Spotlight's on My Meat Wagon, Smithfield
"The food is standard BBQ fare, but done very well."
New places keep popping up around Dublin's city centre, and barbecue restaurants popular in Brooklyn and London have become a recent favourite of Irish restaurateurs.
Bison Bar was the first we can recall on the south quays, swiftly followed by Pitt Bros BBQ on George's St. However this new outpost in Smithfield is different - yes, the look is the same (think tin cans repurposed to hold cutlery, kitchen roll on the table and Amerciana-esque decor) but Dublin 7's newest restaurant has something that little bit different.
It could be the fact that their meat smoker is authentic, all the way from Texas and transported to these here shores by ship. It could be the charming, kitsch decor that manages to have both a DIY vibe and an impressive finish at the same time (a rare feat). Or it could just be the fact that this is a neighbourhood joint reminiscent of small town America, and somehow doesn't feel contrived in urban Dublin.
The food is standard BBQ fare, but done very well. Chicken, beef or pork in a box, burger or on a board. Sides of slaw, fries, mash (mixed with meat juice) and sausage. Craft beers and wine, and ice cream for dessert. No complaints here, and the prices are very reasonable - two mains (a box and an "everything" board of mixed meat) and three beers for €40. Obviously, vegetarians might not enjoy it as much as their carnivorous pals, but that's par for the course with this kind of cuisine.
However what was most impressive (apart from the lovely, personal service considering we visited on the second night they were open and the place was full) was the look of the place. Something rarely seen in a brand new place is a functional, attractive themed decor that truly works and doesn't feel gimmicky. We were told by our waitress that one of the chefs made every glass bottle light fixture thanks to an online tutorial. She herself found the little trolleys the fries are served in in a shop on Capel St, and the pallets on the ceiling were painstakingly hung by the owners themselves.
If you're looking for a casual bite before hitting the Lighthouse, or you're staying in the Generator or visiting the Old Jamseson Distillery, call in here. You won't be sorry. Those who live in town or along the Luas line, I predict that Smithfield is about to become a lot more enticing.
Animal toys with table numbers and a meat wagon facade kitchen. Americana-hipster-chic.
Pages of books pasted to the walls, soap in a sauce bottle. Clean and cool.
In a word, lovely.
Wine, bubbles, craft beer, soft drinks.
In the hood
Right next door you'll find Oscar's, a hidden gem of a bar that's got a New York vibe. Still hungry? Jo'Burger have just opened across the street, opposite the distillery entrance.