet potato fries with a little extra charge.

I was curious about how fresh lobster would taste in a restaurant in downtown Schenectady, which is not anywhere relatively close to where lobsters tend to live. It was quite delicious! I hate to say that I was surprised because I do enjoy the food at Katie O’Byrne’s (I recommend the Irish stew as well) but I was surprised how good the lobster tasted based solely on where in the world I was eating it. I tend to take off lettuce in these kinds of sandwiches because they don’t enhance the flavor and they, in my opinion, are too hard to chew. What I liked about the slyder is that the celery and cucumber were present but not overwhelming because I don’t want my lobster salad too crunchy but that very well could be a personal preference. The sweet potato fries were delicious and a great pairing if I do say so myself. I didn’t end up finishing the whole thing. I did take it home but someone else found my last slyder in my refrigerator before I had a chance to finish my meal later so therefore, I didn’t end up finishing it as much as I would have liked to. If you’re a fan of lobster salad, give this a try! Let me know what you think!

The main reason I went to Katie O’Byrnes that day was to purchase my $40 tickets for the well worth it Jameson Irish Whiskey tasting and food pairing sponsored by Katie O’Byrnes. The only reason I waited this long to blog about it was because I felt it only appropriate to describe Jameson the one week a year everyone drinks it, even if they don’t usually.

We started off with a mat with 4 different types of Jameson on it and a brief description of each. I honestly wish I had a bit of background information on each of these whiskeys but not only was the restaurant and bar packed with people and I couldn’t hear, I decided to sit at the table with, who I called, jaunty Irish men who rightly so were more focused on tasting than hearing about each Jameson. We were able to try regular Jameson, Special Reserve 12 Year, Gold Reserve and Limited Reserve 18 year.

The mat helped us through the tasting; it was my cheat sheet for what I’m supposed to smell, taste and the texture of the finish. We started with a family-style simple salad that was to pair with the regular Jameson. As I mentioned, I really wish I could repeat to you why these were paired but not only could I not hear that well, I was too excited for the whole tasting that the information may have gone through one ear and out the other. Then we continued our meal with some of the most delicious bruschetta I may have ever had. Bruschetta is such an easy recipe but that doesn’t stop it from being done incorrectly that was supposed to pair with the Jameson Gold. For our main meal we had a 10oz rib eye with roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables with Jameson 12-year-old and for dessert rice pudding with Jameson 18-year-old. Overall the food was delicious. The rib eye that we had that evening they don’t serve on the menu but I believe I mentioned to not only the owner but the waitress that this should be on the menu because it was so tender and delicious. If you’ve never been to Katie O’Byrnes, it’s definitely worth a try, especially for St. Patrick’s Day.

If you’re in the Schenectady area for your birthday, Katie’s offers a fish bowl free which is much tastier than some of the local birthday margaritas I’ve tasted. Since my focus was divided between food and my favorite alcoholic beverage (try Jameson with ginger ale!), my friend Kellie and I decided that we should probably give the tasting another go in the privacy of our own homes. Each tasting was maybe a ¼ of a shot and how can one fully taste with such a small amount? I’ll let you know how that goes!