Restaurant Review: Carlo’s

‘Steak On The Stone’ : The House Speciality. A juicy 8oz fillet of Irish beef served on a Pacific Lava stone heated to 350 degrees celsius. Imagine this, accompanied by three dipping sauces and a choice of fries or salad.

This was the sumptuous meal I got the chance to experience last Wednesday night, in Carlo’s or Cafe Carlo – yes, this place is that fabulous, it gets two names.

Situated just opposite the Spire on O’Connell Street, this eatery combines Irish, Italian, Mexican, barbecue and Morracan cuisine – so much choice, surely all diners will find at least one dish to their taste.

With the decor in shades of warm orange and cream, along with dark wooden floors and panelling, Carlo’s is the kind of place you walk into and feel at home. I ended up there because my sister had won a voucher online,which entitled us to two courses each and a bottle of wine. Not the kind of wine you buy in the shop for a fiver, mind you, which needs half a bottle of 7up in each glass to taste even remotely bearable. NO, this wine was posh. This wine was expensive. This wine tasted nice all by itself. What a revelation.

So we had the nice wine brought over to our table in an ice bucket by the absolute gentleman of a waiter and we were then asked what we wished to have for our two courses. Of course, me being the bright spark that I am, I didn’t realise we got two courses each – in a panic, I took a quick look over the list of starters – seeing southern fried chicken wings, calamari and soup of the day. That was my mind made up. The soup turned out to be vegetable, heated to the perfect temperature, and served in a nicely sized portion – not too much so that I’d be too full for my main,and not too stingy that I’d feel cheated. It was accompanied by two warm slices of fresh brown bread. Perfect.

The courses were brought to us within fifteen minutes of us ordering,which I felt to be the perfect amount of waiting time. There wasn’t a sense of being rushed through our meal, nor was there a long period of sitting, waiting,staring at each other, as hungry bellies growled and the conversation ran dry.

Onto the steak. It was, I think, my first time eating steak in about five years – being a poor student, it’s not exactly possible for me to be throwing money around on gourmet meat. The steak arrived on the hot stone, in order for it to be cooked to the discretion of each diner. It sizzled invitingly and excitingly. Annie and I were seated under the smoke alarm and apparently all the steam coming out of our dinners set off the sensors. Yes, the amount of garlic butter being thrown around the place had irritated the smoke alarm, to the point where it let out an incessant shrieking wail.It was hilariously embarrassing and apparently ‘happens all the time’, according to the cheery staff.

So the steak was amazing – tender, juicy and fresh. It was accompanied by a little bowl of homemade chips, perfectly golden and crispy.
The waiting staff were amazing, polite and cheerful, coming over a few times to enquire whether we wanted anything else, but not to an annoying extent. If steak isn’t to your taste, there were other options on the menu also – pizzas, pastas, other meat dishes.

Though the prices might be a bit steep for the average student – €24 for the steak, and between €8 and €10 for most of the starters -Carlo’s offers special deals and vouchers from time to time – you have to keep an eye on their website, www.cafecarlo.net or on Groupon – type websites. If you get a chance, try it – save up the Copper’s money for a few weeks and you won’t regret it.

Rating: 4/5

Claire O’Connell

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