Gluten-Free In Cincinnati: Brown Dog Cafe

Brown Dog CafeThe first time Chaz took me to what is now our favorite sushi haunt in the city, it was when he was commuting and I came up one weekend to visit instead of him driving home. What caught my eye wasn’t the restaurant we were going to, but the one next to it: Brown Dog Café. I made the comment, “Good thing it’s not Black Dog Café” – black dog is a Filipino…delicacy, and the subject of many jokes (no, I’ve never had it). The only thing Chaz knew about the restaurant for certain was you had to have reservations to go. If you don’t have reservations, they won’t seat you.

Chaz did some poking around online recently and found their gluten-free options, which are many, and decided to make reservations. The gluten-free options are marked on the regular menu, there is no separate menu.

The restaurant was not busy when we arrived, which made the slow service a bit of a shock. Our server was taking her time, talking to customers she clearly knew well. I made the comment to Chaz that you must need to be a regular to get good service. Once the place filled up, you can imagine how much slower the service was.

Brown Dog Cafe 2We ordered the Cheese Plate for an appetizer. Three different cheeses with gluten-free crackers (Crunchmaster Original Multi-Seed) and several toppings. I think we both enjoyed the honeycomb the most. And just look at that presentation. Who wouldn’t love that appetizer?

Brown Dog Cafe 3I had the Brown Dog Filet for my entrée. Looks delicious, doesn’t it? Thanks to the slow service, my food was cold when it arrived at the table. I’m talking, the outside of those mashed potatoes were ice cold and the inside was piping hot and the steak was room temperature, if that. I was not happy and I would’ve sent it back if I thought warm food would’ve returned in a reasonable amount of time. The food wasn’t bad, just not the expected temperature when I placed it in my mouth, which for a foodie, kills the joy of good food on the palate.

Brown Dog Cafe 4By the time the dessert menu came, I was excited about the options, but not thrilled with the service. Chaz asked if I wanted dessert. Yes, but no. I told him I didn’t think either of us wanted to wait another hour for dessert. There was the option to order it to go, but who knows how long that would’ve taken either.

Keep in mind that this was on a Monday night. Not the usual weekend nights when restaurants are normally slammed.

Would I go again? Maybe. Just to see if there is a difference in service or if it’s the same. And to get some gluten-free Key Lime Pie to go.



    • Doesn’t it? So disappointing when what your eyes see and your brain expects, is not what you get once it’s in your mouth. If we had checked out some of the reviews (which we don’t normally do), we probably wouldn’t have gone.

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