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The Dogwood Cafe

January 10, 2007

The Dogwood

The Dogwood Cafe is a JP staple, and I’ve been eating here since I moved to Boston, amost three years ago. I crave the broccoli cheddar poppers, their brick oven pizzas are creative, and almost never disappoint, and they offer Anchor Steam on tap. So why do I so rarely even remember that it’s there when trying to think of a place to eat dinner?

I honestly have no answer to that, other than, perhaps, location: The Dogwood is at the very end of the Orange Line, at Forest Hills, on the Washington Street/Hyde Park Ave side of the station–a place I very rarely am. It should be more often remembered, though, and I’m glad I thought of it last Saturday night.

I’ve always been a fan of the atmosphere at the Dogwood (for lack of a better word). It’s all warm wood and candelight, and the bar is big and solid and comfortable. It gets a bit crowded from time to time, but on Saturday at 8 pm we only had to wait about three minutes for a table. Our food came super quick, the  beers were fresh and tasty, and I got my satiate my broccoli cheddar popper craving.

Inside the Dogwood

The pizzas are cooked in a brick oven, and so have that ultra crispy thin crust thing going on. Mr. X decided they were flatbreads, which was a good thing because that meant I was allowed to put things like spinach and broccoli on it (apparently these things don’t belong on proper pizzas). This time we ordered the Birch–broccoli, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, sundried tomatoes, and mozzarella (plus we added some chicken, because we are dedicated carnivores).

piiiizzzzaaaa

‘Twas a very lovely pizza, but I couldn’t help feeling that with a little tomato sauce, it would have been perfect. It was just a titch too dry, and didn’t favorably compare with the awesomer pizzas I’ve had in the past: The Maple (sausage, ricotta, tomato sauce, and mozzarella), or the Magnolia (chicken, pesto, garlic, and mozzarella), or the Sequoia (buffalo chicken, red onions, roasted tomatoes, and, yes, mozzarella). The crust was still pretty excellent. And those broccoli cheddar poppers put a warm fuzzy glow over my being so that everything that came after was equally happy-making.

I’ve never tried any of their pastas, but they look pretty basic, and not as inventive as the pizzas. Likewise with the seafood-heavy entree menu, but I doubt that lack of originality equals lack of taste sensation. Perhaps someday I will be swayed from the pizza menu and try something else.

I would say that The Dogwood is worth checking out if you’re in JP, but I feel I should amend that to say that The Dogwood is worth coming out to JP for. On weekend nights there are musicians who do not suck (which is not something that can often be said for musicians in restaurants), and the bar scene is usually pretty lively. They offer take out, but not delivery, and you can get yourself a substantial amount of pizza goodness for very little cash money. And everybody likes pizza goodness.

The Dogwood Cafe, 3712 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA, 02130. 617.522.7997

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