It’s hard to imagine a group of people more determined to have a good time at 4 in the afternoon than the patrons of The Dogwood.
A girl in a tiara is doing handstands and walking about with her skirt flipping up to reveal the handiwork of a Gillete Mach 4 and the arrival of warm weather disallowing the need for undergarments that young ladies the world over eschew this time of year
A young gentleman is bouncing about as though he’s at a House of Pain show circa 1993, complete with frantic, masturbatory flourishes
An unusually high concentration of trannies seem to frequent Dogwood as well.
Tranny Definition: Males who wear women’s footwear e.g. sandals of the type favored by 11 year old females [see: flipflops] and to mitigate this downmarket look; expensive dress shirts….and pedicures.
If you’ve ever had a tranny fetish it might be a good idea to swing by as these gentlemen have the appearance of being on the fast and loose side as well.
The staff is the typical restaurant/bar staff the world over with a group of energetic hard workers pulling along the slacker/employees by sheer force of will.
One young lady, ostensibly a cocktail waitress, mainly contents herself with constantly circling back to the kitchen then coming back out with her jaw crammed comically full of food. Imagine a starkly white, skinny Popeye the sailor and replace the spinach with whatever she’s constantly garbage mouthing on when the cooks aren’t looking and you’ll get the idea.
Thankfully the food is knockout good or the circus atmosphere could be altogether too much.
The menu is a Southern boy’s dream with all the fried green tomatoes, alligator, boudin, Texas spelling in effect here; boudain, fried chicken and waffles, pulled pork, fried crab balls and a burger that could beat the band with a char-grilled, hand-formed, half-pound patty, bacon, fried green tomatoes and all the trimmings on a gorgeous jalapeno cheddar bun.
It’s pricey at $12 but worth every penny as it’s plenty big enough to split between two hungry eaters. Not sure why they’re not offering hand cut fries but at least the freezer bag ones that come with the platter are of a good quality.
The boudin is knock your socks off good as it’s being sourced from one of the finest boudin houses in the United States; Best Stop of Scott, Louisiana. In business since the mid 80s, Best Stop is a Cajun meat lovers dream and the appearance of it on a local menu is a godsend for those who don’t have the time to make the 750 mile roundtrip to the brick and mortar in Louisiana.
The persistence of Buffalo wings on menus around the USA continues in turn at Dogwood. A vast array of sauces accompanies the ones found here. Just give me some crispy chicken submerged in Frank’s Hot Sauce and a side of bleu cheese dressing and I’m good.
Quesadillas and queso make mysterious appearances as well, serving as distaff counterbalances to the thoroughly Southern menu. I reckon in Austin if you don’t have a little Tex Mex on your menu you might as well not even bother calling yourself a restaurant.
The fried chicken is particularly good with a healthy brine contributing to some of the juiciest bird I’ve ever eaten at a place that’s not Galloway Sandwich Shop on E. 12th st.
It’s served with a scratch yeast roll so delicious I pondered on kicking down the door to the kitchen and freeing the elderly southern granny who most surely is in the back plying her craft.
While the food is the star of the show at Dogwood a mention must be made of the remodel of the old Mother Egan’s room in which it resides. Mother Egan’s was a dump and I do not say that lightly. My bar choices skew towards worn-down honky tonks and punk rock oriented dive bars so when I tell you Mother Egan’s was disgusting, be aware that that diagnosis is coming from someone who’s spent 100’s of hours drinking Schlitz and pogoing at Beerland and the old, pre-sellout, Emo’s Lounge.
The owners of Dogwood’s re-imagining of the space is incredible. Natural stone and native woods abound with plentiful open space, nice sight lines and both indoor and outdoor lounging to accommodate whatever mood you’re in at the moment.
Frankly it’s a little too nice for me but with a dearth of good Southern food options in Austin I’ve found myself there quite a bit lately.
I typically pair my food choices with beer and it is nice to see Victoria Lager on tap alongside the requisite Lone Star but why in the world does this bar not have Live Oak on tap? One of the nations great breweries is all of 20 blocks away and not a single handle for the local boys made good?
One odd beer related note: On two occasions I was served a pint with part of the lip of the glass chipped off. After finishing , I handed the glass back and made mention of the fact to the barkeep so he could pull the glass from service so the next drinker wouldn’t slice their lip open. Each time I watched from the bar as the glass re-entered service. Unbelievable to risk that kind of liability over a pint glass that runs about $1.50 wholesale.
The chef behind the ode to the Deep South-menu is Beaumont naive Daniel Woodard who studied under local master Raymond Tatum of Three Little Pigs, Jeffery’s, Shoreline Grill and Backstage Steakhouse.
Chef Tatum is regarded as a legend in Austin kitchens and it’s clear that his understudy hews closely to his mentor as every dish I’ve sampled at Dogwood has been excellent.
There’s a saying in the industry that the executive chef is only as good as his sous chef so in that regard The Dogwood is particularly well set as sous chef Mark Boudreaux, a Louisiana cook has served in two of the finest kitchens in New Orleans: Luke and Domenica, two John Besh restaurants, the latter being my favorite kitchen in the city.
And if you’re inclined towards a bit of circus with your bread then the floor show can be quite entertaining.
715 W 6th St
About the stars
★★★★ Extraordinary, life changing
★★ Very good
Quality, price, service and ambiance are all taken into account when rating