I know many people -- in fact, I'm one of them -- who have no interest in eating corned beef and cabbage any other day of the year except St. Patrick's Day, when this traditional "boiled dinner" suddenly has a fresh allure. I feel guilty admitting this now, but I wouldn't even eat my own mother's corned beef and cabbage as a kid. (She liked any cooking that involved just tossing stuff into a pot.)
The best local advice I could get on the best corned beef and cabbage in town, I decided, was author and publicity maven Pat O'Neill, author of From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City.
"Corned beef -- pickled meat -- is something that most Irish immigrants started eating after they had arrived in America," O'Neill says. His favorite version of the dish is the way his wife, Julie, prepares it: "We grill the corned beef out on the outdoor grill, and Julie fries cabbage in a little butter and sprinkles a pinch of sugar on it. We eat it with a little mustard, and it's great."
But for Fat City diners who simply want to step into a restaurant or a saloon for a plate of hot corned beef and cabbage, O'Neill had these suggestions:
5. J. Murphy's Irish Pub & Grille, at 22730 Midland Drive in Shawnee, is serving an Irish breakfast tomorrow until 11 a.m. After that, the kitchen starts putting out the corned beef and cabbage. "It's an incredible portion," says one of the servers, "and comes with mashed potatoes." The dinner is $12.99.
4. O'Neill's Restaurant & Bar, at 9417 Mission in Prairie Village (the owner is no relation to author Pat O'Neill), will be serving, according to one server, a "huge plate of corned beef, new potatoes, cabbage and horseradish sauce" all day tomorrow. The meal is $12.
3. The Gaf, the Waldo Irish restaurant and pub, at 7122 Wornall, operated by James O'Brien and Irish-born Ray Dunlea, will start serving an Irish breakfast tomorrow at 8 a.m. and will be ready to serve its hefty plate of corned beef and cabbage -- priced at $10.99 -- by 10:30 a.m.
2. Mike Kelly's Westsider, at 1515 Westport Road, starts serving corned beef and cabbage tomorrow at 11 a.m. A plate costs $8.95, and if you -- God forbid -- want something less traditional for St. Paddy's Day, they'll serve Irish stew, hot dogs and veggie burritos, too.
1. Now more than 100 years old, Browne's Irish Market, at 3300 Pennsylvania, is Kansas City's most revered venue for St. Patrick's Day. They'll serve a traditional Irish breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. -- rashers and bangers, eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, soda bread and toast. By lunchtime, the corned beef and cabbage plates -- with boiled potatoes -- will be featured, although Browne's will also serve bangers and mash, black-and-tan sandwiches and shepherd's pie.
Interestingly enough, the Power & Light District's Irish pub, Raglan Road, at 170 E. 14th St., is not
serving corned beef and cabbage: "It's really an Irish-American dish,"
says one of the managers. "We eat bacon and cabbage back home in Ireland,
and that's what's on our menu."