Our pal Rebecca recently sent us this recommendation for Dillinger’s, a new restaurant serving upscale American cuisine in Ranelagh:
Myself and my boyfriend headed to Dillinger’s in Ranelagh Village on a Tuesday in December. It was about 8 o’clock when we strolled up, and upon looking in the window we were surprised to see it was completely choc-a-bloc. We checked with the maitre-d, however, and were told it would only be a half hour wait for a table. We came back exactly half an hour later and our table was ready, which is an improvement on several other restaurants in that area. The decor of Dillinger’s really appeals to me – it’s got the feel of an Edwardian sanitorium, lots of polished white bricks but with large panels of khaki green wall, big mirrors and warm wooden furniture & fittings that give it a really cosy feel. With some clever redesigning inside, they’ve managed to fit in a good deal more tables than its predecessor (Dylan McGrath’s Mint, of Michelin Star and insanely high pricetags-fame) and the place looks a lot better for it.
The menu in Dillinger’s is just what Ranelagh needed. Casual diner-style food mixed with finer dining options; not a pasta dish or chicken wing in sight, hooray! While I wouldn’t call the menu cheap, it’s definitely not prohibitively expensive, and we were soon to discover that the mid-range prices are worth every penny. We ordered from the “grill” section on the menu, but there’s also a “plate” section with more reasonable and casual options like the 1/2lb Hereford Beef Burger with Bacon and Cheese, Fries (€14.50) or the Corn-Dogs with Mature Cheddar Cheese Fondue, Sauerkraut and French’s Mustard (€14). To drink, I went for a glass of house red wine, the house wines are scaled 1 to 3, 1 being the cheapest. Number 1 was a Alessandro Nieri Chianti, and at €5.50 for a generous sized glass it was more than satisfactory. Jim ordered a bottle of the Brooklyn Lager (€5), I’d never tasted it before but it was very pleasant and malty.
Our meal arrived after only about fifteen minutes, which, considering how busy it was, I think was great timing. Jim had ordered the Ribeye Steak with Duck Fat Roast Potatoes, Portobello Mushrooms and Roasted Red Onions (€24). I actually laughed out loud when the waiter put it on the table, it was so huge! Sometimes the taste and texture of a good steak can be compromised by the size, but this was definitely an exception. I watched Jim mill through it with gusto and delight, it was cooked perfectly to his liking and there wasn’t a hint of toughness about the meat. The mushrooms and onions were slightly sticky and caramelised and very tasty. I had the Grilled Hake with a Caper Relish, Red Pepper and Crab Sauce, New Potatoes and Green Beans (€23). The hake was delicious, firm and flaky with just the right amount of moistness and a mild white fish flavour. The caper relish was delicious and the sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the dish, there were so many peppers in it, it was a portion of vegetables in itself. For dessert we decided to share a Baked New York Cheesecake (€6). It was definitely the nicest dessert I’ve had in a long time. Baked but served cold, it had a nice crusty exterior, a good crunchy base and was scrumptiously sloppy on the inside, served with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a berry coulis.
Our bill came to €64 excl. service and we were more than happy to part with our cash considering the size and quality of the food. My only complaint about the whole experience was the service itself. The waiting staff seemed disorganised and ill-prepared for a rush, although it’s not a very big restaurant, I felt they could do with just one more staff member to hand. It’s not a huge problem but it is something that plenty of people would take issue with. That said, I can’t wait to go back. I was starting to get really bored of all the restaurants, and there are lots, in Ranelagh so this exciting new venture pleases me no end.
Anyone else tried Dillinger’s and want to share your thoughts?