With an authentic wood-fired oven shipped from Italy and high-reaching, brick interior walls, Deano’s Italian Grille and Brick Oven Pizza has an Old World ambiance that’s both casual and classy.
Deano’s is located in downtown Dublin in an extensively renovated, very old former movie theater. Diners who walk through the arched and wrought-iron entryway might expect more pricey offerings. But despite serving up made-from-scratch sauces, dough and meatballs, the menu is moderately priced.
My wife and I truly put the restaurant to the test. We went out late on a Saturday night, and a prom night at that. And it was the end of the work week — the restaurant is closed Sundays and Mondays. As a result, the staff was running short on some key items and ingredients.
They were out of spaghetti noodles and the complimentary bread knots. Our waiter also owned up that the dough for the brick oven pizzas was not up to par.
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But, to the restaurant’s credit, the staff bent over backwards to make up for any shortcomings.
Instead of the bread, they offered us a free sample of another appetizer, misto de mare, which we had planned to order anyway. The bites of shrimp, crab and flounder stuffing, lightly breaded, fried and served with a side of asiago sauce, were hot, crisp and tasty.
Deano’s has a variety of salads, from garden to citrus to Italian. I chose the Greek, which was tart and tangy and a nice contrast to the slightly sweet appetizer.
The ingredients used in the marinara on my wife’s order of eggplant parmigiana were noticeably fresh. She asked to substitute fettuccine alfredo for the side of spaghetti that comes with the dish, and our waiter assured us that it would have been no problem even had they not been out of the spaghetti. My wife knows her pasta, and she described it as “great … very creamy.”
Having previously had the wood-fired pizza, I was a little disappointed on this night. The crust was obviously more doughy than usual, and there was some confusion with my order. But again, they made it right. I offered to eat the mistake pizza, since my wife’s order was done. Still, the waiter and cook boxed up the correct pizza for me to take home.
For dessert, we shared a tiramisu, which was nothing short of outstanding. To our surprise, the waiter insisted that it was on the house as another way of making things right. (And for those who don’t know, these reviews are done anonymously, so he had no way of knowing we were critiquing the meal.)
Deano’s has an extensive menu. The wide selection of appetizers — or antipasta — includes garlic bread, calamari, shrimp scampi, wings and mozzarella marinara. Italian dishes feature lasagna, manicotti, spaghetti, baked ziti, cannelloni and a Tour of Italy that includes lasagna, manicotti, ziti and meatballs, with two side salads. There are also calzones, strombolli and pizzas —- both New York-style and the brick oven selections. And if you’re in the mood for a sandwich, the menu has 10 different hoagie offerings.
With a steady diet of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on the sound system, Deano’s lends a big city feel to a little downtown that had been starving for new life. We might have caught the restaurant on a down night, but the friendly service helped make it a pleasurable experience. Maybe that’s the true test of a restaurant.
Deano’s Italian Grille and Brick Oven Pizza
Address: 112 West Jackson St., Dublin
Phone: (478) 275-1117
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday
Price range: $4.95-$26.95
Vegetarian selections: Yes
Children’s menu: Yes
Noise level: Moderate
Handicapped accessible: Yes
Latest health code rating: 92