We went out for dinner last night to a local icon: The Lost Dog. I first went to the Dog when it was located in my neighborhood. It was the first true coffee shop in our city, predating the updated Dunkin Donuts and any form of Starbucks. The original shop was in a horrible old building - originally a garage by the look of it, and more recently a fish shop. The Lost Dog featured funky, hand-tiled tables, mismatched brightly painted orphan chairs, sagging couches and excellent coffee. The limited menu nodded toward Moosewood.
When The Dog moved downtown, they took their tables, chairs and couches, added a coffee bar and upgraded the menu. I can't say I went often, and I confess it's been years, but I always enjoyed the ambience.
Hubby and I like to support local restaurants over chains. While there is something to be said for the consistency of the menu from one Friendlys to another when you are on the road, there is more to be said for the sheer adventure of seeing what your neighbors are cooking up. So we frequent the local diners, small ethnic places, the odd bar. And last night we decided that we hadn't been to The Lost Dog in, well, a dog's age, so...
The funky couches, tables and chairs are gone, which made me sad. The coffee bar is unchanged. The menu has a very nice variety, the food was fresh and well-prepared. Our steaks were cooked correctly and our server was attentive, prompt, and very good at paying attention to our food limitations and allergies without any fuss.
But I was a bit stunned by the prices. We eat out fairly regularly, so we are familiar with the range of restaurant meal prices. This one came in at the high end. Given the prices of the entrees, I am more than a little annoyed that we had to pay an average of $4 per person extra to get a rather small salad. And given the fact that this began as a coffee house, the quality of the coffee was rather so-so for the price. And the place was LOUD. Hubby and Babygirl and I had a discussion about how the restaurants in Paris have a pretty low noise level overall. It was difficult to converse over dinner due to background noise and music. TGIFriday is quieter, and that is saying something.
My advice? Go for the Friday evening happy hour and tapas bar. Or go to The Loft.