I did some homework before departing for Ireland, and so I found great food there. It’s always better to be prepared than lucky.
But I’m not one for too much preparation so I had no restaurant reservations before arriving on the Auld Sod, and the list I carried with me represented many more pubs than restaurants — I have my priorities.
I knew that I needed to dine at Chapter One in Dublin, but they were booked when I called only the day before. So we wandered in just as the lunch shift began and were granted a spot regardless.
I may have had a list of Dublin’s best, and Chapter One might be at the top of the list, but I was not prepared for the sheer poise of the cuisine there. I’ve offered two photos: asparagus with tapioca and the most delicate cured salmon that I can remember tasting. I cannot describe to how delicious they were.
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Owner Martin Corbett prowls the floor, as proud as he is welcoming, never boastful but clearly confident in what his team has built. He should be. Food with flavor that seems so balanced as to rest on a needle is rare. Chapter One has it. Corbett’s continual presence on the floor is simple assurance of excellent service.
Dubliners are justly proud of their stable of great writers; I was there for James Joyce’s Bloomsday and for a dose of Samuel Beckett. You might feel just as happy to celebrate George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilder or Yeats.
The presence of these luminaries lies above and next to Chapter One, hidden by the Dublin Writer’s Museum. They might seem overwhelming but Chapter One has already, in its 22 years, generated its own great stories.
Doug Frost is a Kansas City-based wine and spirits writer and consultant who for decades has happily educated the public about all things drink. He is one of only three people in the world to have earned the coveted titles of master sommelier and master of wine. He contributes a monthly wine column for The Star’s Food section.