You know those people who always look good, but put in massive amounts of effort to appear that way? The Kardashians, Anne Hathaway, even Taylor Swift. There are also people who would look put together even if they wore a family-pack Three Musketeers bag with holes cut out for arms and legs as a romper: Amal Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Prince Harry. The Dorian, serving fancy comfort food and strong cocktails in the Marina, is a prime example of that first kind of person - trying very, very hard to be cool and doing a decent job at passing itself off as the real thing.
First impressions are everything, so when trying to look swank, it’s apparently important to get your hands on the plushest fabrics you can avail yourself of. Proceed to upholster the chairs and add elaborate drapes. The bar at The Dorian is legitimately very cool, with potted plants, open gold shelves, and a central location that pulls you towards it - but the chandeliers and shelves of books are excessive. It’s like those people who wear glasses to try to look smart. Do less. It’s decadent, and it clearly took a lot of money to create such an opulent atmosphere, which feels strange and out of place in the Marina. No Heath ceramics or reclaimed wood or artisanal lightbulbs, just a dim library/smoking lounge/den of ill repute feel. We’re kind of into it, and slightly embarrassed to admit such a thing.
The food fits the rich surroundings, and is better than you might expect. We’re all in on the tuna, deviled eggs, brussels sprouts, and chicken, and can strongly endorse the burger too. We’re not all in on the $40 crab and truffle-topped “Royal Dorian” burger or on the option to add a $135 bottle of Veuve to your $50 shellfish tower. The cocktails are strong, so maybe people might get drunk enough to order these things?
Ultimately, we can get behind The Dorian, especially for cocktails and small plates or a group outing where you share lots of things. Just try not to take yourself too seriously while you’re there. Ordering a burger with truffle and crab on it isn’t going to impress anyone worth impressing.
The Devil’s Egg
Sorry Dorian, your deviled egg is just like everyone else’s. But the big piece of bacon and smoky paprika on top are good. More bacon, less problems.
Not taking any chances on these, The Dorian tosses in some bacon, hazelnuts, and lots of oil. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Very much worth your time.
The hummus has a sprinkling of chopped-up olives and onions that improve it from forgettable to pretty good. But the store-bought, charred pita is pretty weak. Basically, you’ve eaten this exact thing at your book club. Pass.
Yellow Fin Tuna
Lots of avocado and super fresh tuna, plus a little spice from the jalapenos. Awesome, eat it.
Free Range Roast Chicken
FREE RANGE BABY. We can’t really escape SF. This chicken is perfectly cooked, and the parsnip puree is slightly sweet, mixing well with the wild rice. Delicious.
Shrimp & Crabcake Sliders
Not very pretty, since it’s an orange-ish patty on a bun, but these are surprisingly great. Solid dabs of aioli, arugula, and a strong seafood-to-breadcrumb ratio in the cakes. We order these every time.
The Dorian Burger
It’s a decent burger, but not up to the neighborhood crown-holder down the street at Causwell’s.