Dublin 4 Gastropub
Time/day: 7pm, Saturday night with Melanie
A restaurant review? This is my website; I do what I want… so, yes.
I don’t “dine out” much. If I go out to eat with a friend, the choices are usually pretty generic and food-chain-ish: Ruby’s, Wahoo’s, fast-food places. My friend, Melanie, and I decided to meet up this weekend, but the weather forecast called for a bit too much heat to let our original plan of hiking be a pleasant endeavor, so I decided we should try out a local gastropub (a plan we’d had some time ago, but it fell through).
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by the little complex that houses Dublin 4 without having any idea it was there. Situated in a tight little space just off the Oso Parkway off-ramp from the 5 North, the restaurant is neighbored by a Subway, Starbucks, a wine restaurant (which is attached to Dublin 4), and I believe some office spaces above. It’s a cramped little lot, and valet parking was available but not required. I was able to find a space, but by the time Mel arrived, the lot was full and she parked across the street at a Carl’s Jr..
If one has tight plans or is going here for a date, making a reservation for a busy evening (e.g. Saturday) is probably a good idea. I put my name in when I arrived a little before 7, and we were seated slightly after 7:30. The hostess was very friendly, and offered us seating at the bar and then later at a small table inside, but the evening was nice, so we stood out front while we waited. Once inside, the noise-level was definitely noticeable. It’s a small area, and they’ve done the best they can to accommodate a lot of seating and tables, and with the bar lining the wall to the right of the entrance, it could get pretty loud in there. It wasn’t deafening or anything, but I did have to repeat myself in conversation several times.
Pricing was a little high ($17 for burger and fries), but the food quality almost made up for that. Melanie ordered the Cottage Pie (ground beef, roasted garlic, aged cheddar, mashed potatoes), which arrived in a decent portion. After she reached down to the meat, below the inch-deep top layer of potato, she insisted I try some… and it was amazing. Rich, creamy, all the perfect consistency. I chose the Prime Gastro Burger (Irish cheddar, house-smoked bacon, roasted garlic black pepper aioli [I requested no onion]), which also came with a tin of their white truffle thyme fries. On my first bite, I could feel my eyes roll back into my head and my face muscles melt. Melanie laughed and stopped talking, suggesting that I just enjoy the moment. The meat was thick and juicy, and everything really came together to create a fantastic taste. I’d like to make special mention of the bacon, which was exceptionally exceptional.
I didn’t order any appetizers, but found it curious that the prices for these seemed disproportionate to the prices of the regular meals. Many of the appetizers are pricey enough to encourage one to just go with one of the heartier entrée options, but I suppose they would be a good choice if one was there with a stronger intention to drink, than to eat. Still, though, the proportions don’t seem to justify the price, though I can’t speak to this from direct experience… only menu-observation. Some of the options looked really good, too, but I couldn’t bring myself to splurge that much.
The decor was fun, with a lot of dark, warm colors, the occasional non-uniform chair, that fun, red cushioned bench, and quaint architectural choices found in the wall and ceiling decoration. As one can see in the photo above, the place is very rich in color and charm, and if I hadn’t walked through the suburbia-plain storefront entrance, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this interior belonged to a small pub in a much older city. One of my favorite parts of the restaurant can just be seen in the preceding picture: a tiny little room (likely a closet in the past) that fit one table and some booth seats, with a sign above the little doorway that read “Snug.”
That description fits the whole of Dublin 4 Gastropub quite well. It’s a snug little establishment, filled with very friendly staff and fantastic food, and it really offers the charm of an old Irish pub… in the midst of the Orange County suburbs. It’s a little loud for a quiet conversation, but that’s to be expected in a small bar on a Saturday evening. Dublin 4 Gastropub isn’t a place I’d visit every day (or week [or month]), simply due to the pricing and my frugal nature, but Melanie and I both concluded the same thing last night: I may not eat here very often, but I’d sure like to!
Food — A+
Environment — A-
Cost — B