In the U.S., St. Patrick’s Day may be a drunken, green-beer-fueled day of parades and revelry, but in Ireland itself, up until the mid-’90s, the national public holiday was actually a somber one. So it’s possible to celebrate your Irishness (or lack thereof) in a manner that doesn’t require you to get fall-down drunk.
The monthly Farm-to-Table dinner at Honey Salt (1031 S. Rampart Blvd., 702-445-6100) on March 16 pays tribute to traditional fare through four courses, beginning with the classic bubble and squeak, a fried mish-mash usually made with leftover roasted vegetables from Sunday dinner, along with shaved corned beef, horseradish and soda bread. The family-style main course features braised lamb shanks glazed with Guinness, served with boiled vegetables and roasted potatoes, and paired with the Irish stout itself. This obviously isn’t a teetotaler meal—there’s plenty of Jameson, Bushmills and Baileys Irish coffee to keep you in the spirit.
Irish nachos are a delicacy I learned while cooking at a bar in college: waffle fries topped with melted cheese, bacon and jalapeños, then topped with a dollop of sour cream and chopped scallions. It seems that Shake Shack (in New York-New York, 725-222-6730) has perfected the dish just in time for St. Patrick’s Day with its playful When Irish Fries Are Smiling: Crinkle-cut fries are topped with horseradish cream, scallions and all-natural applewood smoked bacon. All that’s missing to make it a proper holiday meal are a few slices of corned beef and cabbage. I’d suggest that chocolate Guinness be the frozen custard flavor of the week from March 16-22, but the Mast Brothers mint chocolate will do nicely. New York-New York also happens to be home to one of the biggest St. Paddy’s day celebrations on the Strip, Celtic Feis on March 17.
I’ve got to have corned beef and cabbage St. Patrick’s Day if I’m going to manage the marathon of drinking, but occasionally it’s fun to go beyond the hunk of boiled beef and potatoes. Holsteins (in the Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7940) agrees. They put all the usual Irish suspects on the Luck O’ the Irish: shaved corned beef, Swiss cheese, braised green cabbage and Thousand Island dressing, all served on a beef patty. It’s like combining a burger and a Reuben into one fortifying mega sandwich that will shore you up to celebrate this holiday properly. And it of course comes with french fried potatoes. Because Irish.