Thursday, July 23, 2015

Clarke Hotel Irish Restaurant

My friend and I recently went to get drinks and dinner at The Clarke Hotel. I had heard great things about the fish fry on Fridays and a few other dishes, so we decided to check it out for ourselves.

We went on a Thursday evening and decided to sit in the bar for a drink before we had our dinner. I went for a traditional Irish beer, Kilkenny that pours from a nitrogen tapper. It was very refreshing and hit the spot.
The bartender told us that the hotel was seeing great occupancy rates and the restaurant was a hit! In addition to being the bartender, he was also the hotel "front desk" that evening and checked a few guests in while we were there.
The bar definitely has an Irish flare to it with beer signs, Irish sayings and the dark paneling on the walls, traditional with other Irish pubs I have visited.
The tappers for beer were lit up and really helped make it easier to read what was all on tap.
We decided to start with an appetizer. Although I'm not a huge Reuben sandwich fan, a friend turned me onto Reuben Rolls a few years ago and I have never looked back. We decided to get those to enjoy while we figured out our dinner selections. They came out quickly and we dug in. The horseradish sauce had a bit of a kick but didn't over power the roll. I could taste each ingredient on its own and it all went together really well. These are probably the best Reuben Rolls I have had.
Then it was time for another drink and our bartender suggested that I try one of the specialty beers. I went for a Magner's Cider with a shot of Caramel Vodka in it - so it became a cool spiced cider. This was amazing! I never thought of this combination, but I'm so glad I tried it.
I wandered around the hotel lobby a bit and enjoyed looking at all the vintage pictures of downtown Waukesha. They also have a banquet hall for meetings and small parties that is available to rent.

When it was time to figure out what to have for dinner, we decided to just stay at the bar because some live music was about to start and we wanted to enjoy it. I really wanted someone to order the Guinness BBQ Sandwich because I wanted to see just how huge the sandwich would be. I mean it has mashed potatoes right on it! But alas, no one had, but I did see a variety of other entrees and pleasant reactions from the other diners. I selected the Shepherd's Pie and my friend went with the Beef Stew.

Everything came out piping hot and I had to move the potatoes on the top of mine so that I could let it cool down before I enjoyed. The Shepherd's Pie was fantastic! I enjoyed every bit of this meal and had half of it to take home because it was so huge. The vegetables were tender, the meat was perfect and the potatoes had a light crisp to the top.
My friend's beef stew was excellent as well. Her dad makes a great beef stew but she said this one comes in second to his. Everything was tender, the meat fell right apart and the flavors were outstanding.

After our meal, the bartender then treated us and other patrons at the bar to a little Irish after dinner drink. I'm not exactly sure what was all in it, but it was minty, chocolatey, and delicious.

The service was excellent - the bartender was extremely knowledgeable and could answer all of our questions and made sure we were enjoying ourselves. The music on a Thursday evening was light enough to be able to have a conversation over, but added to the ambiance of the bar. On the weekends, they also have brunch and traditional Irish music that I want to come back and check out.

I think that we will definitely be back as I want to try other dishes from their menu and hear more of the live music. I highly recommend having a drink and a meal at The Clarke Hotel!

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