>> Thursday, October 8, 2009
UPDATE: Sadly, Dirty Pierre's no longer does the AYCE mussel Tuesdays.DIRTY PIERRE'S
15 Continental Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Dirty Pierre's has... changed. It's a lot less dirty these days.
I used to be unable to qualify it. What was it? Was it a dive bar or a bistro? Was it cute and quaint, or a pit?
It used to be that, sitting on the cobblestones of Station Square, amongst the trees, and often with a Porsche or Corvette or Ferrari parked out front, it was the perfect place for the upscale Gardens residents and their accessory-dogs to go sit outside for all-you-can-eat mussels and a glass of white. But if they went inside, they might melt. The bar was one of the dankest and darkest available in the zip code with tables so sticky that they might have held your plate steady in an earthquake. And that stickiness might have been the only thing holding them together, as each one looked to be in worse condition than the one next to it. It was a dive bar that made other dive bars feel clean.
But now it's clean. And there are tablecloths (or at least that white paper that pretends to be a tablecloth) and there are even little tea lamps. God help me, it's gone from dive to faux-dive. Luckily, there's still no beer available on tap and you can still be served horrible, paper thin Bud Light by an aging biker in a leather vest and a beard that would make ZZ Top proud.
Dirty Pierre's is locals heavy, so folks with thick Queens accents and smoking cigarettes while cursing like sailors during discussions about sports and construction equipment are common. At the same time, Dirty Pierre's is also locals heavy, so little old ladies and thirty-somethings with strollers talking about where in the Hamptons this year's timeshare will be are common as well.
What Dirty Pierre's is famous for, around here anyway, is their hamburger, and with good reason. It's a burger would give JG Melon a run for his money and punch him in the face if he tried to skip on the bill. When Seth needed a place to crash while he was in town for a day, and said he wanted to grab a burger, the DP Bistro Burger was the first thing on my mind. A burger, a beer, and some BSing. What more could you want at dinner? He ordered his with cheddar, I got mine with bacon and pepper jack. It comes with fries. Served on an oversized English muffin and topped with arugula instead of lettuce, weighing about a six pounds and with almost no grease, it's the one of the only hamburgers I actually have found myself missing when I go too long without one. Still with the cheese and the bacon as extra toppings, will wind up running you about $15. Dirty Pierre's is clearly not some cheap dive bar that wealthy people go to to slum it up. It's an expensive dive bar that wealthy people go to slum it up.
Prior to this meal, I'd tried their French Steak Sandwich (medium rare, thank you), which was so heavy that I could barely breath by the time I got halfway through it. It could have been better, but the bun was very thick and over-toasted, so the roof of my mouth got good and sliced up. Dirty Pierre's has all-you-can-eat Mussels (which they're also quasi-famous for) every Tuesday (no sharing) and if this was a Tuesday, I'd have ordered more than just one round. But it wasn't so I didn't. As the only location in the entire neighborhood that serves mussels so far as I know, I'm glad they're so good. If you can only have one option, at least let that option be the one you'd have chosen anyway. The Thai Wings I've had, while good, were overcooked. They should have been great. I could tell they would have been had they been taken out earlier. But they were in for too long and showed up on the table dried out.
So what's the final deal here? The burgers are great. Period. As are the mussels. Other things on the menu are more hit or miss. If it makes anyone feel any better, plan to return and check out some more items for an update later.