The surrounding environs are an eclectic place where traditional homes ringed by porches rub shoulders with boxy modernistic houses where the occupants would be well-advised not to throw stones. True to the New Urbanist ideal of walkability, there’s also a smattering of retail space here, including wine shops and other spots offering food and drink.
Two Dog could easily be in Santa Monica or Vancouver, an impression reinforced by its clientele of youngish professionals. Two Dog’s interior is that of the classic, clean white-walled diner, influenced by retro design but not to the point of being gimmicky. It’s a bustling spot for Sunday brunch, with a capacity crowd waiting for tables or a stool at the counter overlooking the open kitchen. The menu references old-school diner fare, albeit with smart updates.
Weekday blue-plate specials include fish and chips, roast turkey and grilled fish tacos. Other selections include an $8.95 burger and a $10.95 Cobb salad, but there’s also more unique fare such as St. Louis ribs in a Coca-Cola barbeque sauce and biscuit-crusted salmon. The brunch menu ranges from the basic $6.95 two-egg breakfast to biscuit and gravy specials, corned beef hash with eggs, and a grilled prawn and pesto omelet.
Pal Amy and I started brunch with a $4.95 pair of potato pancakes. These arrived lightly dotted with herbs and sided with the requisite apple sauce, which departed from tradition with a sprinkling of cinnamon,a iced Earl mon, and sour cream. They were pleasingly light with a soft but not soggy texture. Amy also enjoyed her iced Sport Tea, a tangier alternative to the default Earl Grey version.
To accommodate Amy’s vegan diet, she ordered the $8.75 veggie scramble plate with tofu instead of eggs. She also subtracted the zucchini and cheddar from this option, leaving mushrooms, tomato and onions. On paper, this seemed liked a good idea, but there was an off-putting excess of oil on the plate, and there wasn’t an assertive, unifying flavor to tie this dish together. Offering the option of a vegan-friendly sauce, such as an Asian-style peanut concoction or a South American herbal chimichurri, would have undoubtedly addressed this criticism.
On the other hand, there was no room for complaint with the Sunday special of $9.95 rock shrimp cake eggs Benedict. The poached egg on top retained a laudable degree of liquid yolk, and the Hollandaise sauce retained a creamy texture and delicate flavor that didn’t overwhelm the spotlighted shellfish. This was a smart move, because the shrimp cake was simply marvelous, and gave the best crab cakes a run for the money. The fresh taste of seafood was complemented by a balanced blend of spice and a slightly crumbly texture, indicating ingredients hadn’t been diced too finely and perfect cooking duration.
The quality of the offerings is generally high at Two Dog Diner, with the only room for improvement revolving around vegan selections. Once this is addressed, this eatery will truly offer something for everyone.
That said, the current menu is nothing to That said, the current menu is nothing to sneeze at with its regard for reasonably priced comfort food items made with quality ingredients. This attribute alone elevates Two Dog from a simple neighborhood haunt into something with rightfully broader appeal.