Occupying a prominent corner site, this landmark property would be hard to miss, although its modest exterior belies the obvious attention to detail shown in every plate of food served inside.
Despite billing itself a gastro-pub it is more bistro in style, the main dining areas featuring evenly spaced tables, pale tongue and groove wall panelling and pine floorboards. There is a bar to one side of the room with several high tables where diners can have pre-dinner drinks while watching the sports on the flatscreen TV which, thankfully, doesn’t dominate the room.
Run by Euro-Toques chef Kevin Arundel, it’s no surprise that ingredients are carefully and thoughtfully sourced. Menus are short, but nicely varied and interesting, and a specials board and a fish board emphasise the focus on freshness and daily-changing menus.
Starters might include hearty choices like Jack McCarthy’s black pudding with apple textures (one of the best black pudding dishes you are likely to find anywhere), or delicious caramelised breast of West Cork duck - tender slices set on wilted savoy cabbage, with honey and coriander jam.
Some dishes, while perfectly cooked and beautifully presented, are not very gastro-pub - a ballotine of quail and stuffed foie gras, with sauté new potato, double smoked Alsace bacon and port and quail jus, for example. But most dishes have heartier appeal and the speciality is steaks, notably Hereford 32-day aged steaks, which come with flat cap mushrooms, slow roasted tomatoes, caramelised onion marmalade and hand cut chips, along with a choice of béarnaise, peppercorn or garlic butter. There is quite a sense of oaccasion attached to the steak menu, as well-trained waiting staff explain each cut of meat to customers, and the time it takes to cook steaks from rare to well done; many regulars would keep coming back just for the pleasure of enjoying this great classic dish.
Mains might also include a truly delicious dish of TJ Crowe's smoked kassler pork chop with Jack McCartys white pudding - a delicious and perfectly cooked kassler with white cabbage escabeche and pomme mousseline - and other choices may feature corn-fed chicken, rabbit or freshly caught hake. Just as the ingredients are excellent - and their suppliers acknowledged - so too is the cooking, with everything well judged and attractively presented.
Following such magnificent fare desserts may seem a bit of an afterthought, but the choices are quite classic and there is also a blackboard giving the day's selection of French and Irish cheeses.
The wine list offers an accessible choice of house wines (seven each of white and red, €24/€29), a very good selection of New World and French classics and wine wine selection and, as one would expect from a pub, there are plenty of beers on tap.
The staff are a particular asset, all extremely knowledgable about the food and interested in engaging with their customers.
Offering good value menus, imaginative cooking and a warm, buzzy atmosphere The Chop House deserves its enviable reputation as a relaxed Dublin 4 dining destination.