I am notorious for wanting to stay in my bubble. Whether it is for food, shopping, bars, or whatever, if it is more than five miles away I will probably pass on it. I guess I’m just a creature of habit. However, last night I decided to check out a new restaurant: Blue Dog Tavern in Sherman Oaks, which supposedly serves one of the greatest burgers of all time.
When pulling into the parking lot and seeing this place, I second-guessed my decision. To put it nicely, it kind of looked like a shack. There was a small outside patio that was empty because it is 60 degrees in LA – which for us Angelinos is winter.
I step inside to find the place completely packed. It is no bigger than a studio apartment and along with the outside, looks like it is under construction. There are wood panels all over the place and it is a maze to get through.
Thankfully there was a tiny table available, between two other tables, hardly two inches apart. I took my seat, feeling squished and trying to keep my arms from touching the people next to me. One of the first things I noticed was a myriad of puppy and dog pictures hanging on the walls. There were dogs of all shapes and sizes and they covered the place floor to ceiling. The second thing I noticed was the crowd. There were couples ranging from 21- their late 50’s. But most of all, I noticed that people seemed to be enjoying themselves. There was a definite homey, Cheers vibe going on.
Two menus were put in front of me. One was packed with a wide assortment of house and domestic beers, bottled and on tap, ciders, and wines- all at very reasonable prices, and the other was the food menu. Now, I am an indecisive person, but when I say I had a hard time choosing what I wanted because everything just looked so damn delicious, I am not exaggerating. They had a variety of food to order from. Sandwiches, chicken Wings…but it was their list of signature burgers that was outstanding. They had burgers for every taste bud. Whether you are looking for something more of a barbeque flavor or something even a little sweet, they had it. Now, I have a very spicy palette, so I was torn between the The Fire Starter, which included pepper jack cheese, chipotle sauce, and fresh jalapenos, and The Popper. The Popper had pretty much everything the former had except it included jalapeno poppers and something that was far ahead of the competition-a mixture of Velveeta AND cream cheese. I was in heaven.
The burger was absolutely one of the best I had ever tasted. It was cooked medium-rare, which I don’t usually prefer, but I wouldn’t change a thing about this masterpiece. Every bite was just as good as the last. It was served with a side of home-made coleslaw and garlic fries. Now these weren’t just fries with garlic powder thrown on top. These were fries that literally had smashed garlic all up in it. My taste buds were going nuts. I was tasting salty, spicy, garlic-y, cheesy-and I was LOVING it.
And even though I finished my entire meal, when I saw fresh, warm home-made giant cookies with rich Vanilla ice cream in the middle, I had to tell my stomach to make some room. Oh…and it did. It’s a simple treat but something that always hits the spot. I was thoroughly satisfied.
The service here is great; very quick and very friendly. You can tell that this a fun place to work. The staff is happy to be there and all the customers are burger in hand with smiles on their faces. I would definitely recommend this quaint but lively place to any group of people. Whether you are going on a date or meeting friends for drinks, Blue Dog Tavern’s reasonable prices and delicious menu will be an experience you won’t regret…though your jeans might.
Meal: Late night grub
Occasion: Just a night out
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ** (Loud music but laid back environment)
Would I go back?: Definitely!
Blue Dog Tavern
4524 Saugus Ave.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403