Last Saturday night we ventured down to Itsa on Sandymount Green for a full on Barbecue meal. I had spotted on Twitter that Itsa were hosting TC’s Pop-up Barbecue Shack on the Friday and Saturday nights, and decided to book a table for the two of us on the second night, with the intention of cooking a fancy three course meal on Valentine’s night. That plan didn’t materialise, and we ended up going for some delicious pizza in Paulie’s. We used to have pizza from Paulie’s most Friday nights at home, when we lived around the corner from it. They don’t deliver, so now that we’re a bit farther away, we either have to find a way to get it home before it goes stone cold, or just eat in the restaurant.
Anyway back to Saturday. We had a table booked for 9:30pm, late even by my standards! But it was either that or eat at 6pm, which would leave me hungry again by 11pm! So we strolled down to the restaurant, and we were happy to see it was bustling away, with red check table cloths, the ubiquitous roll of kitchen towel on each table and retro country music playing in the background. Our waiter apologetically told us there was a bit of a delay, but we didn’t mind waiting about 10 minutes to be seated. Everyone looked to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, and from what we could tell, the food looked good. When we sat down, we had a scan of the menus. We debated whether to get a small starter like the Hushpuppies, fried corn fritters with a BBQ sauce, or go all out and get the Smokey’s Pulled Pork Nachos to share. We decided to go for the nachos, served with pulled pork, guacamole, sour cream, jalapeños, Monterey Jack cheese and picante salsa on the side. I ordered a Planter’s Punch, which came served in a jam jar and was suitably fruity yet strong. The other half ordered a Blue Moon beer, which was so good I had to order one too for my main course.
I don’t know if was the late hour, or maybe we’re just a bit slow, but we thought the BBQ platter was a sharing dish, so we planned on having that between us. Our waiter seemed confused and suggested we get another main course as well, but we thought we knew better. Silly us, next time we’ll listen to him because when it came out it was clear it wasn’t really for sharing.
Now I tell you this next part only to be honest and not to be critical. We were sipping our drinks, waiting on our nachos, when suddenly our main course came out from a different server. We were confused, she was confused. I told her to leave it with us, as long as it wasn’t some else’s. This was a Barbecue meal after, all, not a fancy-pants tasting menu. We really didn’t mind if our food came out in the wrong order, it was all good.
It had a pulled pork bun, two pieces of ribs and two small slices of beef brisket, alongside two little pots of bbq beans and homemade slaw, and a side of fries, which we had ordered separately. We also forgot to take a picture of this so I’ve included one of Itsa’s own photos, which was pretty much identical to our platter. It was all very tasty, especially the ribs, except for the brisket which was a bit cold. The slaw was a great accompaniment, and the other half loved the smoky beans, as he always does. This kind of US inspired barbecue meal is popping up all over Dublin, which isn’t a bad thing. This version pretty much lived up to our expectations, except for the brisket which was a let down.
Shortly after that our nachos came out served by the chef himself, I think. He apologised profusely and told us it would come off the bill. We were happy and went to town. The nachos were piled high and were heavy on the delicious toppings. We were glad that we had just ordered one main between us after all. We took some pics, but the lighting was very low and the pics aren’t great. They don’t do it justice, but it was delicious. So delicious in fact, that writing this post has inspired me to try and recreate them myself tonight for dinner. They turned out to be the highlight of our meal, which was funny as we had ordered them as an afterthought, but there you go.
We were struggling to finish everything, but we managed to to clear our plates eventually, with another few beers to wash it all down. We knew we had to have dessert too, as their chocolate pecan pie sounded yummy and right up my alley. Again I think I must have been very distracted when looking at this menu, as I thought it said it was served with malted ice-cream, but alas it didn’t say that, the ice-cream was a separate dish. But our waiter was kind enough to let me order it on the side, while the other half has a whole bowl of ice-cream on its own and was very happy with that.
We were happily stuffed when we finished. After waiting for a while to get the bill, we were then given a very confusing handwritten docket, with a scramble of things written on it. After staring at it together for 5 minutes we finally realised that it wasn’t ours. I told you we weren’t very with it on this night!! We pointed this out to our waiter, and he brought us the right bill. The nachos hadn’t been taken off the price, at least not as far as we could tell, it was still a very cryptic bill! But we really didn’t mind, as we had enjoyed everything, bar the disappointing brisket. If I sound critical, I really don’t mean to be, just honest.
I hope that Itsa put on many more of those themed pop-up nights in the future. I think they have another Barbecue Shack one planned for Paddy’s Day. But Sandymount is sorely missing some trendy, exciting food. So hopefully they will step up and make this a regular occurrence. I’ll definitely be back if and when they do. In the mean time I’ll keep dreaming of those nachos…
6 Sandymount Green,
Tel: +353 1 219 4676