It Takes Serious Balls To Charge €32 For An Overcooked, Lukewarm Steak
"I winced as I handed over my bank card..."
Every once in a while, there will come a time when you want to reward yourself with some amazing food. You ditch any worries about healthy eating or price and just go for the biggest baddest meal going.
When I get in that mood, I invariably go for a huge seafood platter or a good steak. So, on a sunny afternoon recently, I decided to throw caution to the wind and rocked up to the Marker Hotel looking for the biggest, fattest and juiciest steak they had on the menu.
The fact that it's a five-star hotel and that the steak in question was a 9oz John Stone ribeye meant that I didn't flinch when I saw the €32 price tag on the menu.
Of course it was expensive, I thought to myself, but at least I'd be getting the very best going. You get what you pay for and all that.
As it turns out, all my €32 got for me was a terribly overcooked steak that I couldn't even come close to finishing.
It came with two large mushrooms (meh) and a pile of watercress, which was decent. The chips were grand but the dish of pepper sauce looked like brown dishwater and tasted pretty similar. I'd asked for it to be cooked medium rare but it wasn't even close to that.
The worst part? The meat was barely lukewarm.
The mood swing from my ecstatic expectation to chewing through the tough meat 20 minutes later was exceptional. Like being 3-0 up at half time only to lose a game 4-3.
When the bill came to the table, I winced as I handed over my bank card. I've no problem paying big money for food but nothing is more painful than punching in your pin number when you've had a dish that was this expensive, and poor.
I felt like a mug. I should have known better and saved the money for a restaurant I knew would deliver. I might as well have just taken the €32 outside and thrown it into Grand Canal Dock because, in all honesty, I'd have enjoyed that experience more.
It takes serious balls to charge €32 for a steak in this city and I have absolutely no issue with that. However, charging that price sets the bar very high for yourself.
You'd want to be bloody confident sending out a plate of food that costs the same price as a pair of shoes or a Ryanair flight to Spain and be able to stand over it in every way imaginable.
Plates of food like this used to be a dime a dozen back in the boom days in Dublin - poorly cooked and just slapping a €30 price tag on it to be lapped up by punters who knew no better.
Thankfully, the Dublin restaurant scene has come a long way since then and value and quality are the new norm. This meal was an outlier rather than a common occurrence but a painful reminder that when it comes to food and treating yourself, you can very quickly have your dreams shattered.