Follow your nose to the Red Dog Café

Nov. 29, 2005, midnight | By Eve Gleichman | 15 years, 1 month ago

Cozy Silver Spring restaurant should not be overlooked

By instinct, you may be reluctant to poke your head into any restaurant located on a street with such an unappealing name as "Grubb Road." But at the Red Dog Café, the cuisine does not merit association with the unfortunate address and certainly deserves some attention.

Nestled among oddball shops in the Rock Creek Shopping Center, the Red Dog Café boasts a cozy interior with large windows, cute tables and a diner-esque counter. Several servers bustle around chatty customers, bringing out plates of fresh salads, hot soups and fresh fruit and vegetable drinks.

Servers recommend piping hot java or veggie juices to preface main courses, and while the beet-carrot vegetable juice should only be attempted by the bravest of veggie lovers, there are enough delectable combinations of pureed fruit and vegetables to satisfy your taste buds and wellbeing.

The artisan goat cheese appetizer — baked in caramelized tomato sauce and served with warm foccacia wedges — is a winner for those with a more sophisticated palate, while the mild roasted mussels in a white wine, shallot and herb broth will undoubtedly delight seafood lovers across the board. Both appetizers do well with the zesty house salad, accompanied by a delicious homemade vinaigrette dressing.

This season, the soup selection is a creamy butternut squash soup. The size of the "cup" should not be underestimated; the soup makes a perfectly delicious addition to any side dish or appetizer.

For an entrée, if you still have room, go for the basket of baby back ribs. Glazed with Carolina-style sauce, these babies slide right off the bone and will put rib-lovers in a state of euphoria. If you're out with a small group, you can't go wrong with any of the eclectic mix of homemade pizzas, available with gourmet toppings. Though perhaps a more conservative choice, the margherita pizza is especially tasty for diners who enjoy thin-crust pizza with fresh roma tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.

The "world-famous" macaroni and cheese is also quite good, baked to perfection with penne pasta and aged cheddar cheese, though be warned: your taste buds may get bored unless you stick with the more affordable half size.

The desert menu offers the basics; fruit crisp, caramel-chocolate sundae and scoops of ice cream that will make a lovely finish to any meal you decide to dig into at the Red Dog Café.

The check won't be too hard on a student wallet and the friendly service and delicious gourmet food will make you wonder why this adorable little bistro has gone so unnoticed.

The Red Dog Café is located in the Rock Creek Shopping Center at 8301-A Grubb Road, Silver Spring, MD. To contact Red Dog Cafe, call 301-588-6300 or email Prices range from $9.95 to $16.95 for entrees.

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