Saturday, May 26, 2007


Some friends and I went to dinner on Thursday night. It was this new place that they rave about in Hampden called the Dogwood. This place is affiliated with the upstairs Dogwood Deli and in the same building as a local Bikram Yoga studio (that is the last time I stare at myself almost nekkid for 90 minutes in any asana again - I just can't do it. The staring, I mean). And it's very posh and modern - like something you might imagine being showcased on the Food Network.

The place was crowded, even on a Thursday night. My friends love this place, and apparently so does the whole neighborhood. Wine lovers that they are, they often bring their own. Tonight they brought two bottles (both rosés)- but hey, they live in walking distance (lucky lucky lucky them) so no DWI for them!

The service was quite good, and the staff, from the owners down to the busboys, were all congenial. My friends have gone to Dogwood enough that they know one of the owners, Bridget Sampson (who runs the place with husband/chef Galen), by name, and viceversa. And in the short time they introduced me, she greeted me by name! The service, decor and food are all as sharp as this!

A few points about Dogwood:

  • The menu changes slightly from day to day. This is good, because there is always variety. But they do eventually offer the dishes again. For example, this night I started off with a really great wild greens and strawberry salad with small crumbles of cheese ($9). This was not a small salad, either. My one friend had had this before (see, dishes do rotate back onto the menu), and I'm glad I took his recommendation.
  • The entree may or may not be large as well. Mine, perhaps the best halibut ($23) I have had since I don't know when, was not very large. It was also not hard or gummy except in one teensy corner, and the potatoes that came with it - mixed with bacon and horseradish - were gone very fast. My friends got steak ($23 and $26), and they certainly had more.
  • Dogwood's owners are very socially conscious. They hire many people who are recovering from problems with addiction or other bad situations.
  • As much of their food as possible is grown or produced fresh in Maryland or somewhere close. Many of the places where they get their ingredients are listed right on the menu (printed fresh daily). What doesn't come from Maryland may come from nearby - Pennsylvania or Virginia. The farthest they seemed to go for ingredients was Maine (scallops) and North Carolina (where, unlike the Chesapeake, there are more blue crabs this time of year).
  • Dessert was good - a chocolate chip pound cake ($6), though didn't dazzle me the way the appetizers and entrees did.
The very best part of the evening was that my friends paid for me (which I don't mind). For me, this was excellent. For them, it was $112 for the three of us, minus tip.

The next time I may have to pay out of my own pocket! And if I do go, or if you do, please be sure to save up some moolah and try out the Dogwood.