An Irish Welcome: Galway Bay
they say in Gaelic "Ceud Mile Failte"---"a hundred thousand welcomes."
You'll feel welcome upon entering Galway Bay, the Irish restaurant
with a pub attached rather than the more familiar opposite, an
Irish pub that serves food. And that last thought is precisely
how the proprietors identify their mission---high quality Irish
food with an excellent pub.
might be owner Michael Galway (from the old sod of Thomastown
in County Kilkenny) who greets you warmly, or it might be hostess
Peggy Kimbo (still in place from the days of the former Little
The cheery dining room underwent a five-month rehab by the genuine
Irish boys, brothers Michael and Fintan Galway and pals Anthony
Clarke and Sean Lynch (all known to speak Gaelic). The serious
refurbishment was directed by master craftsman Isadore Beattie,
who created the plan to expose brick walls, installed vivid-colored
stained glass windows, and hung the etched glass map of Ireland.
The gang of five also built lovely wooden door frames, mouldings
and dining tables. Isadore crafted the handsome bar top in the
pub section from a red oak tree that had been felled by lightning
in Calvert County.
Today it's a mélange of warm woods, artistic Irish wool rugs doubling
as wall hangings and prints of important Irish contributors to
our nation's history, including Commodore John Barry, the father
of the American Navy.
Fintan Galway credits these characteristics to the Irish "creativity,
hard work and gregariousness." He claims these traits have brought
Galway Bay, in four and one-half years, to an enviable success.
He notes they have built up a robust clientele of 80 percent local
regulars and 20 percent Annapolis visitors.
The evening we visited Galway Bay, we had five visitors from California
and four locals, all eager for authentic Chesapeake Bay fare in
the Irish restaurant and snug pub on Maryland Avenue.
We began with shared starters, a practice encouraged by our efficient
and friendly server. Voted the favorite was the appropriately
chilled, thin Irish smoked salmon rolls filled with prawn and
crab dip, served with wonderful homemade brown bread, capers and
chopped hard-boiled egg. Another headliner was the oysters O'Reilly,
a half dozen baked oysters filled with spinach, garlic, Irish
bacon and provolone cheese-we should have ordered at least a dozen.
Scoring high points were the well-matched pair, hot cockles (hard
shell clams) and mussels in a mild tomato and onion bath. The
Killarney cabbage wrap seemed just right-cabbage leaves stuffed
with a corned beef and potato mix, steamed and topped with Irish
whiskey mustard dressing.
An entree selected from the Irish Country Fare list was touted
as "the best you'll ever have." The corned beef and cabbage was
outstanding---a first cut of corned beef, slow-cooked for 10 hours
with a blend of herbs and spices, served with cabbage, Colcannon
potatoes, carrots and parsnips. One California diner declared
it was "so fresh and just salty enough."
The Irish mixed grill was fascinating---Irish rashers, black and
white pudding (sausages) served with a lamb chop, two poached
eggs and a grilled tomato, altogether a hearty dish any time of
the day. Also from the Taste of the Glens selections was my choice
named Foul Play, a combination of breast of chicken and breast
of duck flamed in Tyr Connell whiskey and finished with a leek
cream sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes. The chicken was
tender and the duck was ambrosia.
Still in the Glens, another diner selected the steak Tullach Mor,
a 14-ounce strip cut in-house, flamed in Jameson whiskey, charbroiled
and topped with caramelized onion and served with baked Cashel
blue cheese potatoes, green beans and cauliflower. Those who sampled
desserts were reverential while consuming Irish whiskey cake,
Bailey's Irish mousse and an incredible bread pudding. One of
the coffees we sampled was Sean's Whisper, a steamy concoction
of Bailey's, Fra Angelica and Godiva chocolate and, of course,
According to Chef Michael Morronne, who trained at the Culinary
Institute in Baltimore and has lots of experience on the job,
the management team insists on as much local seafood as they can
find, plus prime beef and the best and freshest of other meats
and poultry. All vegetable dishes are started with the genuine
article early in the morning. Making fresh bread is a daily ritual.
Servings are generous and prices are reasonable.
On most Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, genuine
Irish balladeers and musicians are on tap to entertain. The same
opportunity awaits at sister restaurant Killarney House at 584
Central Avenue in Davidsonville, which opened just 1-1/2 years
ago. Galway Bay, "a truly Irish restaurant and pub" offers value
for the money with a bonus---real Irish entertainment.
Barry, a Pisces who resides on Mill Creek, has been a water
and food buff for three decades.