|Spinach Chicken Melt
I think Irish food and English food get a bad rap. I always had the impression that the food of the Isles was lousy. It is my belief that this American view is largely manufactured based on perceptions from WWII. The BBC America tends to support my point of view and states that, "Many observers say that British cuisine’s fall from grace had much to do with the residual effects of two world wars and strict rationing."
When I was in Ireland last year I was shocked by just how much I enjoyed many of my meals. Lots of hearty bread, well prepared seafood platters and wonderful curries.
Similarly, while I expected to be disappointed by Claddagh, I was somewhat impressed by the quality of the food. (I always expect to be disappointed by chain restaurants.)
Against my better judgement, I allowed the waitress to talk me into the spinach chicken melt over the monte cristo. Grilled chicken breast layered between house spinach dip with cheddar, roasted red peppers and tomato. The chicken was very well prepared and the spinach dip and cheese provided that extra flavorful cheese kick that gets me out of bed in the morning.
My favorite part of the Claddagh dining experience was that they allow you to substitute your french fries for any side of your choice - including some fantastic roasted brussels sprouts with bacon! The sprouts were so good that I'd expect to pay about $7 for them at a nicer restaurant downtown.
The night we visited Claddagh was offering this fancy tasting menu which was paired with various shots of whiskey. I'm woefully sad that I could not partake.