Monday, April 15, 2013

[Review] Bison Bar BBQ, Wellington Quay, Dublin 2

My favourite cuisine type is undoubtedly Chinese, and I especially love Chinese barbecued skewers, such as the lamb skewers to be found at the Hilan on Capel Street. This little mention allows me to segue neatly from the topic of Chinese food to that of my next favourite cuisine, namely BBQ. Spending several months in North Carolina in the US opened my eyes (and stomach) to the glory of smoked and slow-cooked meats. Since then, I've tortured myself by watching episodes of Man Vs Food, drooling over slow-motion shots of juicy brisket and carmelised ribs, knowing that I would not be able to experience such delights until I again returned to the US.

Essentially, I am a glutton. I am addicted to taste. And when I heard tantalising mentions on Twitter that the Bison Bar on Wellington Quay had acquired an American smoker and was now producing proper BBQ, then I knew that I simply had to visit. I think that I waited a whole 2 days before I visited. Yes, I am a master of self-restraint.

Upon entering, one of the first sights is the eponymous bison head overseeing all activity. Through a set of salon doors, seating opens up to the rear featuring uncomfortable-looking saddle stools (yes, there are saddles fixed to stools). There is a short list of €5 drinks specials and we order whiskey sours before settling into seats under a magnificently antlered deer head.  The whiskey sours go down all too easily, and we relax in the evening sunshine streaming in through the windows. Muted blues and Southern music provide the perfect atmosphere. Outside on the quay, a guide dog is looking at us. I think he senses what is to come.
At the Bison Bar
Drinks at the Bison Bar
It's always a good sign when a BBQ joint has an industrial roll of tissue on each table, or in the case of Bison Bar, a roll of kitchen paper. Two squeezy bottles of BBQ and mustard BBQ sauce and a jar of plastic cutlery finish the stage dressing. As we wait, the delicious odours of BBQ start to waft through the bar, and it doesn't take long before the waitress appears with our order. The food is served on a metal tray, lined with a sheet of brown paper, which soon loses its pristine appearance under a deluge of meat juices and BBQ sauce. Two little cardboard bowls hold our side orders (fries & burnt end beans for me, fries and coleslaw for him), along with a little tub of chipotle mayo.
Our dining companions at Bison Bar
Both of us have ordered the combo plate, featuring two meats for €16.95. My ribs are advertised as St. Louis style and come in the expected square format. They are lightly sauced and the flesh falls away with perfect ease. They are joined on the tray by a portion of juicy brisket slices which feature a crusty smoked rind. He has ordered chicken and brisket and is delighted to find that the chicken has retained some moistness through the BBQ cooking. In previous visits to BBQ joints, dried-out chicken has been a major bugbear, but that is not the case with this golden brown example. 
Chicken and brisket for Him
Brisket and St. Louis-style ribs for me
Fries are perfectly standard and are elevated by the chipotle mayo. My portion of burnt end beans are delicious with a deep smoky tomato flavour and I can even see the burnt end shreds in the sauce. The coleslaw is average, and it would be so much better to see a homemade slaw on the platter.

BBQ is on offer everyday at the Bison Bar, starting at midday and lasting as long as meat is available. If you're too late for BBQ, Bison Bar is also a whiskey bar, with a menu running several pages long and covering 150 Irish, Scotch, American and Japanese whiskies, plus another 50 tequilas. With BBQ'd and whiskey sours in your stomach, you'll be hard pushed to find a more perfect pub in Dublin. 

Bison Bar, 11 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2
Twitter: @BisonDublin


Bison Bar on Urbanspoon

5 comments:

Ariane said...

Oh God I love BBQ but like yourself thought it was something that was a stateside treat. Hmm, maybe I could go to Dublin tomorrow.

Brian o'toole said...

Going tomorrow with my wife for our last supper before she gives birth

dudara said...

Best wishes to you & your wife Brian!

Brian o'toole said...

Thank you very much, baby Hannah Mary arrived this morning and all is good. Were liking to think the ribs and brisket helped. We ordered a 2nd helping of ribs.
Amazing food and Christy in there is the best bar tender in Temple bar!
Wonder if he'll sponsor a pair of pulled pork sandwiches?

dudara said...

Perhaps a celebratory pulled pork sandwich for the new arrival? Congrats to you both & welcome to baby Hannah Mary!