The Weather Might Not Be Cold, But County Clare’s Irish Curry Will Still Warm Your Frigid Heart

Boom. 2 posts in…2, 3 weeks? That’s like lightning (don’t question it, just let it happen).   

As I move further and further from trying the typical 1/4 lb burger, I have begun to fear for my health.  I’m a pretty small, relatively active guy.  How many burgers can I eat before my arteries turn into straws full of grease? That’s a legitimate fear, but I have a problem. I really like burgers.  I could seriously eat one a day. I’m not kidding.  

Luckily, an addiction to hamburgers is PROBABLY better than an addiction to heroin. We’re all in agreement that heroin is pretty horrible for you. Just ask Janis Joplin.  This is so morbid.  Too morbid. 

Enough morbidity (spell-check says that is a word).  As a new Milwaukee resident I’m still miffed by this ridiculous winter. It’s been relatively mild and somewhat snow free (minus that 2 week period after the mini-blizzard of early January).  I’m not really sure why I expected some hellish, tundra-like winter.  I spent the last 5 years in Chicago, which is like 70 miles south. Chicagoans typically treat Milwaukee like it’s part of Canada, and we all know that’s not true…just ask Scott Walker. A little more snow would have been nice and romantic and stuff, but I’m not complaining. 

If you’ve never been to County Clare, it’s a beautiful little Irish pub attached to the County Clare Bed and Breakfast on Astor Street.  If you have been there then these facts still hold true…duh…horrible joke.  I imagine that County Clare has various Irish imports on tap and in the bottle if that’s what you’re looking for.  The menu is full of delicious Irish foods, and some American fare with an Irish twist.  What I’m getting at, is that County Clare is a really traditional Irish pub…like, Irish guy running the bar traditional.  

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County Clare’s burger is called the Bunratty Burger.  For those of you not from Ireland (ALL OF YOU)  Bunratty is a village in the actual County Clare, Ireland. I know this not because I’ve been to Ireland, but because I am good at Wikipedia. The Bunratty Burger is a hefty 1/2 lb beef patty, covered in both provolone and cheddar cheeses, a garlic parsley sauce, 2 large onion rings, and Irish bacon.  All of this is on a delicious Sciortino’s hard roll.  Irish bacon is called “rashers.”  Rashers ranges from the typical strips of bacon as we’re used to in America, to the traditional, round patty from Ireland.  It’s not a thick piece of bacon like Canadian Bacon (also a hilarious movie that, ironically, was directed by Michael Moore…yes that Michael Moore) but it does taste a little more like ham than American Bacon.  I really hate ham, but I love rashers…so there’s that.  I’ve had Irish bacon before (in Ireland), but I’ve never had it on a burger…until now. It was brilliant. The round patty provided much more flavor for the burger (solving the only problem with bacon strips), and it brought a subtlety delicious flavor to the burger. 

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When the Bunratty Burger comes to the table it is an intimidating sight to behold. It’s really big, and the two onion rings on top make it look even more intimidating.  I like onion rings on my burger, but these are really big onion rings.  If I left them on the burger then I couldn’t fit the whole thing in my mouth (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!) so I ate them first.  They were really tasty.  Nothing transcendent, but solid nonetheless.   

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The Sciortino’s hard roll was fresh, delicious, airy, and flakey.  Sciortino’s is an Italian bakery on Brady (Cake Boss is the greatest show in the history of shows about cakes) and apparently it makes delicious hard rolls.  The Sciortino’s roll was the perfect compliment to the immense and juicy burger.  The roll absorbed all of the juices and provided some great flavor for the whole thing.  

The beef was really great also.  It was delightfully juicy (who says that?) and perfectly grilled.  Both cheeses mixed well to form a delicious and stringy (good stringy) team.  The garlic parsley sauce was really subtle. REALLY SUBTLE. Like, so subtle I didn’t really taste it subtle. I’m totally ok with that. Too much more flavor would be overpowering.   

Burger aside, the best item on the menu at County Clare is the Irish Chips.  These are your typical pub fries (thick fries somewhere between thin fries and overwhelming steak fries) with a deliciously irish twist.  CURRY. They are covered in Irish Curry. Irish curry.  Amazing.  I love Irish Curry. It’s great. Seriously. Irish Curry is really different from curry as you’re used to in Indian dishes.  While it’s flavored with the same curry spices, Irish Curry is much more saucy and sweet. It’s not at all spicy. I’m not doing the flavor justice, but it reminds me of a really sweet, not meaty, gravy.  It’s also a beautiful pea green color. The Bunratty Burger is delicious, but County Clare is worth the trip for the curry fries alone.  

Onto the review:

Beef (1-5): 4

– High quality beef, here.  It is well cooked (though I recommend going down 1/2 temperature, medium down to medium rare) and full of flavor.  I’m not entirely sure on the cooking method of this burger but it was evenly cooked, solid, and HEFTY. It’s a lot of burger, but to accomplish everything that County Clare wants, it’s an appropriate size. 

Bun (1-5): 5

– The Sciortino’s hard roll ties for first as my favorite bun in Milwaukee (with anyone who has a delicious pretzel roll).  It is fluffy, fresh, flaky, and perfectly sweet. It’s a little sweet than your traditional Italian bread, and the extra sweetness is a great addition. 

Cheese (1-5): 3 

– The cheddar/provolone combo was really good, but nothing too special.  I assume this was Wisconsin cheddar, but I could be wrong. Good cheese. 

Onion Rings (1-5): 4 

– These rings were large and terrifying.  They fit on the burger if smashed down, but that’s a personal choice that I won’t make for you.  In terms of an onion ring, this is a really solid option. It was well battered, evenly fried (is it possible to unevenly fry something?) and sufficiently…oniony.

Bacon (1-5): 5 

– Amazing. This bacon is really great.  Milwaukee has some great bacon, and I don’t want to take anything away from that bacon, but this bacon is just something different. It’s a more hammy flavor (only slightly), a little smoky, and full of flavor. It subtly adds a lot to this great burger.

Garlic Parsley Sauce (1-5): N/A

– I just didn’t taste it, so I don’t think it gets rated. Maybe I should rate it 5 for not overpowering the burger? 

Fries (1-5): 5 

– Amazing. Some of the best fries in Milwaukee.  Get the Irish chips with curry and cheddar. Then write me a blank check as thanks for recommending these delicious fries to you. You’re welcome. 

Recommendation:

– County Clare is a fantastic Irish restaurant with some great traditional fare and some awesome American inspired dishes.  Go for the burger and come back for the fries. Seriously.

– The Bunratty Burger gets a 4 out of 5. The fries are so delicious they’re unrankable. Boom. 

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