Review: Meat that’s a cut above at Beeftro

This eaterie off Grafton Street is all about the meat, but have your starter and dessert elsewhere

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Address: 5 Balfe Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 6770377
Cuisine: American
Cost: €€€

Is Beeftro the worst name for a restaurant ever? It sounds like a lard-based kitchen ingredient from the 1950s, or a bad joke, like Sharknado.

However, there's no indication anywhere that the owners of Beeftro, which opened in the Dundrum Centre a couple of years back, and has been operating opposite the Westbury Hotel on Balfe Street for the past 10 months, think there's anything funny about the name.

Based on a concept originated in Monaco and since spun out to Berlin, Luxembourg and elsewhere (albeit under the slightly more appetising name of Beef Bar), the thinking is clearly along the lines of the Ronseal ad; it does exactly what it says on the tin. Beef. In a Bistro.

Looking for somewhere to eat in the area immediately around Grafton Street in Dublin 2, can be dispiriting. Mid-range joints and international chains jostle for the attention of shoppers and tourists with early bird menus and mid-week offers.


The funkier places with a bit of attitude are a couple of streets to the west. But around Chatham and South Anne Streets, the favoured approach for restaurateurs is clearly to offer proven crowd-pleasers.

Reflecting the two elements in its name, Beeftro is decked out in a low-key amalgam of retro Parisian and butcher-shop chic. Our first table, directly under an air-conditioning vent, was more walk-in meat freezer than nostalgic butcher, but we were moved swiftly and without fuss as soon as we protested.

In the absence of any bovine-based foodstuffs among the starters, I ordered baked goat’s cheese with pine nuts and a Portobello duxelle, which turned out to be claggy cheese and undercooked mushroom with a pointless piece of “grilled rosemary sea salt toast”, or glorified cracker to you and me, on top.

The whole lot was was underseasoned, as was a prawn and crab thermidor “in a classic cognac sauce”, which was insufficiently reduced and showed little sign of ever having been introduced to cognac. A basket of chicken wings was fine.

Things perked up with the arrival of the beef. Steaks are reasonably priced, by Dublin standards, ranging from €19.50 to €40. A ribeye and a New York strip were attacked with the enthusiasm of true trenchermen. If I were quibbling, I would say that one was rare rather the medium rare requested, but the quality of the meat was undeniable, and the contrast between charred exterior and juicy interior just as it should be.

A Black Angus beef burger with bacon and cheese was also terrific. The menu states the beef has been "hand-selected from Irish farmers", but doesn't give any further details. French fries were adequate; pureed potatoes were great.

Unfortunately, things went downhill again after that. Lemon tart had a dry, hard base and a synthetic aftertaste. The bits and pieces on top of a salted caramel, honeycomb and pecan sundae were fine, but the ice-cream wasn’t going to win any awards. My crème brûlée was best of an uninspiring bunch.

Service was efficient, if a little impersonal at times. We ordered an agreeable Argentinean Malbec from the short but serviceable list. Two large bottles of mineral water and one coffee brought the bill for three to €180, including service.

To be fair, we probably approached Beeftro in the wrong way. If we had taken its name at face value and focused on the excellent steaks at the expense of the rest, we would have had a much better meal. If you do find yourself around Grafton Street, it would make a lot more sense to pop in for a steak, then wander off elsewhere for an ice-cream or a drink.

Catherine Cleary is on leave

Hugh Linehan

Hugh Linehan

Hugh Linehan is an Irish Times writer and Duty Editor. He also presents the weekly Inside Politics podcast