Dierdorf and Hart’s Surprisingly Affordable Lunches as Excellent as Dinners
Dierdorf and Hart's wins our "Lunch in 30" reviewer's second A+ rating.
Here at "Lunch in 30," our goal is to find meals for two you can eat in less than 30 minutes for less 30 dollars. One person could blow through that budget at dinner without touching the best part of Dierdorf and Hart’s menu.
Lunch, on the other hand, is an entirely different, completely affordable, animal. This as another great example of why people should try high-end restaurants for lunch. The most expensive item is $12. Most are $8 or less. Heck, the restaurant offers an artisan bison brat with one side for $5, which is less than what I pay for a combo meal at a drive-through.
Dierdorf and Hart’s both sounds and looks like it's run by attorneys. The muted interior is set in neutral, inoffensive shades of cream and brown. Since it is part of Westport, the main dining room area is dominated by a massive square bar lined with leather-trimmed seats. An elevated dining area looks out over the bar, and a few tables cluster around the walls.
Honestly, the entire lunch menu looked tempting. The $7 chicken caprisi sandwich came with fresh basil, mozzarella, tomato, and roasted garlic aioli. The $10 basil pesto French dip and $9 crab cake reuben added a nice touch to familiar sandwich options.
After asking my perky, friendly waitress for her favorite dishes, I settled on the $9 open-faced meatloaf sandwich.
There was no pretense that this was a sandwich you could fold closed and eat. Instead, it was served as two, thick rounds of meatloaf atop toasted sourdough bread, topped with wilted greens and mashed potatoes, all drenched in spicy ketchup.
I was pleasantly surprised by the wilted greens. You can't see them past the mashed potatoes. They give the meatloaf an earthy, slightly bitter flavor that works wonderfully to offset the sweetness of the ketchup.
The mashed potatoes themselves have a faint hint of chunkiness, just enough to remind you they're made from real potatoes, not flakes. The creamy potatoes are laced with a nice amount of black pepper to give them some zing. To my delight, the meatloaf and ketchup topping both have a kick to them. I hadn't expected a bit of heat in this dish. It worked beautifully. This isn’t your mother’s meatloaf.
I've mentioned before that I’m a big fan of artisan slaws. Dierdorf and Hart’s provides the perfect crisp, cool contrast to the hearty spiciness of the meatloaf sandwich. Julienned strips of carrot, red onion, red bell pepper, mango and cucumber are mixed with diced lettuce in a light vinaigrette dressing. It's a refreshing summery dish and a must-try for anyone who enjoys artisan slaws.
Since I was at Dierdorf and Hart’s, I had to try the desserts. For science.
The restaurant offers a homemade carrot cake as well as a chocolate mousse cake and cheesecake.
I chose the coconut roulade. If you're a fan of creamy desserts and coconut, you're in for a treat. I liked everything about this from its presentation to its flavor. The little caramel and cream hearts drawn onto the side were a nice touch, especially at lunch.
The roulade’s interior is a mildly sweet mascarpone cheese with a hint of coconut flavor. The smooth, heavy cream is wrapped in a layer of dense, sweetened coconut. I wouldn't call the exterior a cake. It's more like a dense icing wrapped around a creamy filling. I found it large enough to share without being intimidatingly huge.
Here's the best part. My meatloaf sandwich, artisan slaw, iced tea and dessert came to $19.71 plus a well deserved $5 tip for friendly, fast, service.
This is exactly the kind of place I'm looking for with "Lunch in 30"—a restaurant no one would imagine is affordable at lunch that still provides the high quality you expect from an upscale dinner restaurant. If you regularly stop by Westport for lunch, you owe it to yourself to give Dierdorf and Hart’s a try.
I’m pleased to give Dierdorf and Hart’s what is only my second A+ rating this year.
30 Minutes or Less: Easily
Specialty Diets: Vegetarian-friendly salads
Average Entree Price: $9
Kid’s Menu: None