Brown Dog Cafe and a New Friend

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a blogging acquaintance, Sharon from Eggplant To Go, asking me if I'd like to join her for dinner.  Cincinnati's Restaurant Week was coming up, and she had reservations that she had made with a friend who was no longer able to go.  Not wanting to miss out on a chance to try a new restaurant, Sharon wondered if I'd like to join her.

Let me just say that I am so thankful that Sharon reached out to me.  I have always considered Sharon to be such an interesting writer on her blog, always uncovering new food trends in Cincinnati, and she shares my love for Top Chef.  And as an adult, it's harder than I ever expected to make new friends.  I'm not from Cincinnati so I don't have a built in group of friends here.  I love my husband dearly, but he understands that I like to be busy and social.  I was involved in a Ladies Wine group, but most of the members moved away so it sort of fizzled out.

Sharon reached out to me on the perfect day with the perfect invitation--dinner at Brown Dog Cafe.

I had never eaten here before so I arrived a little early.  I was surprised that the restaurant is located in a small strip mall type location at the Pfeiffer Road exit off Interstate 71.  The inside of the restaurant has a sort of upscale lounge feel with a nice wooden bar where I could see myself coming back and sitting on a stool for a glass of wine.  There was a mix of booths and tables, and we were seated just around the corner in a little section of tables.  It was cozy and comfortable; I found the atmosphere appropriate for a date, dinner with the in-laws, and even a business dinner.

When Sharon arrived I immediately stood up to give her a hug.  I instantly knew it was going to be a very nice dinner.  She allowed me to choose the wine for dinner, and I found that the wine list was well rounded with a nice selection of glass pours and bottles at varying prices and types.

Our server brought us the restaurant week menu, which included the option of choosing an appetizer, salad, and entree.  All of the choices were interesting and sounded delicious.

I started out with a Sea Dog for my appetizer.  It was a seafood sausage served on a bun with a spicy sauce, sort of a play on a lobster roll.  It was incredibly good, and I inquired of our server where the sea dog was sourced from.  She confirmed Sharon's suspicion that it was from Lobsta Bakes of Maine.  I know my husband would love this, and I want to buy some of these directly from Lobsta Bakes sometime soon.

My second course was a pickled beet salad with goat cheese.  The beets were sweet and vinegary and a perfect pairing with the creamy goat cheese.  Beets are such an under-appreciated root vegetable, aren't they?

For my entree I had a duo of incredible lamb chops that had a crispy, salty crust.  They were served over cripsy potato wedges and asparagus.  The chops weren't heavy or game-y but light and juicy.  And seriously awesome.  I would order this again and again.

Overall dinner was fantastic.  We polished off a bottle of wine and talked about everything under the sun.  Sharon is one of those people that I think I could always find something to talk about with, and I really appreciate that in a dining partner.  I hope to see you again soon, Sharon!


  1. So, I think it's so great you two connected and I love that you hit it off. I really love and appreciate how supportive us food bloggers seem to be of each other.

    I really like Brown Dog for it's sort of adventurous food and though I think the location is strange, it's definitely a place folks shouldn't miss.

    Thanks for your report, Jen.

  2. I hope to see you again soon too, Jen! It was a lovely evening, with fabulous food - made that much better by your delightful conversation (and knowledge of wine). There something special about dining with a sister food blogger - we immediately had shared enthusiasms and a similar frame of reference. Kind of like hanging out with an old friend you don't have to explain your jokes to :)

    P.S. I've posted about the October Smackdown - congrats again on your win and thanks so much for hosting! Hope we can entice some more folks to play along this month.

  3. Courtney--it has been nice to meet other bloggers. You're next on my list for a dinner date!

    And Sharon--I hope we get a few more, too. My cousin has informed me that she's going to try and play. She has a really cute writing/life blog at joyeilene.blogspot.com

  4. might they have any veggie options? the food looks great!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!