Characterized by writer Tom Wolfe as the “Me Decade” and derided by cynics as the “Disco Era,” the 1970s witnessed an explosion of copycat fast food chain restaurants and the birth of innovative fusion cuisine in many contemporary restaurants. Fusion cuisine is the inventive combination of diverse, sometimes disparate culinary traditions, techniques and ingredients to form an entirely new genre. In large metropolitan areas, particularly throughout California, the fusion of different cuisines became commonplace. Restaurants featuring the melding of French and Chinese cuisine were especially popular.
Still other restaurants had their own ideas as to what constituted fusion cuisine. Instead of intermixing ingredients, they featured menus showcasing the cuisine of several genres. One such restaurant is Clancy’s Pub in Farmington, New Mexico. Though its name practically screams “Irish pub,” Clancy’s Pub is so much more. Founded in 1978, Clancy’s offers one of the most diverse and comprehensive menus you’ll find anywhere in New Mexico. It’s East meets West, surf meets turf, vegetarian meets meat lover, sweet meets savory, and so much more.
Now, if you’re wondering if Clancy’s Pub is just another one of those restaurants which endeavors to “be all things to all people” and falls woefully short of its aspirations, you’re in for a surprise. Clancy’s menu is replete with the highest quality foods—hundreds of exciting dishes prepared in a wide array of delightful styles: American (traditional), barbecue, burgers, Irish, Japanese, New Mexican, sandwiches, seafood, steak, sushi and vegetarian. How’s that for fusion! With such a comprehensive menu, there’s bound to be something for everyone. If, however, you’re craving something that’s not on the menu and Clancy’s has the ingredients, they’ll prepare it for you. How’s that for customer orientation?
As you approach Clancy’s, you’ll quickly notice that it doesn’t subscribe to the stereotypical template of an Irish pub in America. Even with its emerald green trim and awning, its adobe-hued stucco exterior bespeaks New Mexico far more than Dublin. Step inside and you’ll run into an illuminated shamrock or two, but not too many more of the typical trappings of a pub in Killarney, Cork or Limerick. Instead, you’ll find an ambiance as eclectic as the menu. Native American paintings and ceramic chiles festoon the walls. There’s something to catch your eye everywhere you turn.
That certainly applies to the multi-page menu, which offers so many options you’ll be hard-pressed to make a quick decision. There are twelve appetizers alone, not to mention a half dozen salads and several sumptuous soups and stews. Intrepid diners shouldn’t overlook the sushi menu when contemplating how to start their meal.
If you have an adventurous bent, you might want to try something you haven’t had before, perhaps something like mac and cheese bites. The dish features deep-fried and breaded macaroni and cheese formed into wedges and served with Ranch dressing and sides of carrots and celery sticks. Available in half (four wedges) or full sizes, these cheesy wedges are one of several unique offerings available at Clancy’s.
The notion of an Irish pub serving sushi is reason enough to try it. An even better reason is because the sushi is actually pretty good… and not just good in a “novelty” sort of way. All your favorite sushi–from maki (sushi rolls) and sashimi to nigiri (a small clump of rice with a piece of fish on top)—is available.
Clancy Dan’s Fire Roll lives up to its name. Spicy tuna is sheathed in tempura and topped with baked scallops and plated with a decorative drizzle of a spicy Sriracha-based sauce. With or without the spicy sauce (or wasabi and soy sauce if you prefer), the tuna is very fresh with pronounced notes of heat.
In 2009, Food Network magazine compiled a state-by-state list of the best burgers in America. According to the magazine, the one burger in New Mexico you absolutely have to try is the green chile cheeseburger at Clancy’s. That’s pretty high praise indeed. Served open-face and smothered with your choice of red or green chile on either a tortilla or bun, it’s a formidable burger; one you can have your way.
That means you can pick the size you want—the “bigger than most” at six-ounces, the “biggest in town” at ten-ounces and the “biggest in all of Ireland” one-pounder. Clancy’s uses only top quality ground beef and will dress your burger with any condiment you want. Frankly, an unadorned green chile cheeseburger on a tortilla is one of the very best burgers in the Land of Enchantment courtesy of a nicely piquant, very flavorful green chile and beef prepared to your exacting specifications. Clancy’s green chile cheeseburger is on the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail.
Burgers and sandwiches are served with your choice of side: steakhouse potatoes, sweet potato fries, hand-cut Irish fries, cottage cheese, coleslaw, onion rings, side salad and even a baked potato. The baked potato is roughly the size of a football and you can have it your way. “Loaded” means butter, sour cream, bacon, mushrooms, shredded cheese and chives.
It doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day for you to eat like the Irish. All you have to do is order the Open Face Rueben O’Rourke. Thick shards of delicious corned beef on this rye bread behemoth are complemented by sauerkraut (not of the lip-pursing variety) and a sweet-tangy Thousand Island dressing buried under melted Swiss cheese. It’s a terrific sandwich though aficionados might long for the hand-held variety.
Desserts are decadent, delicious and diet-devastating. At the opposite end of the flavor profile spectrum are the turtle cheesecake and the key lime pie. The turtle cheesecake is oh so rich with a caramel topping sprinkled with crushed pecans while the key lime pie will purse your lips with its tanginess. Both are in the “must have” category.
There are so many reasons Clancy’s Pub is one of Farmington’s most popular gathering places. With its incomparable menu, amiable service, generous portions (an understatement), and lively ambiance, it’s fusion done the fun way.
Clancy’s Pub Irish Cantina
2701 East 20th
Farmington, New Mexico
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LATEST VISIT: 31 December 2013
# OF VISITS: 1
BEST BET: Mac and Cheese Bite, Green Chile Cheeseburger, Turtle Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, Loaded Baked Potato, Dan’s Fire Roll, Open Face Rueben O’Rourke