Overlooked Places: Du6lin in the West Village (a/k/a Dublin 6)
"Shall I go in or not," she wonders out loud. (All pictures taken in near total darkness with the Fork in the Road low-lite steadicam.)
Du6lin, also known as Dublin 6, is a true gastropub, one that has gone largely unnoticed due to its proximity to a more famous gastropub (The Spotted Pig), and its resemblance to a plain Irish pub, of which several new ones have opened in the West Village in the last few years.
The two-fisted burger, damp and bright red in the middle if you so request it, comes with distinguished medium-brown fries at Du6lin.
The bar has existed in several previous incarnations in the last half-decade. In one, Paul Liebrandt, the Brit science chef now currently at Corton, took charge of the kitchen, and conducted a "dinner in the dark" series of meals in which patrons ate while blindfolded, simulating blindness.
Now, as befits a true gastropub, the menu is grounded in pub fare (hamburger, fish and chips, mac and cheese, steak, salmon, and other predictable entrees). The unpredictable ones delve into Japanese, German, and French cuisine, subtending, in the same order, soba salad, bratwurst, and onion soup. Some of these excursions into foreignness bomb, but so what? It shouldn't take you long to find the things you really like at Du6lin 6.
Du6lin occupies a pair of storefronts. One is given over to a semi-noisy bar, while the other is a chill dining room, dimly lit, a near-perfect date spot. In it, you can actually converse in a normal tone of voice. Don't be disturbed that the walls are covered in brocade wallpaper, it further dampens the sound.
Deviled eggs make a good cheap starter or bar snack. The menu confers a lot of flexibility in how you put a meal together
Styled as "mini lobster BLTs," these lobster rolls provide a large amount of fresh lobster meat for $9, but the bacon included in the filling provides little flavor, and an annoying crunch.
A pale and impressive edifice, the onion tart turns out to be way more Anglo-English than French, with masses of caramelized onions that make it a decent small vegetarian meal by itself.
Good and reasonably priced beer, wine, and drink menus allow you to treat Du6lin as a dining destination with better-than-average (but maybe a little too ambitious) food, or a mellow drinking spot, and the simultaneous fulfillment of both objectives is what defines a gastropub.
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