I originally planned to start off this review by comparing what is medically known as mass psychosis and the Latvian people's obsession with dill. It turned out, though, that my knowledge of dill is more extensive than my knowledge of the illnesses of the mind (despite university studies in neuropsychology), so my planned comparison fell flat. Perhaps my involuntary Ph.D. in dillology is a sign that I should move to another country before I'm institutionalized?
”they specialize in, well, nothing and everything”
More on this later. First a few words about the food joint I'm reviewing. Fontaine Delisnack is the name and they specialize in, well, nothing and everything: burgers, pizza, Mexican, Thai, Scandinavian etc. Serving these many types of food is usually a recipe for disaster, and I've yet to find a place can cook everything to the same high standard. And for sure, while being one of Riga's best in one of these cuisines, as a whole, Fontaine Delisnack doesn't really deliver. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's begin with the not-so-goods.
In a city where good kebab is as rare as Latvians who don't smoke, you almost don't dare to get your hopes up when you come across a joint which serves kebab. Fontaine Delisnack's kebab roll would have been good if it wasn't for the fact that the spicy sauce is some kind of BBQ sauce which, combined with way too big chunks of beef, makes a terrible marriage of flavors. Get some proper spicy sauce and smaller, more kebab-tasting meat strips and this will be a pretty good kebab roll.
Even more rare in Riga is proper Thai food. Therefore, my expectations were already in the toilet when I ordered Fontaine Delisnack's red curry chicken. The good news: it's actually rather authentic. The bad news: it's not particularly good. To improve this bleak, thin-tasting dish it primarily needs more red curry paste, more garlic and more fish sauce. Also, serving it together with rice in a takeaway paper box makes everything float together and form a slimy goo towards the end of your meal. Please serve it on proper plates from now on. However, the Asian section of the menu contains some surprisingly good spring rolls.
A special dishonorable mention goes to the chili mayo. Great idea, good level of spiciness, but it's just crammed full of dill! For the love of dog, why!? I could rant for hours on end about the Latvians' unsound obsession with dill (which I'm still convinced can be medically diagnosed*) and still only be scratching the surface of this bizarre phenomenon. There are a few select food items which go great together with dill, but Latvians insist on adding it to almost everything, with disastrous results. This chili mayo is no exception.
”man, what a burgasm!”
Okay, one final thing that unfortunately merits mention is the service. Fontaine Delisnack is so far the place in Riga where they screw up orders the most. And they are not always screwing up in a friendly way. For example, after I ordered something which never appeared and then, after pointing this out, received something completely different, the guy behind the counter looked really angry and started shouting at me in Latvian (which he knew that I don't speak). Come on dude, if you and your people screw up not only once, but twice, you'd be ill-advised to get angry with the customer.
After this outburst, however, we finally move on to the good stuff. And here we find something which pretty much makes up for all the negativity above: the burgers. The burgers at Fontaine Delisnack are just great. The first time, I ordered the Big Stinky Mexican, but because of some aural transmission failure (i.e. the counter girl got my order wrong), I ended up with the Big Louie instead. This is actually a really good burger, although you really have to love mustard to fully enjoy it. If they'd back off a bit on the mustard, this would be a much more pleasurable experience. The second time, though, I finally got my Mexican. And man, what a burgasm! A fat 200 gram slab of meat with a fried egg on it plus chili mayo (no, thankfully the dill didn't shine through), jalapeños etc. And did I mention how juicy this sexy bastard is? They should consider serving this delicious creation together with a second pair of underwear.
In my view, Fontaine Delisnack is a great burger joint, but the other food options I will only go for in case I should ever grow tired of the burgers. Considering how awesome they are, however, this will most likely take some time.
* after all, dill is just ill misspelled