by Rhonda Dutton
I was completely blindsided by Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar. My dog, Jack, is a “closed pack” dog – meaning he isn’t taking any new members into his club – he’ll play in an area that contains other dogs, such as in a dog park, but please don’t wander into his personal space or there will be a stern “talking to” to put it mildly. And, being a Blue Heeler, he is a working breed and is in no way lazy, not on this Earth or any alternate Earth, either. Therefore, Lazy Dog would most likely not have been prioritized on my where-to-eat list because we wouldn’t have been able to take Jack. In my anal-retentive-germaphobic mind (fear), I pictured it full of dog hair and scattered doggie meals, overturned chairs and crusty pooch slobber on the table edges.
The extensive menu made me think that there would be a lot of food, but nothing done really well (arrogance). Scuze me? Was I wrong about everything! In my mind, I heard The Ancient One from Dr. Strange say: “Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all.” I learned many, Ancient One.
Housemade Sangria Sampler: Red Pomegranate, White Peach, and Raspberry Moscato
First lesson learned, Lazy Dog is a grand and expansive space, immaculately clean, organized, and devoid of any traces or aromas of prior canine presence. The patio is huge and the weather/climate enclosures retained the wide-open-space feel without any breezes or obstructing the view. Being, well, me, Texas wind that blows my hair into my food or turns my napkin into an annoying game of cat and mouse usually keeps me from patio dining so this atmosphere was truly a pleasant surprise.
Lazy Dog’s Moscow Mule is made with housemade ginger beer! Seriously ginger-y, this sucker will treat a cold
Second lesson learned, Lazy Dog uses nothing pre-packaged or frozen. They make everything, sauces, cocktail mixes, ingredients, toppings, everything in-house, even their marshmallow the size of a brick of cash. I couldn’t believe how good everything was. I was like Rainman in a state of disbelief, repeating, “Ridiculous! Ridiculous! This is just ridiculous!”
Wok-Fired Calamari, soy plum sauce, peanuts, bell peppers, green onions, sesame seeds over steamed brown rice
The Wok-Fired Calamari appetizer was a welcome change to the standard menu offering of fried calamari with marinara or remoulade. The soy plum sauce was perfectly balanced, not too tangy and not too sweet, and the calamari was so tender. And this is one of the few times I’ve gotten brussels sprouts at a restaurant where the cores were not bitter. I usually have to cut the cores out but these were little baby angels, caramelized and crispy.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (aka: Little Baby Angels), lemon, garlic, butter, CAPERS [HEART], and romano cheese
At this point, I thought I had reached max satisfaction, I was ready for a nap – but then the entrees arrived. The pasta couldn’t just be a pasta, no, of course not. At first glance, this Texas girl thought she saw brisket, but this was a Lamb Ragu with hand-shredded house braised lamb and a red wine/thyme sauce with a bit of cream. The super tender lamb really came through the flavors, the sauce was not overly rich, pasta perfection.
Lamb Ragu with Noodles, house braised lamb, mushrooms, sweet peas, romano cheese, red wine and thyme sauce with a dash of cream
And then… A pork chop. I was like, “A pork chop?” And then I was like, “You don’t order pork chops at restaurants, that’s what you get at the grocery store on sale in a family pack.” “And when I say you, I mean GenPop, I never buy pork chops.” And here came Lesson Three. Just look at it in curiosity and wonderment:
Bone-In Pork Schnitzel, crushed pretzel crust, creamy mustard sauce, red potato/bacon salad, apple cider cabbage slaw
That is a BONE-IN, PRETZEL-CRUSTED pork schnitzel. And not the hard sort-of-crunchy-but-more-like-stale pretzels, either. These were super light and crispy, almost airy – pretzels should not ever taste this good. Ever. Ridiculous! The pork chop itself was tender and tasted delicious, absolutely unreal. What kind of wizardry did you perform on this pork chop, Lazy Dog?
Lesson Four came when a dessert arrived and I thought, Ok, I’m anti-pumpkin just because I’m rebellious that way, retailers this season make me anti-pumpkin, and I don’t like cheesecake because it’s like cake deception. It’s not cake. At all. But then I heard, “Housemade whipped cream” and a spoon that I didn’t know was in my hand was digging craters in this thing. This was delectable, the pumpkin flavor wasn’t in my face annoying me with its pumkininess. The cheesecake was just this light fluffy heavenly stuff floating around my mouth and making me smile and say, “Ridiculous!”
Seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake, graham cracker crust, chocolate sauce, housemade caramel, candied walnut crumble, dollop of whipped cream
Final lesson was thinking that it couldn’t get any better than this. I thought for sure that this S’more dessert would be too sweet and rich, giving me lockjaw from the sugar. I mean, look at it – it’s just taunting you, luring you into its guaranteed sugar coma.
Simm’s Family S’more, chocolate fudge, graham cracker crust, peanut butter, warm brownie, GIANT fire-roasted housemade marshmallow, crushed peanuts
The Simm’s Family S’more was surprisingly edible. I could taste all the flavors, nothing overpowered the other, and for all its gooey richness, it was oxymoronically light. Recommend sharing, still, just saying.
After all these lessons learned, I’m doubting all that I thought I knew. I want that pork chop again! I want that pumpkin thing again! In my dining euphoria, I’ve completely forgotten that this is a dog-friendly joint. Lazy Dog packaged up a to-go doggie meal for Jack of grilled chicken breast and brown rice, which he devoured in secluded bliss in 4 seconds. We love you, Lazy Dog.
Lazy Dog is located in Addison in Village on the Parkway, they have a pooch-friendly patio and a doggie menu, they’re open 7 days a week until midnight, brunch on weekends until 2pm, and Happiest Hours Monday through Friday 3-6pm, and Sunday through Thursday 9-close. They also have a Plano location in the works. Hope to see you there sometime, bring your fur babies, and be prepared for some seriously good food.
Look for a new Lazy Dog to open in Plano later this month at Village 121 on 8401 Preston Road.