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NINE FINE IRISHMEN

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New York-New York

3790 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-740-6969

website

$20-40

Daily 11am-11pm

Irish

B+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A fine Irish pub with some excellent Irish food - you heard me.

Where is it?

At New York-New York on the South Strip.

What kind of food is served?

All things from Ireland, packed with flavor and tradition.

What is the atmosphere like?

Forget the casino outside and you'd think you were in an Irish country estate.

How is the service?

Very good.

What are the prices like?

A little on the high side.

What else do I need to know?

Don't miss the well-stocked bar.

What's the bottom line?

Who knew Irish food could be this good?

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FULL REVIEW

You can get just about every ethnic or geographic cuisine imaginable in Vegas but Irish food wasn't readily available on The Strip. Chinese, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Russian, French.. yep, got all that and then some. But Irish.. not so much.

And to be frank, it was never all that surprising. After all, are there really that many Irish food fans out there? I'm not even sure people in Ireland are fans of Irish food. And no, Irish beers don't count as food. I checked.

Of course now I look at it a little differently. If all of Ireland had food as fine as the Nine Fine Irishmen restaurant and pub at New York-New York, there might be more Irish restaurants lining the Strip by now.

The two-story restaurant is a lot of fun, with cozy corners and private nooks allowing for intimate dining experiences. It's sort of like they brought over an old, rambling Irish house, plopped it into the middle of a casino, and then converted the various rooms and halls into dining space.

And in fact that's not too far from the truth. Everything in the restaurant - from the two massive carved oak bars to the furniture, books, paintings, and miscellaneous décor - was imported from Ireland.

The final effect is warm and inviting - the kind of place where you find yourself wishing for a cozy fire in the fireplace to complete the effect despite the fact that it's 110 degrees outside. Speaking of which, they have an outdoor patio and balcony for dining and drinking that face directly out onto The Strip. One of those pints of Guinness might be enough to ward off the heat.

In addition to the full-service bars with a host of Irish beers, they serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, all with a traditional Irish flair that I found enormously satisfying.

One of the dishes sampled was the caramelized apricot and pork sausage, both sweet and tangy at the same time, displayed lovingly on a bed of potatoes and vegetables. I was worried about it being too heavy for a lunchtime meal but it wound up being perfect, the apricot giving a much welcomed amount of buoyancy to the proceedings.

We also couldn't turn down the warm chicken salad, which appears on the "starters" menu but is more than a meal in and of itself. It wasn't necessarily all that "warm" but it was quite good with a choice of dressings to suit any taste.

And just to be United Kingdom traditional, we also went after the fish and chips, beer battered and served in a newspaper cone. This one also sounded heavy but wound up being surprisingly light and tasty, with a presentation sure to bring out the inner anglophile.

Other Irish favorites include Colcannon, Irish vegetables in a creamy soup of cabbage, leaks, and potatoes; smoke Irish salmon; grilled Irish goat cheese salad on a summer fruit compote salad; loin of bacon; Celtic chicken, glazed with honey and tarragon with sautéed potatoes; and of course Widow Maccormick's Irish Stew - lamb, potatoes, vegetables with fresh baked soda bread.

Be sure to save room for desserts. The Dunbrody Kiss - a fluffy chocolate mousse on a crunchy caramel base was amazing and the next time I go I'm going to go after either the baked strawberry and apple crumble or the Bailey's coffee cream pots, sponge fingers drenched in espresso coffee and layered with Bailey's mascarpone cream. Heck, maybe we'll have both.

Prices are a little on the high side (especially for lunch) but not any more so than any other restaurant on The Strip. Figure $20-25 all in for lunch and a few bucks more than that for dinner. Mind you, that's not counting all the beer you are planning on consuming (and I know you are).

The service was excellent and also authentic - several of the staff are imported from Ireland as well.

I enjoyed Nine Fine Irishmen and think it's a terrific alternative to the same old buffet, but we wish the prices were a little lower. You don't have to be a fan of Irish food to enjoy a meal here but you may have to be to justify the cost.

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