1 Levee Way
Newport on the Levee
Well I guess I ought to dispel some of the venom I heaped at Claddagh a few months ago because they took my complaints to heart when they revamped their menu for the summer. There is now a vegetarian entree listed, and it's pretty darned good.
We were on our way to another restaurant at the Levee and noticed that Claddagh had a new "Summer Taste of Ireland" menu posted, so we went over to have a look. I really wasn't expecting to find anything vegetarian, but the Stuffed Portabella piqued my interest enough to walk through the door.
The restaurant is decorated in a faux Olde World style with lots of grey stone, wrought iron and dark wood. Credit where it is due, the restaurant does look similar to the pubs we visited in Dublin a few years ago; the only thing missing was the obligatory elderly drunken Irishman spouting abuse at patrons. Oh well, you can't have everything!
Claddagh has a pleasant outdoor dining area with a picturesque view of Cincinnati's skyline, and the proximity to the Purple People Bridge makes it an ideal location for people-watching. We ordered drinks (a pint of Carlsberg for Steve, a shandy for me) and got a table on the patio to watch the show.
The shandy wasn't very good. I should have known better than to order one on this side of the pond because American lemonade is quite different from the Brit version of lemonade, which is usually served sparkling and tastes rather like a more delicately flavored Sprite. What I got at Claddagh was a lager cut with American lemonade, which gave the drink a flat, bitter aftertaste. I like my beer, but I couldn't make it halfway through this. The Carlsberg and side salad were winners though.
I'll admit that I wasn't holding out much hope for the meaty mushroom because much of the time I find them over-seasoned and oily, but Claddagh's kitchen staff showed tasteful restraint with the basil oil. The entree was not so much "stuffed" as it was layered: brie and thinly sliced tomatoes sit atop a crumb-coated portabella on a bed of sauteed spinach and cherry tomatoes. Very nice, but a little steep at $10.99. That said, I'd certainly order this entree again.
Claddagh's new summer menu also lists Banoffee Pie, a traditional British dessert made with homemade caramel, bananas and Bailey's whipped cream. I am sorry to say that I didn't get to sample the pie on this visit, but there's always next time. With a bonafied vegetarian option on the menu, a repeat visit is already in the works.