Silly as it sounds, one of the best things about this place is the ambience. Yes, the food is really quite wonderful (see below), but what made me smile was the smallness of it -- and the bathroom. Yep, while it is itself tiny and right off the dining room in a way that made me worry strangers could hear me, it was filled with -- you guessed it -- photos of brown dogs with their names and things on them. Corgis and mutts and who knows whats. It made me smile.
More seriously: first and foremost this Naples eatery -- called, you may have gathered, the Brown Hound Bistro -- has been on my to-dine list for some time. It is really a smallish house, with the kitchen on the second floor. When you enter, you see a smallish (get the theme?) dining room and bar. Very very homey. Maybe 8 tables? We went on a wintry evening after I spent the day in Naples (see a review of The Grainery to follow that is the place I hung out at for part of the day) and then met up with my favorite cross country skiier. A few miles outside of Naples proper was the Bistro where we had a reservation so early (5:30) we joked about the early bird special. The porch was covere din snow (well, one of hte porches) and a chain across hte steps (wisely) and so we entered by the other door (the one they clearly intended for us to use).
Here's what we had:
First, we had two cups of cream of mushroom soup which was just right for a snowy day, especially for the skiier. It was peppery and the mushroopms actually had not been unduly chopped up, and I ate it just a bit too quickly. Mine was not terrifically hot, but otherwise it was great. And in fact that may have been why the taste was so good.
We had local wines and were pleasantly surprised (do I always say that)? A Heron HIll and an Imagine Moore. I picked mine for the name: Wisdom, something I seek but usually miss as it leaves the door. Accompanying the wine (yes, the otehr way around, but then. . . ) were, in my case, a yellwo fin tuna, barely spanked, with a ginger/wasabi/sesame sauce that was quite tasty. This is a sort of usual way to serve tuna and sometimes I find the sauce cloying or just too wasabi-y. This time it was just right -- and even smelled good. The skiier had a rib eye steak which she said was dandy. And both came with smashed potatoes (I had to ask for butter, which may be a good thing) and asparagus (cleasrly not a seasonal vegetable, but surely cooked quite nicely). We both got petite portions, which were not exactly small. . . . The main accomapniment was bread with olive oil; to my taste, the bread was too soft and the olive oil a bit bland. But. . . not everyone can be perfect, right?
We followed -- after some thought -- with dessert. I got peanut butter piue, which I had only had before in a homemade version (made by someone else) and this one was just as dandy. Not too heavy, not too peanutty. Just right. And the skiier had a white chocolate mousse-y thing with some chocolate cake in it. She decsribed it as sort of a giant oreo.
One quibble, beyond the bread: they had a very litied tea selecytion (no just plain green tea) and this forvced us into decaf coffee. On the other hand, they did give the skier a bit of a taste of the mousse-y thing so she could see if it would be too sweet. and even though I was taken to eat, I do know the price was reasonable.
Here's urban spoon on the place:
Bow wow wow wow. Brown Hound.