The Blue Dog Cookhouse and Bar claims it, “brings an elevated New York dining experience to Boca.
Our chefs make use of top-quality ingredients to give both classic and innovative dishes their best life. Our world-renowned mixologists are committed to bringing an experience to Palm Beach County it has never been experienced before. With quality you can depend upon, ingredients you can trust, service you'll love, dishes and cocktails, we will keep you coming back.”
That’s a lot of hyperbole! And, if Blue Dog reached that, it would be a superb dining experience. But how elevated a dining experience is it if the tables are not covered in tablecloths? For a place with entrées in the $30-$40 range (and a steak that goes for $150!) and burgers and pasta in the mid $20s. A higher level of presentation is to be expected. The servers are friendly, efficient (and attractive), but not polished enough for fine dining.
Let’s start with some positives. The West Palm martini ($14), a specialty of the house was perfectly prepared and served properly, in a vintage-look chilled glass. Our appetizer choices included a dish of sheer perfection, Buffalo cauliflower ($15), with a healthy potion, easily enough for two to share. There are three versions of steamed dumplings chicken, pork, or vegetable. An order of five is $18. While the veggie dumplings were delish, why five to an order and not six? If you’re going to share an appetizer, six makes more sense. Also, why do they all have to be one kind, why not a sampler? Every item is priced about 20% higher than it should be for the dining level being offered.
We split an entrée salad, the Farmer’s Market, a delightful mélange of greens, cherry tomatoes, glazed pistachios, and feta. After we placed the salad order, our server started to walk away. We had to tell her we still wanted to order entrees. Maybe she was trying to signal us because both entrees were a disappointment. Lobster mac and cheese featured plenty of lobster (and a fair share of cartilage and shell), but the cheese sauce was broken and oily. The filet trio arrived, cooked to a perfect medium-rare, but without much of an outer char, as if they had been cooked sous vide. The trio of steaks were topped with three different sauces (Oscar, bearnaise and bone marrow) and sat atop a dollop of sweet and mashed potatoes and cauliflower au gratin. They were all lacking in seasoning. A side order of polenta was grainy and dry.
We’d hoped that our desserts would be a saving grace and they were. The Key Lime pie comes, as expected on a graham cracker crust, but then it is topped with a house-made graham cookie and star tips of torched meringue — beyond exquisite! The gooey butter cake could have spent a few more minutes in the oven, it went beyond gooey to runny. But I didn’t care, it tasted so good, that I ate the runny batter. Both desserts, priced at $14 each, were huge, enough for at least two to share. We brought more than half of each home.
Blue Dog shows promise, but it’s either got to step up its game or drop its prices if it expects to succeed in Boca’s competitive market. The good thing is, since it is located near the entrance to Boca Town Center Mall, there is adequate free parking.
The Blue Dog Cookhouse and Bar
6000 Glades Rd., Boca Raton
Union Kitchen & Bar has a new seasonal menu and is rolling out new summer promotions including a “$7 till 7 p.m.” happy hour, featuring a selection of cocktails, wines by the glass, premium liquors, and bar snacks for $7 each from 5-7 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday. It will also offer “Wine Down Tuesdays” with 50% off all bottles of wine through Sept. 30.
For those always looking for a new cuisine, how about something from Georgia (the country)? Askaneli, from owner Oleksandr Uvarov, opened a few weeks ago. Try khachapuri (cheese bread with a runny egg), khinkali (large beef and pork-filled dumplings) or a lamb and tarragon stew called chakapuli. It’s hidden away on the ground floor of the NuRiver Landing condos, behind the Broward County Courthouse.
Another one bites the dust. Tucker Duke’s has closed its Boca Raton location. The Deerfield Beach flagship will remain open.