I couldn’t tell you how many times I sat at Dundee Tavern with friends munching on Dundee Dip and eating hot wings. They were many hours happily spent.
As Insider Louisville reported recently, however, Dundee came under new ownership and, as a result, underwent a name change to the Dundee Gastropub and a menu overhaul, even if the friendly confines are exactly the same as they have always been.
I met up once again with a few of those aforementioned friends last week to check out the new menu and taste an item or two. The results were mixed but promising.
To be fully honest, I had gotten to a point where the only thing I really wanted to eat at Dundee was the legendary Dundee Dip; to my taste buds, the food had simply gone downhill too much. So, when I learned the takeover also meant new food, I was intrigued.
The menu is not an expansive one, but rather sticks to its claim of offering gastropub-style fare: signature appetizers for sharing, salads, some intriguing sandwiches and five entrees of varying styles. For the most part, what you can expect when dining at Dundee Gastropub now is Southern-esque fare with a bit of modern flair.
First of all, I can report that the Dundee Dip is still as delicious as ever. My friend Sara said she thought it might be spicier than she remembered, but I can’t say I noticed a change. It still is a creamy, pepperjack-cheese treat, packed with jalapenos, onions and tomatoes, and served with tortilla chips. The cheese is still smooth and the heat still creeps up on you.
Sara and I chose to split some wings (hey, it’s a pub), ordering six each of cast iron-roasted and brined bone-in chicken wings with traditional Buffalo sauce and Spicy Asian. You can also get Bourbon BBQ or Honey Tabasco.
My experience with roasted wings has been that they tend to be moister than these were, which was disappointing. In addition, they weren’t adequately tossed, and so they lacked the expected flavor bite. The Buffalo sauce was also a pretty basic Frank’s-and-butter combo.
Now, this is not to say they were bad — they were big and meaty, and gave us more food than we bargained for. They just didn’t really go the extra mile from a flavor and texture standpoint. Hopefully, it was just an off night for the wings.
That said, I also had tastes of two of the signature sandwiches and walked away impressed. Our friend Courtney ordered a Short Rib Grilled Cheese, which, according to the menu, is: shredded bourbon-braised rib meat, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and garlic mayo on sourdough bread. In this instance, based on two good-sized bites Courtney sliced off her sizable sandwich for me, the meat was far more moist and tender than I would have expected.
She even referred to it as sort of a “pot roast sandwich,” and she was right — the meat had the consistency of pot roast. The sandwich was balanced and the flavors were spot on, while the sourdough was toasted to a nice, crisp consistency on the edges.
Our friend Laura won the night by ordering a BELT sandwich, which is a BLT that adds eggs (thus the name): crispy bacon, two fried eggs, tomato, Swiss and garlic mayo on the same toasted sourdough used for Courtney’s sandwich. The eggs were perfectly fried to just a shade above medium, so there was no runoff, but the yolks were still moist and the whites were fluffy.
“It’s the best sandwich I’ve ever had,” was our server’s assessment.
That may be hyperbole, but it was indeed a solid sandwich I would definitely recommend.
Other intriguing menu items include Goat Cheese Lollipops, made with chargrilled toast, local goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, balsamic reduction and herb oil. There’s also a Kentucky ham and cheese plate and a classic white bean and country ham soup on the “Something to Snack On” menu.
There’s a pub burger, a Fig ‘N Turkey sandwich made with fig jam, and Southern classics like chicken and waffles, pork and greens and bourbon-braised boneless short ribs. The pork and ribs looks particularly inviting, promising braised pork shoulder, Kentucky white beans, country ham and bacon collard greens and onion chow chow.
Appetizers start at $4, while most of the sandwiches are $10 or less and entrees range from $11-$17. There’s also still a massive draft beer list, including three selections from Apocalypse Brew Works, plus some signature cocktails like the Dark and Stormy, the Brit’s Bloody, Charlie’s Margarita and the Terri Tini (the latter a tribute to Dundee Tavern’s former owner, Terri Wilhelm Detenber, who died unexpectedly last December).
All in all, it looks like Dundee and its new ownership is on the right track.