Irish Lite

Downtown's Dubliner needs a wee bit of work.

A mixed grill of lamb featured a chop, a piece of loin and a sausage. The chop was fine, the loin a bit tough, but the sausage was incredible. It distilled the essence of lamb, that bright, gamey quality, into each assertive, spicy bite.

(The lamb and most of the meat at the Dubliner is locally sourced and, in general, of very high quality. It's good to find a restaurant without the ambitious mission of An American Place, sourcing locally. When that restaurant is a gastropub like the Dubliner, which relies on dishes such as the short ribs or the mixed grill of lamb or even the burger — dishes that succeed or fail largely based on the quality of the meat — I'd argue that sourcing well, if not always locally, is more or less essential.)

It goes without saying that just about every entrée comes with mashed potatoes or champ (mashed potatoes and leeks). I liked the champ, but the mashed potatoes were — well, the mashed potatoes were mashed potatoes. Not good or bad, just, you know, there. I did like that most dishes came with a dab of puréed sweet potatoes. Several dishes also came with exactly six (I counted) green beans, which was as authentically pub-like as anything at the Dubliner.

Guinness is good for you: Donovan Buechel serves a perfect 
pint.
Jennifer Silverberg
Guinness is good for you: Donovan Buechel serves a perfect pint.

Location Info

Map

The Dubliner

1025 Washington Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63101

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Washington Avenue

Details

The Dubliner

1025 Washington Avenue, 314-421-4300. Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. Dinner: 5-11 p.m. daily. Brunch: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.- Sun.

Little Pots $5
Dub Pub Burger $7.50
Stout Braised Beef Ribs $14.50
Mixed Grill of Lamb $18

Among the starters, one standout was the pork paté. This was titled "Little Pots" on the menu, but instead of several small ramekins, we got one medium-size ramekin with a slightly chunky, deeply flavored paté en terrine. Another starter, a plate of three "Irish farmhouse cheeses," was satisfying, but not very distinctive. The Dubliner also offers a selection of smoked salmon as well as a raw bar, though the availability of the latter changes often.

The Dubliner serves brunch on weekends. I stopped by for a plate of two delectable eggs — a simple thing to praise, I know, but eggs over-easy are such a no-brainer for any chef that when you have eggs this good, it's like a revelation — potatoes, a small piece of mild breakfast sausage and a puck of black pudding. Black pudding is blood, essentially, with a deeply earthy mineral flavor that you have to acquire. I like it, but the Dubliner's small serving was just about right for my tastes.

More than the black pudding itself, I liked that I didn't have a choice. It came with my breakfast. End of discussion. It speaks to the Dubliner's dedication to Irish tradition. I only wish — and this might be the first time I've ever wished this about a restaurant — that I was more aware of the booze and the smoke and the music, and everything else that makes a pub a pub.

So I recommend sitting close to the bar. Even if there's no craic to be had, you'll at least have a clear sightline to the bartender pouring your Guinness. Remember: at least a two-minute break before the end of the pour. Otherwise, send it back.

Have a suggestion for a restaurant the Riverfront Times should review? E-mail cafe@riverfronttimes.com.

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