So maybe it’s the wintry chill in the air, maybe it’s the type of eateries I’ve been frequenting the last few weeks, or maybe I’m just a savage…but on my last few dining excursions, all I’ve been interested in is red meat. I must have been on a roll after my tasty steak at Salt in Monkstown, as I then followed my carnivorous nose to Chez Max, Bear, and finally San Lorenzo’s on George’s Street all in the same fortnight (don’t judge me).
San Lorenzo’s was the venue for a Saturday night catch-up with two of the girls, and we were really excited about our first visit there. After I’d called to book our table, I’d had a friendly call-back from Gerry, the restaurant manager, to explain that their set-up for tables of three was to group us at the end of a bench which he described as “cosy but our customers really like it.” The Americans would call this “managing my expectations” and it was a clever, professional gesture that ensured I didn’t complain on the night, as I navigated my way into a definitely very tight corner, in a fashion not befitting an almost-as-tight frock. Once settled, I was handed a copy of i:D to flick through and tempted into a “cheeky gin & tonic” by Gerry as I waited for the others to arrive, a man who clearly knows a rubber arm when he sees one.
At 8pm on a Saturday, the place was buzzing with a mix of other diners – a well-heeled table who wouldn’t have been out of place in Town Bar & Grill circa 2007, a group of lads in their thirties out for dinner, a very young couple on a date beside us (awww) and a range of couples of varying ages.
San Lorenzo’s, as many of you have probably spotted by now, took over the old Juice premises on George’s Street when it opened last year. The high ceiling is still the most noticeable feature of the space, but the rest has been warmed up by filling it with wood & red leather benches, with one wall painted a dark red, and the other a bare wooden finish. I know it’s meant as NYC-stylish, but after a few hours facing the ‘red wall’, I still wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the decor. However, I was too full of food at that stage to care.
What I did love about the interior here, were the loos. A steep climb upstairs (try it after a bottle of wine) brings you to yet more wooden walls, three unisex cubicles and a huge interior window… through which you can look right down into the kitchen at the food being cooked, while you wash your hands. Finally an excuse for spending too long in the bathroom.
We loved our American waiter, who expertly advised on the menu then indulged us as we all sheepishly ordered rib-eye, and helped us navigate the dessert menu afterwards. The staff here are all fantastic – individual, friendly and so obviously experienced.
The rib-eyes were perfectly cooked to our three different preferences, drenched in garlic butter, and topped with sprouting broccoli, on a circular bed of sage & mustard mash. There was no “Oh I wish I’d had the scallops/rabbit special/salt-marsh duck breast” out of me once they arrived to the table, as we devoured them in what felt like minutes.
Not having had starters (you have to love the female logic), we went for two desserts, three spoons and some espressos. The house Tiramisu, a treat you’d surely expect to see on an Italian-American influenced menu, and a Nigella-esque baked Nutella cheesecake, were both lick-the-plate divine. We were surprised to notice that it was after 11 when we asked for the bill – now you might put this down to the ability of three women who haven’t seen each other for months to turn hours into mere minutes simply by yakking their heads off, but I put it down to the lovely staff who put us under no pressure at all to move on.
Three steaks, the desserts, coffees, a mid-priced bottle of wine (and of course my cheeky gin & tonic) set us back just over 50 euro each. I resolved to try their great-value early bird in the next few weeks to expand my knowledge of the menu beyond the steak part – it gives a great choice at 22.50 for two courses or 27.50 for three, all night Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and between 5.30 and 6-45 every other evening.
Highly recommended. My only tip is that, if you’re a party of three, find a fourth partner in crime. It’ll give you that bit more space to accommodate your full bellies after you’ve enjoyed Temple Garner’s fine food.
And now I might have to turn vegetarian for a while…
San Lorenzo’s, Sth. Great George’s St., Dublin 2.