Harvest sous chef Joe Flesia and executive chef Patrick Roney plate the evening's smoked corned beef steak. | Photo by Steve Coomes

Let’s not get started on why Irish food gets a bad rap in America; just acknowledge it happens unfairly and too often. Too few take the time to prepare it authentically. (Just listen to our podcast today to hear why two natives of Ireland agree.)

So I was excited to be invited to Harvest’s Irish Feast Beer Dinner last evening, when executive chef Patrick Roney paired four courses featuring his twist on Irish cuisine with beers from Lexington’s West 6th Brewing. Roney, who, had his Irish immigrant grandfather’s name not been changed at Ellis Island, would be named O’Rooney, put together a dandy meal centered on his elders’ food, which turned out delicious, of course.

Harvest general manager Tim Quinlan prepared beer pairings for the evening. | All photos by Steve Coomes
Harvest general manager Tim Quinlan prepared beer pairings for the evening. | All photos by Steve Coomes

Fish and chips? Check. Done with full respect to the classic, but using farmed large-mouth bass from Crystal Bridge Fish in LaGrange.

Lamb tartare “Irish Stew”? Totally unconventional, yet maybe the most talked-about plate of the evening. (Made me wonder why I’ve never seen it done elsewhere. Super flavorful. Could have had two.)

Corned beef? Check. But smoked and cooked sous vide. Corned beef like you’ve never had it, I assure you. And the black and tan blend from West 6th made for an ideal pairing. Believe it or not, but the butter cabbage and turnip puree were incredible, especially with the ring of ramp oil mixed in. “We’re seasonal here, so we’ve got a lot of turnips on hand. So I challenged my cooks to do something cool with turnips. Not easy,” Roney said. “I think they did well, though.”

Chocolate stout Pot of Gold? Another unconventional nod to rustic Irish treats anchored in Roney’s whimsy. “I’ve always looked for a reason to combine cereal and beer,” he joked. Yet that’s exactly what he did, adding West 6th’s Sister Sue Stout to a mix of granola, whipped malt and cocoa. (Yes, it worked exceptionally well.)

Check out some pics of what you missed. Needless to say, no one needed breakfast this morning at my house.

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Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 25-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass, Whisky Magazine, WhiskeyWash.com and The Bourbon Review. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

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