Had a great meal at Dandelion--Stephen Starr's British pub--a few weeks ago. That place is great. You walk in, and it's like a whole new world. You're on a street corner and then you're in London. I love restaurants like that. Ones that take you away completely. That let you feel like you're really in a completely different place. Stephen Starr has nailed that. Every restaurant of his is so fun to go to because when you enter the restaurant you enter a whole new world. That aspect of the ambiance helps to form an enjoyable restaurant experience.
The food isn't too shabby either. I had some great bangers and mash with gravy (I'm hitting myself for forgetting to bring my camera. I don't have a smartphone either so I can't take good phone pictures). My buddy's burger was very good as well. The tangy tomato-horseradish sauce really made the burger. I always think that burgers need an acidic tang for them to be enjoyable. A lemony mayonnaise or vinegary pickle takes them to the next level.
The fish and chips were very good as well, though the fish was underseasoned. On the menu it says that the chips are "triple-cooked." I'm really curious if the chef cooks his chips according to Heston Blumenthal's method that was detailed in his book "In Search of Perfection." He advocates boiling the cut-potatoes first then frying them twice. It is an easy recipe but takes more time than I am generally willing to commit to fries. The results are impressive however.
Whether the chef does or doesn't use Blumenthal's method, his chips are outstanding. I told my friend that I can't even think about McDonalds' french fries after that. They are perfectly crispy on the outside, and pillowy in the center. And they are cut large enough to provide for both textures. Fantastic.
I do realize that The Dandelion is modeled after a pub, however the service was disappointing. And for a menu that certainly does not reflect pub-prices, I expected better, more attentive service. Our waitress, seemed constantly rushed. It stressed me out. She brought us one bowl of bread for a table of six teenagers, and then neglected to bring another when we finished it after about 10 seconds. She stopped refilling my soda glass after the entrees came out. Like c'mon girl I'm Foodie at Fifteen!
I wonder if it was because 20% gratuity is already added into parties of 6 or more. That probably contributed to the effect. But I would definitely go back. The food is good and the setting is just too cool. I actually really want to go there soon with my friend and his British mother, who gets nostalgic for yorkshire pudding and fish and chips and the like.