Blackdog Cantina was renamed and moved to:
Blackdog Bar & Grill
266 01 Beroun
Telefon: +420 773 380 280
"The dog is a gentleman. I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." Mark TwainThere's a Tex-Mex and burger joint that's been getting a lot of attention from the Czech press.
This country's top food blogger, Pan Cuketka, said he had the best burger of the year there last summer. The American owner, Scott Van Wagenen of New York, was interviewed by one of the biggest newspapers. The other top Czech paper gave the food top marks. A major Czech news magazine raved about the "fantastic burgers."
Yet, little to nothing has been written in English about Blackdog Cantina.
One reason could be that it is in Beroun, about 40 kilometers from the center of Prague. Undeterred by distance, I had to see what all the fuss was about.
I'd been looking for a chance to drop in for more than half a year. A return from an Italian road trip finally gave it to me. It was good I had my GPS with me. The device quickly helped me find the little corner the restaurant sits on.
I reserved a table at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. The waitress on the phone said she didn't think it was necessary. Thirty minutes after we arrived, they were turning people away.
We started with drinks. My Czech friend had the house red (45 CZK). She said it was quite nice for the price. I ordered the homemade ginger lemonade (20 CZK).
My friend got a small order of beef nachos (small 105 CZK/large 170 CZK). The small order is plenty large for one person.
The beef rests underneath black beans, melted cheese, guacamole and sour cream. It sits on top excellent warm corn tortilla chips that keep a lot of their integrity under the heavy ingredients. We both loved it.
I wanted to get a chipotle pork taco, but the pork was unavailable this night. Instead, I tried the lime and coriander marinated chicken taco (50 CZK or two for 75 CZK).
For a second round, I couldn't resist the Infarkt Burger (140 gram burger for 110 CZK or 200 gram version for 135 CZK). I got the large.
It comes on a lightly sweet, soft, but deceptively sturdy brioche-style bun. Equal in excellence was the high-quality ground beef. The thick patty had great flavor.
The one disappointment here was that the menu also said burgers are cooked medium unless otherwise requested. Mine was cooked all the way through, with not a bit of pinkness to be seen. Aside from that, I'd rate it among the top burgers in the country.
Finally, I finished with the chocolate death (65 CZK).
The bill for this meal was a modest 445 CZK.
I was impressed enough that I had to make the 45 minute drive to try more. I returned the following week with my Italian friend and another couple.
The ladies had the house wine. Big B and I had the amber Birell (30 CZK each).
Some of us ordered a couple of things, thinking it would come in two rounds, but it all came at the same time in a Tex-Mex avalanche.
I wanted to try the black bean and sweet potato empanadas (75 CZK), but those were not available this time. Instead, I got two tacos with the same filling (75 CZK).
Big B got the large Lucha Libre Burger (130 CZK). This one includes bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, grilled onions, and salsa.
My Italian friend had the grilled vegetable quesadilla (60 CZK). This was a bit of a let down.
A bigger let down was M's beef quesadilla (70 CZK).
Finally, I had the chipotle pork enchilada (115 CZK).
Inside, there was slow-cooked pulled pork. There was a lot of it.
This second evening was marred by the table next to us. It was occupied by six roaring, shrieking drunks. They were mainly partaking in the Holba beer on offer, along with various shots. It was hard to cope with in such close quarters.
The overdone burger and quesadilla attest to the occasional lack of focus. The owner was cooking on both nights.
There are also reports on the Czech site, Scuk, about issues with service.
But I will also say that there is nothing else like it in this country. Who else is doing Tex-Mex quite like this? The tacos rival those at Las Adelitas, the only authentic Mexican restaurant in the Czech Republic. And on top of that, the burgers are great..
I don't know if I'd make a special trip again. However, the next time I'm heading toward Plzen, I'll certainly stop in Beroun and have a burger and adobo beef nachos.
The Blackdog is not quite heaven, but it's enough close to the border.
Beroun, Czech Republic
Tel: (+420) 773 380 280