Update: The Burgundy Room in Dublin is now closed.
The Short North Burgundy Room is still open, however.
Update 2012: The Burgundy Room in the Short North is now closed as well. Stay tuned for a new Cameron Mitchell concept to open in the old Burgundy Room space.
I’ll admit that many of our restaurant choices lately have been dictated by what’s in the Prestige Dining booklet – after all, might as well get our money’s worth out of it, no? So, knowing that we’d be on that side of town anyway, and based on our great experience at G. Michael’s (another restaurant by the same owner), we decided to check out The Burgundy Room in Dublin last night.
It’s strip mall location looks very unassuming from outside, but once inside the decor is warm and inviting. I would think that it would be a great place to unwind with some friends with a glass of wine and some tapas after a long day’s work.
We were seated in an inside table by the patio, near the start of dinner service. Although most of the action seemed to be by the bar when we arrived, by the time our meal was finished, the dining room and patio had filled up nicely.
Our server brought us a basket of still-warm sourdough bread, with enough salted butter to melt in the nooks and crannies to make this one of the favorite bread baskets I’ve ever received in a restaurant. It was chewy on the outside, soft on the inside, just like well-baked bread is supposed to be. A classic presentation, of course, but even classic presentations can be excellent if executed correctly.
Rather than get entrees, my husband and I just decided to get a bunch of tapas to share, with the “flight” as our main course. I don’t regret that decision one bit. Although each tapas plate was only a few bites each, neither one of us left hungry, and had the opportunity to try many different things.
We started with a Baby Spinach Salad with Fried Pine Nut Crusted Goat Cheese, Fresh Strawberries, and Balsamic Vinaigrette ($7). I absolutely loved this salad, as I’m a big fan of the goat cheese/fruit/sweet balsamic combination. This did not disappoint at all, especially the delicious vinaigrette which brought out the intense flavors of the other components of the salad.
Next, we shared a bowl of Roasted Duck and Barley Soup, with Organic Mushrooms and Fried Proscuitto ($6). I thought this had great flavor, although I’d enjoy this dish more in winter than in summer. My husband, on the other hand, declared this soup one he would go out of his way to get – he’s a big fan of soups with barley. I let him have most of this one, not because I didn’t like it, but because he loved it so, even more than I did. The fried bits of proscuitto really added a saltiness and complexity to the broth, my only wish was that there would have been a little more.
Next, we had Charleston Crab Cakes, which are made with blue crab and comes with a Red Pepper Salad, and Creamy Whole Grain Mustard Sauce ($11). These crab cakes were made just the way I like them – crispy on the outside, but the inside almost solid crab with very little filler. These were fantastic, as was the mustard sauce. I wasn’t a big fan of the red pepper salad – it was a little too spicy, and overpowered the delicate flavor of the crab cakes.
We both loved the next dish – Smoked Chicken Ravioli with Proscuitto, Capers, Garlic and Lemon Cream ($9). This one had a certain complexity to it, coming from the oil that is drizzled over it (not sure what type of oil it is, if anyone is in the know, please let me know). I’m not usually a big fan of capers, but they actually worked with this dish, fading into the background merely adding texture. I could easily eat this dish as a meal, as the serving would be perfect for an entree for one person.
In place of an entree, we both got our own individual Flights of Beef Carpaccio, Duck Tortellini and Pulled Pork ($18), which are scaled down versions of the dishes that are also offered on the tapas menu. I’m a big fan of rare/raw beef, so naturally I loved the carpaccio (especially the delicious garlic aioli served with it), my husband was more hesitant to try it – he did, however, put his food phobias aside and sampled it, declared it tender and flavorful, and proceeded to eat the rest in one bite. The pulled pork, while tender, wasn’t at all what I expected. Being described as “Caribbean”, I expected something a bit sweet, a bit spicy. What we got reminded me of pho, the broth at the base of Vietnamese soup that has very complex spice notes. It didn’t taste bad, mind you – it was just an unexpected flavor. And while my expectations would have paired well with the black beans and corn salad, the flavors in the meat clashed a bit with the flavors in the salad. So I did what most other people would do – ate the meat and left the salad. The Duck Tortellini was easily my favorite dish of the evening – I detected truffle in the sauce, which is one of my favorite flavors in the world, as long as it’s applied with a tempered hand. It’s so easy to overdo the truffle oil, which can easily overpower any dish, but the balance was just right on this dish; it did it’s job by adding a richness to the sauce, which intensified the flavor of the tender, succulent duck.
For dessert, we noted that they had something called “The Burgundy Breakfast” ($6), which is fresh made vanilla Belgian waffles, fresh berries, bourbon maple syrup and bacon ice cream. Bacon ice cream, you say? Yes, bacon ice cream. Something I’ve been craving ever since I saw Cat Cora make it on Iron Chef America. My husband and I both agreed that this is one of those dishes you’ll either love or you’ll hate, that there’s not really any in between on it. So with a little trepidation, we went ahead and ordered it, figuring that we needed to try it at least once. The verdict? While I wouldn’t go get a cone of this stuff, it paired well with the rest of the dish, especially the maple syrup. It did get a bit cloying after a few bites, though, so I probably won’t get it again. But it’s worth trying at least once, if you’re a little bit adventurous.
In the grand scheme of things, we both really enjoyed this restaurant and have both put it on our short list of places that we’ll readily go back to. The Short North Burgundy Room has an entirely different menu than the Dublin menu, so we’d love to get over there soon as well. If we were to do anything different, next time around, we’d try the wine pairings, even though neither one of us are big wine drinkers. They’ve got some interesting selections on their wine list that make it worth a stop.
So the final verdict? Good food, decent value, great portion sizes, relaxed service and atmosphere. What more can you ask for?
If you’d like to go: The Burgundy Room Dublin, 6725 Avery-Muirfield Drive, Dublin, 614.798.9463.