Saturday, September 02, 2006

Dublin Restaurants

Michael Hennigan with American actor John Wayne in 1973, at the Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs.
More than a decade later, George W. Bush decided during his 40th birthday celebrations there, to go on the wagon.
The highest pressure job I've had, was working as a waiter during college summer time, at the Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, south of Denver, Colorado. A nervous Spanish table captain Manuel would have thrown Cool Hand Luke off his game (What we've got here is … failure to communicate!). On one occasion, a faux-pas involving a food order from an "important" couple, prompted Manuel to hit his desk a thump, as he shouted: "You son-of-a-bitch!" ( he at least spared me the Spanish version: hijo de mil putas, son of a thousand bitches). The couple apologised to me for his intemperate behaviour.

So following my experience at the Broadmoor, I've never taken restaurant work for granted. Price and quality of the fare, is a different kettle of fish.

Restaurants in Dublin are pricey and many of the the mid-range ones leave a lot to be desired.

Of the higher-priced restaurants - about €60+ per head, I would recommend Roly's Bistro in Ballsbridge, Dali's in Blackrock and the Unicorn on Merrion Row. Value for money choice is Roly's Bistro.

My regular restaurant choice is in the mid-range and I tend to be reluctant to change from good choices as there are many awful restaurants in Dublin.

I was in Berlin earlier this month and in a Spanish branded steakhouse Medura, offering US beef, off Potsdamerplatz, a meal for 2 cost less than €40 compared with €65-€75 in Dublin.

A glass of Chianti in an Italian restaurant in Berlin costs €2.50 compared with a minimum of €4.50 in Dublin where house wine is often plonk.

With the continuing property boom, restaurants do very good business at weekends in central Dublin. While the tourists are easily fleeced, the natives also appear to be willing lambs to the slaughter!

L’Gueuleton on Fade Street off South Great George's Street, was crowded on Friday.

It's a French-menu restaurant and is not going to get a revisit from me.

Rib-eye beef was of poor quality and Toulouse sausage was apparently also nothing to write home about. That choice had been prompted by a BBC2 presenter hyper-ventilating about Southern France sausage, in a programme themed on a canal barge trip from Bordeaux to Marseilles. In addition to poor quality food , the service was not up to par.

I tried a glass of the house wine but switched. There is no excuse for any restaurant not to have a reasonable standard house wine, given the surplus of wine currently flooding the market.

I was in a Little Caesars' outlet in Dublin sometime in 2005 and I remarked to the waiter that the wine tasted as if water had been added to it. He made a head gesture to the manager, who was at the other end of the room: "Tell him, if you want to," he helpfully suggested.

I'm not difficult to please!

My worst experience of service in the past year was in Dunne & Crescenzi's on South Frederick Street, on a Saturday afternoon: 10 minutes to get a menu and nothing else; 10 minutes of menu browsing later, without even a nibble and my company and I headed for the exit!

My regular choices are Boccaccio on Dame Street, Siam Thai on St. Andrew's Street, Baan Thai in Ballsbridge and Brasserie 66 on South Great George's Street.