Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Barking Dog Café

Several people in the last few months keep telling me I needed to try the Barking Dog for a burger.  I have been there a few times, but have usually mainly focused on the seafood-type items because they seem to really highlight them on the menu (East coast shrimp, crab and lobster rolls).  This time though, I went in with the directive of getting a burger. And part of whatever hubby ordered. (And an FYI, this place was also featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives).

Hubby started with a cup of the clam chowder, which is my Dad’s favorite thing here (my parents really like this place).  I think this is probably the best clam chowder I have had in Indy.  It is a more cream based type than some I have had (some are more sort of potato based and more like a stew if you know what I mean).  This one has a great flavor and a lot of pieces of clam (one of the benefits to all the clam dishes they offer on the menu I am sure).  It didn’t need anything except a few oyster crackers thrown in.

I ordered “Jeff’s ‘thin and crispy on the edges’ single cheeseburger” with everything—well almost, I had them hold the lettuce.  The burger was a very large, but very thin patty with melted cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup, Dijon mustard and special sauce.  It was great. Really, really good.  The beef was exactly as described, with a nice crispy edge (which I love).  The onions were super thin (almost shaved) so they were not over-powering but gave a nice crispy bite.  I also really liked the pickles on the burgers—they were a little thicker cut than many.  The special sauce was sort of like a slightly spicy Thousand Island dressing and while I normally wouldn’t put this on a burger, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  In fact, when we went back with the kids a week or so later, I got the exact same thing and enjoyed it just as much, if not more.  A side note, I loved the fact that they specifically don’t offer tomatoes this time of year because they recognize that what they can offer are just not good.

Hubby had the crab roll on this fist visit.  I think this is probably pretty authentic New England-style crab roll, and the crab was nice big lumps of crab meat.  The “roll” part was a nicely toasted thick piece of bread wrapped around—this is pretty true to the rolls I have had on the East coast.  However, what I didn’t like about it was the seasoning on the crab itself—or should I say lack of seasoning. It seemed like it was pretty much just mayo, which to be fair, may be a very traditional way to eat them, but when I make them, I like to jazz them up a bit—some lemon, some Dijon, a little hot sauce, some chives.  We did get a couple of lemon wedges and squeeze them over the top which helped a lot.  The ingredients were all good though, but it couldn’t compare to the taste of the burger.

We also shared a side of fries—they offer a choice of homemade chipotle ketchup or kalamata rosemary aioli (yay!). Of course we got the aioli because this is my favorite kind of thing to dip a fry in.  They were also really good. The fries are nice and crisp (a darkish brown color) but thinner than a lot of homemade fries.  The homemade slaw on the side was also one of hubby’s favorite things—it did have a nice spicy flavor and tasted like it had some of the housemade sweet pickles in it that are served as a garnish with the sandwiches.

As I said, we went back for lunch a little over a week later and took the kids this time.  They wanted a burger (with cheese only) so I made them split one because they are a pretty good size and so often they leave so much food when we go out.  Well, they loved the burger and pretty much inhaled their halves.  We had to order another one for them to share, which they also polished off.  Suffice it to say, they are big fans of the place.

I had the burger again, but hubby ordered the clam plate on this visit.  It is a huge plate of fried clam strips which we chose to have with remoulade (you can also have cocktail sauce).  These were good as well—the clams were tender and battered and fried.  They served them with some lemon wedges which I really liked squeezed over the top.  I am not so sure about the remoulade—it seemed almost like more of a tartar sauce than a remoulade, but the clams were pretty tasty on their own (I would probably try the cocktail sauce if I got them again).  But still, the burger was the thing that was at the top of my list.

It’s a cute little place on 49th Street near Penn, and has a large glassed in front with some great light coming in—the downside is when it is cold outside, it is difficult to keep it warm inside. Our first visit we were pretty close to the front and when the door opened, there was a cold burst.  The second visit was more comfortable because we were near the back and they seemed to have the heat really pumping.  Our server (on both occasions) was super friendly and incredibly enthusiastic about the menu and food.  A cup of clam chowder, a burger, and some of those fries is a great lunch for sure.  And it may be one of my kids’ new favorite places.  So have you been? What do you think?

The Barking Dog Café
115 East 49th Street
Indy 46205

Barking Dog Café on Urbanspoon


  1. Is this still cash only?  I'd like to try it, but would need to be prepared.  I received a very gruff response when I tried to pay with my debit card.  Luckily they hadn't started making the food yet so I just left.

  2. hmm.. nope, we paid with a credit card.

  3. Erin, thanks for this.  I've often driven past the place and it set my mind wondering back to New England where we lived for 16 years.  I love clam rolls, lobster rolls, tiny fries and more. The problem with crab rolls (which I'd order in Baltimore not New England) is the one you cite which is lack of seasoning.  Baltimore uses some Old Bay and very finely chopped celery with good mayo. 

    Will try next trip if I'm not in the mood for a grinder and a frappe, oops, I mean sub and milk shake.

  4. Glad to hear they are taking them now, they didn't at one time and were very snippy with me that I didn't have cash.

  5. I live only a few blocks from Barking Dog, so naturally it is a place that is often on my radar. However, the past two times my husband and I visited, we had HORRIBLE customer service experiences. The owner was downright rude, we waited a full hour for our food, and we were treated as though we were a huge burden to the establishment, rather than welcome customers. Both times!! Unfortunately, those two experiences really soured me on the place. Not sure I want to give it a third chance, although the food does look good. 

  6. I have to agree with Kelly. I live two blocks away and wish that dining there was a more pleasant experience. Although the food is quite good (albeit a bit pricey), the owner Mary Beth is indeed rude and downright abusive to her customers and waitstaff. Read the reviews on Urban Spoon. The 49% positive votes are well deserved. I've dined there four times and swore each time that I would never return. I've held firm now for over a year. I can't believe the place is still in business.

  7. I love that show! 

    Thank you for sharing. Everything looks delicious! I will have to
    check it. Next time you are in the area you should check out Justine’s Table.
    It is the best
    restaurant in Natick, MA

  8. Must say that looks and sounds really good. The cheeseburger and the chowder and the clams. Yummy.

    Was thinking of stopping in and now I definitely will. Many thanks.

    I find that part of town fascinating.

  9. Glad I wasn't the only one treated rudely or that I imagined it.

  10. hey you guys, I have heard a lot of mixed feedback about the service in the place. All I can tell you is that on both our visits (within a week of each other) we had the same server and had great service.

  11. We just went this weekend after you posted your review.  We had calm chowder, an oyster plate and the burger.  The food was excellent and so was the service.  Thanks for the rec.

  12. Sort of hesitant to go here, on a limited budget and I see no prices on the menu. This seems like a pretty casual place so what's the deal? Do you remember Erin?

  13. Kate, glad you enjoyed it!

  14. sorry I didn't post prices Katy. I did not have an itemized receipt and as you said, they aren't on the website. If memory serves, the burger is around $8, the fries around $3 and the seafood rolls are in the neighborhood of $11-15 depending on what you fill yours with.  I think the clam plate was in that range as well.

  15. least in much of the south and in essentially mayo or aioli....often yellowish in color if made with mustard....reddish in NOLA because of ketchup or paprika.....often has horseradish...capers..anchovies...chives...etc.



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Thanks, Erin