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Jan 12, 2010 11:47 AM

Anyone been to Dogwood since it reopened?

Just noticed that Dogwood in Hampden has a snazzy new website and menu. Just wondering if anyone has checked it out yet and what you though of it and how it's changed (if at all). I had a good experience there but it was well over a year ago.

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  1. Just had an impromptu meal there last night with friends. Wanted to try their oyster bar -- they converted the small space at street level to an oyster bar with about 8 seats, a chalkboard, and a window to the kitchen down below. We were just going to have oysters and a glass of wine but it turns out you could have the full menu up there too, so our light intentions turned into slightly more as the small plates were too tempting. Amongst the lot of us we had:

    Chips and dip -- Really good homemade potato chips with yogurt-ish herb.

    Seared scallops -- Several of us had this. Three large scallops seared with a spaghetti-squash compote, a gingered sweet potato(?) coulis, diced tart apple, and crisp bacon. Great clear flavors especially when you got the bacon, apple, and scallop all in one bite.

    Eggplant strata -- A stack cornmeal crusted eggplant slices with some kind of tomato preparation between and a mix of chopped olives. The eggplant was nicely crisp without being oily. The flavor was good my wife thought it was a little dry.

    Braunchsweiger -- I didn't get to try this but it was apparently local-made braunchsweiger on toasts with appropriate sides of onion, etc. Our friend enjoyed it but admitted she didn't really know what braunchsweiger well enough to compare it.

    Cheese plate -- The star of the small plates we had. As our friend noted, she all but licked the plate clean on this one. Three cheeses -- a smoky cheddar, an ashy goat cheese and crumbly blue with baguette slices, an apricot mustard, and port-soaked dried cherries. The combinations were fantastic and the cheeses were amazing. A must get when we go back.

    We were also given plates with slices of a mango quick bread and butter. Very tasty.

    We topped it off with an assortment of oysters -- they had six different East Coast varieties from sweet to briny.

    They have an extensive wine list but we stuck to the by the glass specials -- several nice whites, a merlot and a syrah.

    The upstairs space is really cozy with a clean minimal style. I wouldn't call it intimate since you're right there watching the street theater (and being part of it). It was fun though as we started with 3 people and wound up with 5 as we kept waving in friends and acquaintances who passed by. It was perfect for talking and eating, with just a little "Nashville Skyline" playing in the background.

    All told with 5 of us, the bill was about $140, including wines and oysters. Oysters are $1-$1.50 for the month of January and the wine specials were $5 a glass. We left feeling full and that we'd had a great deal. Definitely will be our go-to place when we're feeling we want pampering but don't want to dress up!

    1 Reply
    1. re: zebcook

      Saw your group cavorting in the window last night. Looked like you were having a good time.

      Because of Zebcook's group, we ended up downstairs and had a nice time. Some of the aforementioned house made chips, the Winter Salad, the bleu cheese burger, maryland crab soup and the house made irish brown bread with sweet butter. Really enjoyable evening.

    2. Just had a very nice impromptu meal there. Trio of fresh beets was really fresh and very tasty. Spring Salad was nice and light with three springs of crisp asparagus. Sampled a couple of oyster which were tasty but small... but then it is the last day of oyster season. The star of the evening was seared scallops over a fresh pea risotto.... nice fresh peas, not overcooked and big juicy scallops, not undercooked but still soft. This was just a very nicely prepared dish that celebrated it's ingredients......., large enough for two to split .
      On recommendation seen here, we asked for a few chips to try. They were crisp and salty, but nothing I'd write home about.

      The Dogwood Restaurant
      911 W. 36th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211

      2 Replies
      1. re: Macnac

        My husband and I tried it while we were in town this week. It's a really different restaurant in that all the staff were genuinely interested in explaining the food, what their favorites were . . . even the chef came by to check on us!

