The Dorset has a continental brasserie feel, that you could call homey rustic. Wooden tables, no side plates for the bread. Lots of browns and a splash of green.
The atmosphere is never less than buzzing, energetically overseen by Mark who just happens to be the best Elvis impersonator I have ever seen.
At the point where the conversation is about to run dry, and you need your food to arrive, the Dorset does not disappoint. And it does both quick snap and long slow in equal measure. Steak frites cooked to perfection on a sizzling plate or moules mariniere will both appear before you are halfway through the first glass of its excellent merlot.
The fish takes longer but is well worth the wait as the Dorset offers the best selection in town. I particularly like the sea bass with ginger and lemon grass.
My only small annoyance is when the bill arrives in a glass that is not big enough to take your credit card. Baffles me every time.
The restaurant is now non-smoking, which suits me fine. In fact, I think we both gave up at the same time 11 months ago. But they broke the rule to enable my special visitor from the States to puff away to his heart's content. Now that's service.
Where: 28 North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YB
Contact: (01273) 605423
How much: £35 for two-courses with wine