Steak sandwich: 10/10
I don’t like pizza. There, I said it. However, I do retain my belonging to the human race through my love of burgers. The sort that I imagine Mia Wallace had in Jack Rabbit Slims.
Dublin is a particularly good spot for burgers. Up until recently, the number one spot undeniably went to Jo Burger in Castle Market, miles and miles ahead of the likes of Bunsen, the Counter and Bobos. What happened then? F.X. Buckley.
It would first seem that the restaurants aren’t in the same league, but the reason I feel it is fair to compare them is that they have same price point. Just like Jo Burger, F.X. Buckley is a chain of fewer than 10 restaurants unique to Dublin. The atmosphere and the audience couldn’t be more different between the two, but what unites them is fantastic burgers.
As such, F.X. Buckley is a chain of steakhouses. I guess it is my Russian background: they don’t have abbreviated names like F.X. or A.J., so I am compulsively curious as to what they stand for. The mystery melted away when I saw a portrait of Francis Xavier Buckley hanging over a fireplace in their Monkstown restaurant. A bit more digging revealed that he is a native of Drumcondra who set up a butcher’s on Moore street back in the 1930s. The butcher’s in Moore street remains, and there is a number of other locations now not only for the steakhouse, but for the butcher’s too.
Now on to the meaty part. The burger was simply excellent and pretty huge. I’ve repeated the experiment many times. While the exact execution varied, F.X. Buckley consistently delivered! My own taste in burgers is that they have to be quite dry, or lean, and such was the F.X. Buckley burger – though not quite as dry as in Jo Burger. The standard issue offer is to have it with bacon, cheese, gherkins, lettuce and tomato. While they do take custom orders, I’ve had to pick out a gherkin slice or two on occasion. They aren’t quite as custom as Jo Burger: you cannot have caramelised banana and humus as a side in F.X. Buckley, but that’s ok. The fries are served skinny or chunky and have that homemade look about them.
The place is imposing without being too much. The comfortable seats gently smell of leather. The audience have an average age of about 60, which can be significantly brought down by the occasional family dinner with school-going children. There are also occasional brunchers sipping cocktails. The music is barely there. The waiters are emphatically polite. Everything about the place is very thorough.
On the way to the bathroom, I noticed something very peculiar: there is a faint but distinct whiff of cow sh*t out the back. Had I not spent some time on a farm, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it and certainly wouldn’t have known that that’s what it was. I think it’s a good thing though: I took it to mean that the meat has to be fresh.
During lunch, they charge 10 euro for the burger. I don’t think that you could realistically get a feed like that anywhere in town for 10 euro.
My counterpart had a steak sandwich (how could you forgo a burger?). We cannot be certain, but it seems that it is made of rib eye. It’s a 10/10 as well.