No. 2 Kromeski of mutton and pickled herring, with red dulse and kohlrabi at Chapter One
This ground meat cylinder in red gravy was so good, I virtually inhaled it. I should have taken my time.
It took a lot longer to figure out what it was I had just eaten than it did to gobble it up--exactly the reason I was never very good at writing about molecular gastronomy. My appetite tends to overwhelm my intellect.
And then there was the language thing. In 30 years of food writing in Texas, I had never heard of a kromeski. When I asked Chapter One head chef Ross Lewis about the item of that name on his menu, he recommended I try one. Turns out his use of the Polish name was tongue-in-cheek word play.
Kromeski is a Slavic word for chopped meat held together by a sauce and formed into a patty. In Poland or Russia, the ground meat patty is often wrapped in bacon, dipped in batter and fried.
(In Texas, these might go over well if you called them chicken-fried hamburgers.)
But what chef Ross Lewis was calling a kromeski, was a roll of brilliantly seasoned ground mutton and pickled herring, elaborately presented in a herbal green roll with an elegant kohlrabi shaving and red seaweed garnish.
To tell the truth, the Chapter One kromeski looked like a minature version of a bouche de noel (the French Christmas cake in the shape of a log).
The mutton roll was last in a series of dishes I sampled, each slightly more spectacular than the last. Skate with crab and razor clams was a standout and so was a ball of crumb-coated fried Irish cheese.
It's fair to say that Chapter One is the best restaurant in Ireland. It has held a Michelin star since 2007 and won the Restaurant Association of Ireland’s award for Best Restaurant eight times, including 2017. The name is a spin on the restaurant's location on Parnell Square in the space below the Irish Writers Museum.