Lost Dog Cafe, Arlington, VA

This post won’t win me any friends, but here goes anyway.

It was the night of the snowstorm, traffic hell. What normally takes 50 minutes, took 4 and 1/2 hours, the last 3 and 1/2 with poor, patient Matt as a passenger. We didn’t even bother going home to check to see if we had power; we were starving, and it was 7:30 PM.

Backyard BBQ – closed. Lebanese Taverna – closed. Thai Noy – closing (but they did offer to make us a carryout). Lost Dog Cafe – open and hopping.

“Do you care if it’s really bad?” I asked him.

“I couldn’t care less,” he said.

I hadn’t eaten here in years (although I had one of my worst meals of 2010 at their sibling restaurant, Stray Cat Cafe, in the same strip mall) – I knew very well what I was getting myself in for, and didn’t care.

My young dining companion enjoyed a Dominion Root Beer ($2.95) while I had a Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale ($6 for a pint).

We ordered immediately: a New York Yankee ($7.50), a sandwich with genoa salami, corned beef, pastrami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, oil and vinegar. Sounds okay, right? Well, it wasn’t. Not only was it bad; it was horrible – the same level I’d expect from a vending machine, with a cold, doughy roll and meats that could have been anything.

Better, but not by much, was a 12″, 5-Topping Pizza ($15.95) with cheese, hickory-smoked ham, sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Lost Dog Cafe used to have this lame conveyor-belt pizza oven where they’d stick the pizzas in one end, let them travel through, and then they were “done” when they’d come out the other end. I don’t know if they still have this, but I can tell you that the pizza was only fully cooked on top, and the bottom was blanched white without the faintest hint of any char. The toppings were okay because they saw some heat, but the crust was just awful, and bordering on raw dough in places.

At some point, I ordered a bottle of Duckrabbit Brown Ale ($5.25) which I’d never tried before – it was everything I detest about American “microbrews” which are over-hopped to the point where nothing else about the beer matters.

Okay, that’s done. Now let me say a couple positive things: this is a very popular neighborhood restaurant that was OPEN during that nasty snowstorm unlike a lot of other places. And yes, I am very sympathetic to their cause of helping find homes for abandoned dogs, and in fact I’ve given Lost Dog Cafe a lot of my money in the past by buying beers here rather than going to the grocery store. I’m glad they exist; I just never want to eat here again.

This entry was posted in Restaurants, VA and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.