Kevin Barry, named after the young 18th century Irish martyr, is the son of a 1993 Naval Academy graduate who did not follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he followed his own to Napa Valley’s the School for American Chefs at the Beringer Vineyard California’s Napa Valley. Barry says it was a transformative experience for him, opening new vistas as the school (then under the direction of the late Madeleine Kamman) introduced its students to farm-to-table cooking, visiting food markets and vineyards in this fertile breeding ground for young chefs. Today, Barry is the talented chef in the kitchen at Galway Bay, Annapolis’ authentic Irish restaurant and pub on Maryland Avenue.
En route to this popular location, Barry honed his culinary skills at some of the best fine dining restaurants in Annapolis, among them Harry Browne’s, Reynolds Tavern, and Treaty of Paris in the Maryland Inn. At Galway Bay, it seems Barry has found his niche.
Of Irish descent, with a daughter currently living in Ireland, Barry reflects the “new Irish cooking” while retaining an emphasis on fresh seafood, grass-fed beef and lamb, and locally-sourced vegetables. On high crowded bookshelves, you will find books by Dublin-based celebrity chef Kevin Dundon as well Darena Allen, founder Ballymaloe, the famous cooking school in Ireland’s Cork County.
Corned beef and cabbage, the much-maligned traditional Irish dish (more popular outside than on the Emerald Isle), gets a five-star rating at Galway Bay. Barry buys his grass-fed meet by the 40-pound case, going through 4-5 cases a week as he uses thick slabs for entrees as well as the the restaurant’s wonderful Reuben, stacked high with sauerkraut on rye. He and his staff make everything from “scratch,” including Irish soda and brown breads, boxty (he adds potatoes to pancake batter to make a savory underlining for appetizers topped with seared scallops or salmon), lamb stew (call ahead for availability), and an addictive Whisky Tomato Soup. Everything’s authentic at Galway Bay – including the lilting Irish accents of owners Michael Galway and Anthony Clarke, manager Sean Lynch and many of the Irish-born wait staff—and, of course, the Guinness and the award-winning Irish coffee. Craving authentic Irish dishes at home? Try these recipes:
Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 4 lbs. corned beef brisket
- 3 large carrots
- 6-8 small onions
- 1 teaspoon dry English mustard
- 4 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 large sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 head cabbage
- 1 can beer
- 1 teaspoon pickling spices
- Salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in large pot, with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer, cover and cook two hours. Remove cabbages, discard outer leaves, cut into quarters and return to pan. Continue cooking at a simmer for 1-2 hours or until meat is tender.
Remove meat to cutting board, let rest for 10 minutes and cut into generous slices. Surround with vegetables and serve hot with Irish soda bread.
Galway Bay Whiskey Tomato Soup
- 2 tablespoons EVO
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons each, dried oregano and thyme (tablespoon
- each, if using fresh)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 large can San Marzano plum tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup cream
- Dash hot sauce
- ¼ cup Irish whiskey
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in large pot, add onion and garlic until softened. Add herbs, wine, tomatoes and hot sauce. Cook on medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add whisky and cook over high for a few minutes. Add cream and simmer briefly until slightly thickened. Taste for seasonings and serve.