Restaurant: Dublin House
Date: Saturday, June 13
Location: 30 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ
The Dublin House is a very popular and oft-talked about dining establishment in Red Bank, New Jersey. For years, I have heard people rave about the food and how it is one of the best places to eat in the trendy, almost hipster-like town. To get right to the point, the meal I had a couple weeks ago was excellent, but I am not sure if it will be enough to get me to return. I ate there with a friend, and we decided on the macaroni and cheese bites for an appetizer. It was $10, so I was expecting a semi-large portion. When it arrived, there were five or six sad and obviously frozen looking triangular bits of fried mac ‘n cheese. The taste was okay–nothing special– but it left a lot to be desired. It was minuscule, certainly not worth the price. Had they been homemade and a little bit better quantity, then absolutely. They are incredibly easy (and cheap) to make, which always makes me wonder why restaurants all over revert to frozen appetizers.
That aside, our actual meals were good. He had the corned beef sandwich (not the Reuben), which was a generous portion. The menu does not specify this, so I will note that the sandwich came cold. That is not a complaint, just a heads-up. As for me, I had one of their house specialties, which was the curry chicken. It came in a gigantic, heaping bowl with a side of rice (making up for the appetizer) and was one of, if not, the best curry I have ever had in my life, and I have eaten at Indian and middle eastern restaurants all over the state. Absolutely wonderful, and spicy as all hell. I asked the server to make it extra hot, not knowing the normal spice level. Oh, it made me sweat pretty badly, but the flavor was enormous.
Now, the one serious complaint I have regards the drinks and their prices. I know at bars in New Jersey you are going to fork over some decent cash for a drink. I get that. But what I was not prepared for was $7 for a pint of Harp Lager (price was not known before ordering). Pints of beer are usually around $5, give or take 50 cents. Some of the most expensive restaurants I have ever eaten at charge $5 for a beer, this including small-time breweries and their own craft beer. $7 is an absolutely ludicrous price for a brand such as Harp. My friend ordered a frozen margarita, which he said the bartender did not skimp on the tequila. However, the menu said $5 and when the check came it was $6. Legitimate mistake, or did they try to sneak that on there?
All told, this was a Jekyll and Hyde experience. Bad appetizer, great meals. Good drinks, awful prices. Yeah, its Red Bank and you’re going to pay out the ass for an afternoon or evening out, but $52 for a bill of one meal, a sandwich, a frozen pre-made appetizer, and two drinks? That’s a little much. Could not help but feel ripped off. The elegant Irish pub ambiance and awesome curry might not be enough to get me to come back. Very disappointed overall.
3.5 out of 5 stars.