        Our food was very fresh and didn't have a lot of spices that would overwhelm the the flavor of the main ingredients. It brings to mind the style of good Cantonese cooking. We are fans of the beet appetizer with cheese crostini.

        1. re: intrigued

          The regular dinner menu is on the expensive side, but they have more homey midweek specials that are great value: on Tuesdays they have slow cooked meat, which means the tougher cuts with great flavors that most restaurants disdain, cooked at a low temperature till they are rich and tender. I haven't tried the Wednesday and thursday specials yet.

          The Dogwood Restaurant
          911 W. 36th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211

      2. I was there this weekend and was genuinely underwhelmed. We started with the eggplant strata appetizer. While the eggplant was crispy, as advertised, the whole dish seemed lackluster. The description of "olive oil-smashed organic potatoes, rustic tomato ragout, fresh basil, grilled olive tapenade" had me looking forward to eating it all day, but only those bites including a whole olive were tasty enough to go back for more. My dish - the Ancho Braised Grass-fed Beef Short Ribs was also disappointing. I don't want to go as far as to call them tough, but I did need to use a knife. They also had large pieces of fat in every bite. And were in need of some salt and pepper or some sort of spice. The accompaniments were fresh steamed carrots & green beans - plain but good. The garlic cooked greens were tasty, but only 3 leaves were on my plate... I did really like my date's dish - the North Carolina Rainbow Trout. I had it a few minutes into the dinner, but he was not loving the hot fish placed on top of the refrigerator-cold slaw salad. It made for a disjointed dish - at least for the first few bites. The coffee was good, as was the dessert - the chocolate pots - but all in all, we were not thrilled with our meal. As mentioned above, this is not a cheap place. We felt for the kind of money spent, the quality of food was lacking.

        1. We were there this weekend. After reading fellow Chowhounder reviews, I was expecting to be disappointed and nearly canceled our reservation. I am so glad we decided to give it a try...
          I started with the spring salad, which included incredibly fresh asparagus, strawberries, a cheese that escapes me now, and mixed greens. It was very good-- a great mix of flavors with a good, light dressing that did not leave me feeling too filled. Others at the table got the special chili soup, which they adored! I then got the yellowfin tuna as my entree-- it was served in a thick tomato-based sauce with braised calamari. It was so flavorful and both the fish and calamari melted in my mouth. An absolute winner! My other companions got the terre major and the special pasta, which was almost like a fish soup. Everyone loved their meals. We also were all tempted by the desserts and loved both the apple tart and chocolate chip poundcake. I should add that we got a delicious red wine, which was very reasonably priced.
          All in all, a great meal!

          All in all, a superb meal! I hope to go back soon!

          1 Reply
          1. re: stephanieg

            My husband and I ate at Dogwood last night, after finding that Woodberry Kitchen was booked. We had a wonderful meal.

            We started with two innovative summer cocktails--one with gin and Aperol, another with fresh sage and whiskey. We shared the horseradish Caesar salad and the eggplant strata. Both were split in the kitchen and plated individually; they were large portions. The Caesar was tangy, lemony, fresh and delicious. The strata was on the heavy side but the flavors were well-developed. I left most of the smashed potato component on the plate so that I wouldn't be full before the entrees arrived.

            My cioppino, the Wednesday special, was more stewlike than brothy, but still appealing. There were mussels and small shrimp in a thick roasted tomato and garlic sauce, topped with a broiled fillet of rainbow trout (I think). Also present was a handful of farfalle pasta. Overall, hearty and homey.

            My husband had the seared scallops over mushroom corn risotto with snap peas, which was outstanding. The scallops were buttery and perfectly seared. I rank their scallops among the best I've ever eaten.

            We rounded out the meal by sharing a maple creme brulee with berries, simple and light and perfect.

            The staff was friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming. I look forward to a return visit in the near future.

            Woodberry Kitchen
            2010 Clipper Park Rd # 126, Baltimore, MD

            The Dogwood Restaurant
            911 W. 36th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211