Locks Restaurant, Dublin, 12/14/17

exterior
exterior

Locks is in a 2 story historic building across from a canal, where swans and ducks swim.  The medium sized place has sofa like seating on the sides of the room that are not the 2 filled with windows to the street.  Upstairs in this 100+ year old house is a room available for private parties. An old wood floor, 60’s rock music in the background and lots of art (some for sale) make up the cozy ambiance of the place.  Bare wood tables are small and fairly close which at lunch posed no problem. Being near Christmas they offered a 3 course lunch with some optional supplements and side dishes.  I believe they have the same menu at dinner. This is traditional hearty food with some interesting combinations of ingredients. I wouldn’t come close to calling the food subtle as it’s on the heavy side.  Not a bad thing but good to know going into it. Continue reading

Chapter One Restaurant, Dublin, 12/13/17

exterior
exterior

Chapter One is a one star Michelin restaurant located below street level where you enter into the good sized bar. Low lighting, stone walls, interesting art and the hum of the crowd are the backdrop for the well spaced large tables spread throughout several dining rooms.  A geometric pattern in the plaster work is quite distinctive. This chef owned restaurant has been in the capable hands of Chef Ross Lewis for 26 years.  They offer a tasting menus of 8 courses, the last being tea/coffee and petit fours or a 4 course dinner menu with multiple choices for each course and they also have a chef’s table option. They offer wine pairings.  Service had nice, slower pacing and general manager Danny Desmond was helpful and friendly. We chose the full tasting menu with our own bottles of wine. Continue reading

Forest Avenue, Dublin, 12/13/17

exterior
exterior

Forest Avenue is medium sized 2-story place owned by a couple, Chef John Wyer and his wife Sandy Sabek Wyer.  It is named after the street were Sandy grew up on in Queens, New York, but she has now lived in Ireland for 16 years.  John is from Cork.  They have had this restaurant for a couple years and have recently opened a second place, but John cooks at this one.  Soft rock plays in the background  and a wall of windows to the street lets in nice natural light.  Bare wood tables are nicely spaced and a large part of the kitchen is open to the dining room.  Service is friendly, helpful and efficient.  The menu offers several tasting options of 2, 3 or 6 courses with wine pairings available.  Portions are fairly generous and flavor abounds in everything.  The wine list also offers a “fine wine” option for bottles.   Continue reading

Sachet, Dallas, 12/10/17

exteriorSachet is a large place opened a couple months ago by the owners of Gemma (Frankie visited in June and July of 2016), where the food is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine.  About a third of the space is for the bar and the seating around it.  An open kitchen fills one end of the restaurant and a large clear cube containing wines is a focal point in the dining room.. With lots of hard surfaces the noise level is significant but tables are placed a nice distance apart to give you some ability to talk once the place fills.  The menu starts with “meze” plates which are priced in groups of 3 or 5.  They are small plates meant to be shared by the table.  Pastas are in serving sizes like appetizers but can be turned into a main plate for an upcharge.  Service is efficient and friendly and tables are turned throughout the evening.   Continue reading

Signature by Pierre Sang, Paris, 12/2/17

exterior
exterior

Signature by Pierre Sang is a tiny dining room in the back of a large front room kitchen that has been in business for about a month.  It is only about 4 tables that all receive a surprise tasting menu designed by the chef, consisting of snacks, 2 appetizers, fish, main course, cheese and dessert. The cozy room is beautifully appointed with one of the walls being lighted wine storage racks – what better backdrop?  Another wall is copper with a large service area and another is stone.  There is a large skylight that would add natural light if you were there in the daytime.   This is the third of Chef Sang’s restaurants in the area but this is to be his high-end one.  All have a similarity though, in the surprise factor of the menu.  In fact they like to present the food with no explanation and then come back to see what you thought it was – just like his other place (Restaurant Pierre Sang Boyer) that Frankie visited on 12/5/15.  There is a great wine list and helpful staff to navigate it with you as well as attending to your every need.   Continue reading

Chez La Vieille, Paris, 12/2/17

exteriorChez La Vielle is named after the woman who started and ran it for over 30 years.  Now Daniel Rose (whose other restaurant is close by) owns the place which has about 8 tables in an upstairs dining room and a bar with a counter type tables downstairs.  The hours are limited.  The more comfortable upstairs has a couple windows that look down at the busy street but the tables are small and close together in the small space.   One good thing is the bathroom is on the second level which is nicely convenient.  Service was friendly and efficient but as the room filled the waiter was stretched to work the room alone.  The same kitchen services both areas.   It offers a small a la carte menu with many plates designed to be shared.   Continue reading

Virtus, Paris, 12/1/17

building
building

Virtus is a good sized place with soft lighting and background music.  The couple that ran Clandé, Chefs Chiho Kanzaki and Marcelo Di Giacomo, changed the name to Virtus about a year ago and then moved to a new space about a month ago where they moved in many of the same decorating fixtures into this location.  You’ll find a variety of chairs and light fixtures that were stylish points at casual Clandé.  Virtus seems to be a bit more upscale, with well spaced tables and a separate bar area that also includes some seating.  They offer a 7 course tasting menu priced at a point to challenge anyone from using the a la carte ordering items.   Portion control runs on the slight side and the meal pacing started nicely and then slowed to a crawl and fell apart as the restaurant got full.   Continue reading