Hills and mountains are formed by vast underground food deposits, which, over time, stretch the landscape into soft mounds of untapped edibility. Dig into the bounty of surrounding geography with today’s deal: for $20, you get $40 worth of sustainable American cuisine at The Dogwood in Hampden.
The Dogwood's chef uses locally grown, all-natural, and organic ingredients to create a fresh, weekly changing American menu of gourmet neighborhood fare. Start a delicious dinner off with an order of the gruyere gougeres (house-baked cheesy pastry puffs, $4) or indulge in fresh Chesapeake oysters on the half shell ($2 each) with house cocktail sauce and malt mignonette. Small plates such as the rare-seared yellowfin tuna crudo ($14) served over spring beans and micro greens, or the Maine lobster ravioli ($16) in a shrimp-Madeira cream will satisfy mid-course cravings, while casual creations, like the vegetarian-friendly lentil-barley burger ($16) over a fresh veggie salad will provide a guilt-free dinner for the recovering carnivore. Heftier entrees include a pan-roasted Alaskan halibut filet with artichokes, fresh chickpeas, fennel, romesco sauce, and gremolata ($28).
Pair a pleasant meal with a bottle from Dogwood's extensive wine list (starting at $23) or one of its specialty cocktails such as the Phoenix ($9), a Prosecco and vodka concoction with elderflower liqueur and fresh thyme. Or allow the top-notch servers to bestow upon your table a tasty conclusion such as the Dogwood carrot cake ($7) with orange cream-cheese frosting, or the pot de crème ($7) with whipped cream.
The eatery's vibrant, vegetal décor pops with oversized glamour shots of fresh veggies adorning the lime-green walls, and is an ideally urbane location to hold your next date or post-dissertation-defense dinner. With a steadfast commitment to sustainable and local cuisine, the eatery also boasts an equally steadfast commitment to the community, offering paid training to individuals in transition from addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and underemployment. Call ahead for a reservation.
Chef Galen Sampson was featured as a 2008 CNN Hero for The Dogwood's transition training program. The Dogwood made Bon Apetit's 2008 Hot Ten Sandwich Shops, and the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore magazine both featured favorable reviews. Baltimore magazine named The Dogwood Baltimore's Best Sustainable Restaurant and one of Baltimore's 41 Best Restaurants in 2008.
- It’s difficult not to root for this plucky enterprise, which is devoted to utilizing the product of local farmers whenever possible, and which hosts the Dogwood Gourmet Institute, a nonprofit culinary school dedicated to providing free training for recovering addicts, the homeless, and the formerly incarcerated. The trainees work in the restaurant; the restaurant’s revenues fund the training. – Bianca Sienra, Baltimore
- We applaud the worthy mission, but Sampson’s way with food is reason enough for a visit. The seasonal menu boasts vibrant flavors in lush combinations, like summer’s grilled calamari with peak-flavor heirloom tomatoes and arugula, or fall’s delicate starter of homemade pumpkin gnocchi with wild mushrooms, sage pesto, and fontina. – Baltimore
- As for the food, spectacular. I have never been a fan of pork but after trying their pork dish, I am an instant convert. – OpenTable user who dined on 04/24/2010
As co-owners of The Dogwood, Galen and Bridget Sampson follow a simple mission of community involvement. Hiring and training people who are transitioning out of addiction, incarceration, and homelessness, the duo works to empower each toward self-sustainment through careers in the culinary arts. They also extend this local focus to their ingredients, sourcing meal components from sustainable, artisanal, and organic producers such as Liberty Delight Farms whenever possible. Chefs transform these into a menu of American and international recipes, which, like a snowman’s outlook on life, changes with the seasons. Local dishes such as crab-stuffed oysters buddy up with classic American meals such as bacon-wrapped pork chops and vegetarian dishes such as curry and moussaka. Servers pair many of these plates with eclectic cocktails and a seasonal wine list that highlights bottles from the Pacific Northwest.