Teach Barnai, or Barney’s House, is a family-run restaurant with an impressive menu. It feels like somebody’s home, especially when you sit by the fireplace downstairs for a pint while waiting to be seated. We were seated in the more intimate space on the second floor, and it felt like we were having our own party in our own apartment.
I was assigned to pick a bottle of wine before dinner. As soon as I selected the Gigondas, the owner and manager, Michael Carr, told me that he was going to open it right away to let it sit and air out. I knew I was going to have a good night then.
When he heard that I hailed from New York City, he showed me a photo of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. Apparently, they have a vacation home a few streets down and occasionally have dinner here when they are in town. I didn’t really care about anything New York City related when I was in Ireland, so instead, I inquired about the monkfish offered on the menu.
They wrap the beautiful fish with bacon, sear it, and then finish it up in the oven for about 10 minutes. I politely made a request to take my order out of the oven after only 5 minutes. Everyone in our table had a taste and loved my monkfish’s perfect tenderness that I was told the chef, who is also Mr. Carr’s wife, might just start cooking all their monkfish that way. I ended up having the best meal in the entire restaurant, with the Gigondas like icing on the cake.
Update, 2007: Teach Barnai is on the Main Street of Kilcar in County Donegal, Ireland. When I was there in 2004, I was told that Mr. Carr’s wife was really sick and they were looking to sell the place. I haven’t heard of any other updates since then.