Asador is a barbeque restaurant in Haddington Road, right on the junction with Percy Place. It has a large area of pavement outside set with tables. Two large trees do a good job of hiding the restaurant. At least, I'm assuming that the trees were what stopped me from noticing a restaurant in this building.
Inside, it's very smart. The first thing you see on entering is a wall of wine bottles that surrounds a seating area. From there, the dining room assumes an L shape.
The tables are surrounded by banquettes in the shape of a semi-circle on one side and chairs on the other, so each table has a kind of privacy. Large paintings adorn the walls that weren't to my taste, although some may find them pleasing.
We were seven, so we took one of the tables with the semi-circular banquettes, which seated us very comfortably. The menu is heavily biased in a carnivore direction, although, if you look carefully, you can find a vegetarian dish – a goat's-cheese salad.
From where we were sit-ting, we could see the asador on which the meats were cooked. It is about six-feet long and filled with oak wood and charcoal. We could even smell the roasting meats, which made us even more hungry.
Starters ran from €8 to €12 and mains – apart from chicken and a burger – ran from €22 to €32. In fairness, most of the more expensive main courses were steaks, the 12oz rib-eye being €32, and the cote de boeuf for two costing €55.
The wine list was average in length and a dozen wines were available by the glass. Like the menu, the wine list is priced above average – a few wines at less than €30, the rest moving quickly up towards €100. We chose a bottle of Ribera del Duero red at €40 and also ordered a glass of Albarino at €7.
Diet Cokes, sparkling water and a couple of Jamesons made up the rest of our drinks.
Only two of us had starters, the potted crab and the prawn pil pil. The prawns were served, as they would be in the Basque country, in a terracotta dish and were nicely flavoured with garlic and chilli. The prawns themselves were good and firm.
The potted crab came in a small jar. It was very smooth in texture but a little dull in flavour. It came with thin slices of toasted sourdough bread that were almost hard enough to break teeth, so, of the two, the prawns were the better choice.
Our main-course choices were a maple-glazed chicken, an Asador burger, an 8oz fillet, a 6oz fillet, a 10oz sirloin and the cote de boeuf for two.
The cote de boeuf came as it traditionally does in France, on a board and pre-sliced. It was perfectly cooked and properly presented.
Without going into too much detail, I'll just say the the steaks were of a very high quality and had been beautifully cooked, precisely to everyone's specifications, and all of them imbued with the magical taste of barbecue smoke.
The burger looked good on the plate and I got a taste of the spatchcocked chicken, which I liked.
We had four desserts – a chocolate cheesecake, ice cream, an apple creme brulee and a chocolate brownie. All of them were good, although I'm still to be convinced that creme brulee can be improved by adding other ingredients.
I finished my meal with one of the best espressos I've had in Dublin, made by an Italian barman called Mirco, who I had to congratulate. Our bill came to €322.40 for a total of 15 courses.
You can eat much more cheaply in Dublin than this, but if you like really good steaks cooked really well, then you won't resent paying for them.The service was excellent, the room comfortable and the atmosphere busy and buzzy.
I liked Asador, and I suspect I'll be going back.