Dorchester is actually getting some high-quality restaurants. A couple of years ago, the Blarney Stone in Fields Corner transformed itself from a typical Irish pub to an excellent restaurant. The new C.F. Donovan’s in Savin Hill serves inexpensive but reliably good food. The new incarnation of the Ashmont Grill (owned and managed by Chris Douglass, of Icarus fame) is a strong presence and a welcome newcomer to the Ashmont area, with many first-rate choices on its menu. And dbar just opened to mixed notices. Barbara and I had an excellent meal there — a bit pricey, but otherwise wonderful — so it would be natural to wonder why our friends’ reports and the review in the Globe weren’t quite so enthusiastic.
It’s all a matter of timing: dbar is something of a hybrid, being a regular restaurant before 10 PM and a nightclub after that time. Apparently you feel rushed if you arrive for a 9-o’clock dinner; the service isn’t calm and perhaps even the kitchen’s attention isn’t on the food. But we had dinner at 6:30, and the service was perfect — attentive, friendly, and relaxed. The food was equally good: great calamari, excellent steak, sushi-grade tuna cooked truly rare as ordered, delicious molten chocolate cake. So go to dbar — but go early!