LOST DOG CAFÉ
Address: 2920 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204
The Lost Dog Café is a place I stumbled across after doing some browsing over on Urbanspoon for new places to try. I had been interested in finding a good sandwich restaurant in the area, and Lost Dog cropped up as one of the more popular restaurants serving sandwiches. After reading over their menu and getting hungry just reading the different sandwich options, I knew that it was a place I had to try.
Coincidentally, my friend Andrew and I had made plans to see Captain Phillips right across the street at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse yesterday night; it was the perfect setup to step into the Lost Dog Café for a quick bite to eat before the movie. This location that we visited was the second location the owners opened up, with their original restaurant located over on Washington Boulevard in Arlington.
When I first went into the restaurant, it was really cool to see the colorful décor of the restaurant and the painted murals that were up on the walls. In keeping with the namesake of the restaurant, the subjects of the cartoonish murals were dogs doing everyday human things (like walking in the park, going to work, etc.). It all definitely contributed to a brightened dining atmosphere.
With regards to the food and drinks, one word summed it up nicely: variety. There are over 50 different sandwiches and 30 different pizzas to choose from, not to mention an absolute plethora of beers (both on tap and bottled). Both Andrew and I decided to go in for sandwiches and split two to try different ones.
Both the Bow Wow and Cowboy sandwiches we ordered were absolutely spot on. A great thing about the rolls on both subs being toasted is that you get the crunch of the bread on the outside, but the inside is still soft. The Bow Wow definitely packed in the meats with both the bacon and chicken, but also had the melted mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan cheeses to give it the sandwich a creamier texture. On a bite of the Bow Wow where you got all the different components, I think that the ingredients worked well to balance each other out without one overpowering the other. As for the Cowboy, I enjoyed the fact that the vegetables were cooked to the point where they were soft, but still had a slight bit of a crunch to them (particularly the green peppers). I think that the melted brie wrapped all the ingredients together in a cheesy mess (in a good way) and really helped to make the Cowboy another delicious hot sub option.
It was a great first impression coming to the restaurant last night and I certainly can’t wait to return again to try another sub (or perhaps a pizza) on the menu. Everything about the meal worked together to exceed the expectations that I had, and I’m glad to have discovered another restaurant to frequent in the near future.
Let’s now take a look at the Lost Dog Café Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** The Bow Wow **
Chicken breast, bacon, three types of cheese, and lettuce served on a toasted sub roll.
** The Cowboy **
Grilled chicken breast with mushrooms, green peppers, onions, and melted brie on a toasted sub roll.
** The Surf ‘N Turf **
Roast beef, backfin crabmeat, brie, and mayo. One word: awesome.
The Sammy’s Club
Sliced chicken breast, bacon, avocado, brie, topped with pesto mayo, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Fried onion rings served with ranch and chipotle mayo.
And finally, here are my rankings for the Lost Dog Café:
Food: 5 / 5
The subs were absolutely packed with flavor. With so many different options of food to choose from (and all of them sounding delicious), it’s really hard to make up your mind.
Atmosphere: 4.75 / 5
The decorations inside the restaurant, with the color themes, amber lighting, and painted murals, really gives the restaurant its own sense of character.
Service: 5 / 5
Our waitress was very friendly and accommodating to the various questions we asked about both the beers and the food. She came back around afterwards to check on us and make sure we had what we needed. Our sandwiches and waffle fries also came out of the kitchen in record time, no more than five minutes after we ordered.
Price: 4.5 / 5
Almost all of the sandwiches are priced at $8.50 (that’s without a side), and if they are all as tasty as what I had today, I’d definitely pay that again. To add potato chips and a pickle for an extra $1, I think that’s great value for a meal. Can’t comment about the pizza pricing since I haven’t tried those yet.
19.25 / 20
February 9, 2014 Update:
I took another trip back here last night and wanted to add on two additional thoughts to my original post:
- After having tried both their Italian Fries (waffle fries) and Dog Collars (onion rings), I would probably skip those and stick to the main dishes. Both times they were kind of soggy even though they looked fried, so I’m not sure if they are cooling the fries and onion rings off on paper towels that is making them that way. I personally prefer the fried crunchiness for both of those items.
- The Old Dominion root beer that they have on tap is fantastic. I’m now finding it hard not to get one every time during future Lost Dog visits. Plus, from my previous experiences, root beer is at its best when it comes from the tap.