What the Deuce: Clarke's

Thursday, October 19, 2006



Cuisine: Irish and American (no, thankfully, it's not "fusion")
Location: 840 First Street, Miami Beach
Website: www.clarkesmiamibeach.com

Brilliant!: Clarke's menu is truly brilliant. It offers traditional Irish fare like Corned Beef & Cabbage, Fish & Chips, and Shepard's Pie while also serving American dishes like Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna, Sauteed Shrimp, and the King of Steaks, Filet Mignon. In addition, the menu contains unique appetizers - New York Style Pretzel, Scottish Smoked Salmon, and my personal favorite, the Irish Eggrolls. To drink, you can find Irish favorites - Guinness, Harp, MacAllen, and Laphroaig. For those who aren't feeling like a pint or a brown liquid, the bartenders will gladly pour you a glass of wine (a wide selection of Red and White) or mix you a martini.

Limburger Cheeseheads: There are no Limbuger Cheeseheads here, just sunblock, beer bottles, and a picnic in a field...Brilliant!

Eat Up Lad/Lass: The food lived up to the descriptions on the menu. Practically being Irish, the Editor decided on the Shepard's Pie and I decided to sample the Clarke's Hamburger. To start, we got a New York Pretzel and the Irish Eggrolls. To drink, we kept with the authenticity and each got a pint of Magner's.

Irish Eggrolls: Definitely the most unique item on the menu. It's two eggrolls stuffed with corned beef, cabbage, and mashed potatoes with mayo-dijon mustard dipping sauce (ok, so maybe there some fusion on the menu). It was definitely the best thing I ate at Clarke's that night. The Editor says that I should be done with this review by now and "stop making those stupid football lists." As far as the eggrolls, they were perfect because they take the best Irish foods and put them together in a little, easibly eatable package.

New York Pretzel: A New York Pretzel with spicy brown mustard. Thought I was at a Yankees game. "The New York Street Pretzel would only have been better if a street vendor handed it to me." - The Editor.

Shepard's Pie: Delicious but overwhelming for one person, according to the Editor. I saw her plate when it came out and it was huge. I don't think both of us could have finished it together.

Clarke's Hamburger: Really good. Perfectly cooked (medium) with tons of bleu cheese (if you don't like bleu, you can choose from American, Cheddar, or Swiss). I also passed on the bacon and mushrooms that are available. I ate about half of it and had to take the rest home. The burger also comes with a side of fries which are not to salty, so in my mind, just right.

Any Use?: My experience at Clarke's was perfect. The Editor and I arrived at 8 and were seated immediately (if you're going on a Friday or Saturday, I recommend reservations). Our server was a lass with an Irish accent which made the whole experience even more enjoyable. She was very friendly and took really good care of us. She made sure we had enough to eat and drink and even fixed our table when it started to wobble a wee bit.

The atmosphere is what you'd expect from a pub - boisterous with people enjoy food, drink, and each other. In addition, the low lighting added to the ambiance which is purely authentic. Last night we took our friends there, past midnight, and although it was quiet, it was perfect for grabbing a few pints and just hanging out. The bartender was friendly, making sure we had enough to drink, and even joking with us during our time there. And Rattle and Hum only added to the ambiance.

Simply put, for dinner, for drinks, or for both, Clarke's does it right. While there are other Irish pubs on the Beach, if you're looking for somewhere traditional rather than somewhere that turns into a typical SoBe spot at night, Clarke's is the place to be.


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