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Maspeth’s Terry Condon keeps Gallagher’s going

Condon caters to stars of the stage and screen, famous athletes and powerful politicians who have been flocking to Gallagher's - Broadway's first steak house for decades, along with less famous New Yorkers and tourists."Gallagher's serves the best of everything," said Condon. "It has a reputation to maintain, and I'm always working hard to maintain it." In keeping with that tradition, Condon added a special item to Gallagher's robust menu, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. While many people think of corned beef and cabbage as the seminal Irish dish, Condon, who grew up in Cork County in Ireland, has another favorite: Irish Lamb Stew.The dish is an old family recipe with some American adaptations that Condon developed, he said. He relishes Irish Lamb Stew because it is made with a bevy of flavorful root vegetables which grow so abundantly in Ireland. And it is so easily prepared by the home chef. Once everything is on the top of the stove, it simmers for hours and only needs an occasional stir.Speaking of the restaurant business, he's been in it for almost 30 years. "I was a bartender, and a manager, and I once owned my own restaurant," he said.Condon lives in Maspeth with his wife, Kathy. They have two grown children: 19-year-old son Michael and 21-year-old daughter Katie.In addition to Condon's duties managing the high-profile restaurant, he also gets a taste of show business. "Unnecessary Roughness," a cable show about football on MSG filmed at the eatery for 14 weeks."Every Monday one Giant and one Jet would have a debate. I would assign the loser a task like putting the garbage out or cooking a steak," he said. "Gallagher's was in the movie 'Analyze That' with Robert DeNiro and in 'Monday Night Mayhem,' the Howard Cosell movie." Gallagher's was named after Helen Gallagher, wife of original owner Jack Solomon. Gallagher's first husband, Ed Gallagher, made up half of a top vaudeville team of the time, Gallagher and Shean. (Three of Al Shean's nephews, Arthur, Leonard and Julius, also performed in vaudeville, and later starred in several movies. You may know them better by their stage names: Harpo, Chico and Groucho). After Helen died, Solomon married the owner of a highly successful floral design store. To this day, her name, Irene Hayes, appears on the prestigious flower shop at One Rockefeller Plaza, Irene Hayes Wadley Smythe. Since 1964, Gallagher's front window has displayed USDA Prime meat, kept at 36 degrees for 21 days to make it nice and tender. The portions are huge, and the most popular dishes there include the porterhouse and double porterhouse steaks, the lobster and the combination dish for those who want to "have it all," the surf and turf. It's at 228 West 52nd St. (in the Theatre District); open from noon to midnight, all-year round, and the average cost is around $60 per person. The phone number is 212-245-5336.Gallagher's now offers a monthly wine discussion evening that includes a four-course dinner. New additions to the menu include lobster bisque and a vegetable plate, and its online store can be reached at www.gallaghersnysteakhouse.com.Terry Condon's Irish Lamb Stew2 lbs. boned shoulder of lamb10 baby Yukon gold potatoes 1 can whole plum tomatoes2 leeks, sliced thin2 medium onions, sliced1 stalk celery, quartered1 1/2 teaspoons salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper1 clove garlic, crushed1/4 teaspoon dried thyme4 carrots, quartered2 parsnips, quartered 1/2 bag frozen green peasFew sprigs parsley1/2 bottle of red wine to cover (whatever you would drink with the meal)(If you need additional liquid to cover, you may use a pint of chicken stock).Have meat cut into 2-inch cubes. Lightly flour the lamb, season with salt and pepper; brown the meat on all sides in olive oil in a large sauce pan. Remove meat.Sautee the onions, leaks and garlic in the same oil until translucent. Return lamb to the sauce pan, cover with the red wine and half can of the tomatoes, crushed. Bring to full boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer fully covered for 1 1/2 hours.Add carrots, potatoes, celery, parsnips and rest of tomatoes, crushed, (and chicken stock if needed) to the lamb, bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer low heat uncovered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add parsley, thyme and peas and cook for final 10 minutes.Serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

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