As the name leads you to believe, Dogfish Head Ale House is a brewpub centered around the Dogfish Head brand of beers. I enjoy libations and spirits as much as the next person, but as always my primary concern is the sandwiches. One might expect that any establishment that attempted both fine beer and fine food would fall short in at least one of those categories, likely the food. My experience, happily, has been quite the opposite. Cambridge Brewing Company in Massachusetts and Stout in New York City have always treated me well. So how did this Ale House stack up against some of my old favorites? Well, this wasn’t a bad sandwich, but you can see for yourself there just wasn’t much there. The crab cake was first rate, fresh tender crab and plenty of it. Beyond that, there wasn’t much going on. There was a leaf of lettuce and a slice of tomato on the plate, something which I find to be a bit of an annoyance.
An associate recently asked me why it was that I preferred to order a sandwich as-is, asking for no modifications and often not asking in advance whether a sandwich will come one way or the other. My answer was that I wanted to see the sandwich someone else is capable of, not the sandwich they’re capable of being coached to make. Standing behind a sneeze guard and hollering instructions to some poor sap in crinkling plastic gloves and a greasy visor is not my idea of a good time. You make the decisions, I say, I’m here for the results. So getting a plate that features an unadorned patty, lonesome on a bun, lettuce and tomato adjacent, well that just browns my avocado, so to speak. If you think the sandwich needs them, add them. If not, don’t. You handed me a menu when I walked in, not a ballot. I digress.
The sandwich did come with a house made tarter sauce that was quite good, and together with the quality crab this was a more than servicable sandwich. I’ve had some pretty fine crab cake sandwiches, so in eating this one I was a bit lost, thinking of onions, or roasted red peppers, or lightly dressed slaw, or pickled jimica, or thin spices of cucumber dressed in a spicy mustard, or anything else you might add to a crab cake sandwich to make it special. With those in mind, it was hard to get excited about this sandwich. It wasn’t bad, but it’s hard to love something that announces itself as an echo.