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“Eclectic mix of menu options” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Brown Dog Cafe

Brown Dog Cafe
5893 Pfeiffer Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45242 (Blue Ash)
(513) 794-1610
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Ranked #41 of 1,663 Restaurants in Cincinnati
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $40
Cuisines: American, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Blue Ash
Cross street: Pfeiffer and I-71
Fairfield, Ohio
Level Contributor
80 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Eclectic mix of menu options”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

This was our first visit to Brown Dog Cafe. Tucked away in a strip mall, it appears nondescript from the outside, but lovely inside. It is a small place (get a reservation!), but still has a surprising array of menu items (Rabbit Empanada's, anyone?). I had the petite filet and crab cake. The filet was tender and cooked to perfection! The breads before the meal, all from The Blue Oven Bakery, were wonderful. We had a great time. Expensive, but very good.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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110 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cincinnati, Ohio
2 reviews
“Poor Service”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013

Always eager to try unique restaurants, and based on the positive reviews I'd read for Brown Dog Cafe, I was very excited to try it. Unfortunately, my group and I had a very disappointing experience due to poor service and subpar food.

Although we were seated quickly and brought water, we were never provided with the drink menu (I ended up having to walk up to the hostess stand to retrieve one myself). Bad enough, but when the server eventually stopped by to take our drink orders and we informed her that we weren't ready because we had just gotten the menu (as I am sitting down from grabbing one), the server actually huffed under her breath and looked irritated, as if we'd inconvenienced her.

The service quickly went downhill even after that. The server was very slow with returning to the table to take our orders. The wait to get our food was excessive. My party had discussed ordering another bottle of wine towards the end of our meal but had to forego it since our server never returned to check on us. After we had finished our meal and drinks and the table had been cleared, we had to sit at the table for another 15 minutes before finally getting the check.

Because we were a party of five, a 20% gratuity was added to the total bill. While I am accustomed to a gratuity for six people or more, adding a gratuity for five seems - well, gratuitous. And, adding an automatic 20% tip is unreasonably high and does a disservice to the person choosing to patronize the restaurant. In the hospitality business, 15% is more typical with added gratuity, thus providing the patron with the option to tip more for good to exceptional service. I have no issue tipping 20% or more at restaurants for good service. However, I do take issue with being automatically billed 20% gratuity for the poor service we received. Because my party ordered generously off the menu (two appetizers, five entrées, one bottle of wine and two other alcoholic drinks), the bill was not cheap. We almost felt like the waitress was deliberately slacking off because she knew she was guaranteed a high tip.

The food was nothing to write home about, and combined with the poor service and unjustified gratuity policy, none of us will be returning to BDC

  • Visited April 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
73 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

we were referred to this restaurant by family relatives, we were driving through Cincinnati and decided to give it a shot. I will never regret going there. I had a steamer pot as a appetizer beautifully executed -- shrimp, mussels, scallops in a steaming and savory broth with "cuban bread' which went great to soak up the broth. Then I had a salad fresh just the right amount of dressing and all fresh greens. For the main course I had the wild boar cooked perfectly and full of flavor, came with a duck confit and southern greens. My partner had the rabbit empanadas as a appetizer and baby bleu salad, and the lamb chops just perfect. For dessert I had their trio of "homemade" ice cream. Again, all I can say please make it a effort to go. We went on Monday night and thank God we had reservation it is a small restaurant and fills up quickly. Along with all this praise the service is spot on excellent service.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Always excellent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2013

'Brown Dog' is one of our favorite restaurants. Small, tucked away, comfortable booths, nice wine list and full bar, and we particularly love the appetizers and salads. We make a meal of those at the end of a long day. Fresh, seasonal ingredients with a nice range of main courses as well. Excellent service.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Akron, Ohio
Level Contributor
58 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“The raves are accurate”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in the Blue Ash area and decided to try the Brown Dog based on its proximity to our hotel (5 minute drive) and the great reviews on Trip Advisor. It turned out to be a great choice. Although it was a Saturday evening and we had no reservation, we were greeted promptly by the friendly host who led us right to the only empty table in the place. The interior is warm and inviting and very well appointed (belying its understated exterior appearance in a retail strip plaza). Service was attentive, wine list broad enough to satisfy a range of tastes and budgets, the menu is varied and eclectic with everything freshly prepared. Awesome breads. We were too full for dessert but the offerings looked very tempting. Not cheap, but worth the price. Figure $40-50 per person with a glass of wine and dessert.... More if you add appetizers or salads.

Visited April 2013
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