Although Nighttown has undergone several evolutions, it’s remained surprisingly consistent by delivering impressive food in a setting not unlike a New York saloon at the turn-of-the-century. Named after the Dublin red-light district in James Joyce’s Ulysses, this restaurant started small in 1965, with one storefront and a focus on steaks and lobster tails.
Then-owner John Barr expanded by renting three more storefronts over the following 15 years, crafting each section of the restaurant with its own aesthetic — peep the original bar in the lounge made out of church pews, for example. “The place is like a patchwork quilt,” says now-owner Brendan Ring. “Every room at Nighttown has a different character.”
Ring, who became the manager in 1993, is responsible for bringing in jazz acts from New York and Chicago and turning Nighttown into the hot spot it is today. But regardless of its changes, one staple has stayed the same: the Famous Dublin Lawyer. The oft-returned-to dish sees fresh sauteed lobster served in a mild cayenne-butter cream sauce with mushrooms, scallions and Irish whiskey over rice pilaf. “The most important thing in the longevity of a restaurant like Nighttown is consistency,” says Ring. He shares the recipe for the popular dish below.
The Dublin Lawyer
1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
1 pound cooked lobster meat
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups cooked rice pilaf
In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly combine softened butter, cayenne pepper and paprika. Melt this cayenne butter in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, scallions and lobster meat. Saute until mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove mixture from heat and add the whiskey, then cook until the whiskey is completely evaporated. Add the heavy cream and reduce until thickened. Serve in large bowls over hot rice.
When You Go: Nighttown, 12387 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-795-0550, nighttowncleveland.com
Read More: Click here to read the full list of 18 Classic Cleveland Restaurants.