3 Prussia Street
Way, way back in the heady days of July, we reviewed the then-newly opened Chili Shack on Prussia Street, and it didn’t go well – I thought the food was sub-standard, I didn’t like the atmosphere, and the staff got my back up, so when it came time to write it up, I stuck the boot in and gave a pretty caustic assessment of it. I stand by it – we may have just caught them on that old proverbial “off-day”, but one visit is (usually) all we have to assess somewhere on, and if it’s not up to par on that one visit then that’s what goes in the review. I don’t like writing bad reviews – I want every burger I eat to be moist and delicious, every chip hot and crunchy, and for all of it not to contribute towards my current body shape of “potato with arms and legs”, but sadly it doesn’t always work out that way (rarely in the case of the last one). Following our less-than-stellar appraisal, The Chili Shack got in touch with us and invited us back, promising that things have improved since they first opened. This has never happened before, but we were happy to oblige. We’ll call somewhere out if the food isn’t good enough, but if they want a chance to redeem themselves and prove us wrong then who are we to argue? So back we went, for the first ever Dublin Burger Club “re-review”.
Myself, Kirsty and Amanda, the same trio from the original review visited on a Wednesday evening (Rory was otherwise occupied; Amanda’s speculation as to what he was occupied with cannot be repeated here unless I check the “blog contains adult content” box on WordPress), and as soon as we opened the door it could not have been more different to last time. Gone was the blaring punk music and the empty tables, around us people were chatting, eating, relaxing, even playing board games. Immediately it felt affable and inviting. We were warmly greeted by our very friendly server, who chatted away to us, was very patient while we ummed and aaahed over the menu, and even chipped in with a few recommendations. Wanting to compare like with like, we opted for a lot of the same things we’d ordered two months prior; we split a portion of spicy buffalo wings, some poutine, and each ordered a burger and chips; myself a bacon cheeseburger, Kirsty a Sloppy Joe, and Amanda a Big Clucking Burger. Based on my misgivings about the chipotle mayonnaise we’d previously encountered, I asked for this to be left off.
The wings were decent; we got a huge portion and there was a lot of eating on them; even split three ways there was more than enough to go around. They were piping hot, slathered in a coating of buffalo sauce which was alluringly spicy, although perhaps a little thin and vinegary. Accompanying this was an excellent blue cheese sauce which really tasted strongly of blue cheese. The poutine has improved enormously both aesthetically and in taste; gone is the school-dinners gravy, this came in a delicious fresh meaty gravy, with cubes of curds sprinkled over the top – I couldn’t get enough of this, a fantastic accompaniment to the burgers. If you’re planning visiting, make sure you order this – you can upgrade your burger to have this on the side rather than the standard paprika chips (warning though, it’s filling).
The burgers came in a lightly-toasted brioche bun, and as before, they looked fantastic. Presentation really does go a long way, and just because it comes in a cardboard box doesn’t mean it isn’t worth making the effort – we’ve seen some very sad-looking burgers over the last year. My bacon cheeseburger was impeccable. Yes the burgers are thin, but so tender and so tasty. The bacon was really good quality, big, thick, chewy rashers, no watery, shriveled supermarket fare here. Topping it all off was an incredible sweet relish which was fruity and tangy, the effects of which would have been watered down had I left the mayonnaise on it, and that would have been a mistake as the relish really made this stand out. Kirsty enjoyed her Sloppy Joe (a regular burger with chili con carne on top), although didn’t get off to a great start when she picked it up and it and a load of liquid dripped out of the foil all over her trousers. Amanda’s chicken burger was perfectly done, held its shape and she “ate it like a cave-woman” (her words) which I think means she enjoyed it a lot and not that she’s doing the Paleo diet. She left the mayo on hers but noted that there was much less on it this time and how much of an improvement that was.
The food here has improved significantly but the atmosphere has too. It feels breezy and inviting, still not a place you’re going to sit in all night, but somewhere you’ll feel comfortable enough to take your time with your food and enjoy it. And finally a word on value. This is astonishingly good value for Dublin; a burger and chips for €8.50 is fast food prices, and now the food is up scratch to this definitely should be on your list of places to visit. I closed out the last review by saying that I wouldn’t return here to eat on non-Burger Club duties, which is ultimately how I rate anywhere we review. This is no longer the case – I would, and will, return here. Not only that, but I live within Deliveroo distance of this, Smokin’ Bones and Eddie Rockets, and there’s little doubt that of the three this will be the first option I choose next time I’m hosting. What a difference two months makes.
Service & Surroundings 7
Overall Rating: 8/10
Disclaimer – as with most food blogs, from time to time we’re invited along as guests of the restaurant and given complimentary food to sample and review. This was one of these occasions – everything mentioned in this review was complimentary, but this in no way affected the review – we review free food in exactly the same way we review food we’ve paid for, and we never accept gifts in exchange for good reviews.