The summer of 2015 may have been a bit of a washout so far, with a much higher risk of trench foot than sunburn, but it has not been all bad. We are experiencing an unprecedented explosion of new eateries and bars, squeezing themselves into any nook and cranny they can find. There really is no shortage of new restaurants to duck into to escape the drizzle.
While there are many places in Galway where you can get a really great steak, we have not had a dedicated steakhouse since the glory days of Scotty’s on Middle Street, queuing on the dark stairs for half an hour just to get a burger, but always worth it. Then Scotty’s moved out to the ’burbs and no one has stepped in to claim the title — until now.
Galway was crying out for a proper steakhouse on the American model, one that knew how to source beef, cut steaks thick enough and char them properly. Now we have the Eyre Street Steakhouse, adopting all the best of the US steakhouse, but giving them a pronounced Irish accent. It is putting prime cuts of Irish beef centre stage.
Despite our new understanding of the impact the mass production of meat has on our planet, and despite the impact our ever-growing familiarity with processed meats has on our health, it is very hard to think that meat might lose its central place in the Irish diet. If you are going to eat beef, you want to know it has come from an animal that has lived well. The Steakhouse is more than capable of satiating the most enthusiastic steak aficionado.
Run by Mike and Mary O'Reilly, in the building that is the day-time home to Revive Cafe. It celebrates the steakhouse ethos wonderfully on a street that is home to more than a few small cafes. Though the menu has options for partners and friends who might not be so enthused about the choice between a rib-eye and a piece of 28-day dried fillet, it is, naturally enough, primarily beef-focused.
The menu is based on fresh produce daily, cooked simply with everything made in house from scratch. There is a short and affordable wine list with nothing over €30 and all available by the glass, and some interesting bottled craft beers. The starters, priced around the €7.50 mark, offer great value. We opened with a prawn cocktail in horseradish sauce and hot and spicy chicken wings. The prawn cocktail sadly had no horseradish, the only small off-note of the evening. The hot and spicy chicken wings were the real deal, unjointed and drenched in hot sauce — quite possibly the new 'best wings in town'.
At the heart of the mains is a selection of butcher’s burgers, and the basic steak options, sirloin, fillet, or ribeye in various sizes and prices, rising from £20 to £30. The mighty porterhouse, to serve two people, is a very reasonable €60. All accompanied by enough chips, onion rings, and sauces to satisfy the ravenous. We ordered a steak platter cooked medium-rare for two to sample a little bit of everything. People of Galway rejoice — the beef is fantastic, rich, deep, with that dense tang that comes with proper hanging.
There are some further seafood, poultry, and salad choices for the not so carnivorous. Desserts showed the same classic inspiration as the starters and were more a matter of determination than appetite. The Eton mess and lemon possett were a lovely berry and sugary foil to the ‘beef-fest’ that preceded them.
It may be some time before I ask for steak in a restaurant again, I suspect I would find it hard enough to get one more enjoyable than those served by the Steakhouse and I am certainly going back for those wings. Put this on your list of new places to visit, you will not be disappointed.
Eyre Street Steakhouse, 35 Eyre Street, Galway, phone (091 ) 533 779. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 6.30pm to 10.30pm.