On a gorgeous fall afternoon without any children under our care, what were my husband and I to do to occupy ourselves? The answer was obvious: visit a local winery and enjoy a late lunch. So, after completing a few necessary errands, we enjoyed our leisurely drive to Jewell Towne Winery. The time spent there was delightful: sampling wine, touring the vineyard, and buying a few bottles for home. After spending an hour or so at the winery, it was midafternoon, and we were hungry. Not familiar with the area, we asked for recommendations. Of the restaurants named, we chose Barking Dog Grill & Bar, due to both the recommendation and the whimsical name.
Located in the quaint downtown of Amesbury, the restaurant had a decent-sized crowd for a between meal time of day. We were seated right away and provided with two glasses of water while we reviewed the amazingly long martini list. (Yes, a little indulgence for a weekend afternoon with only adults!) When the waitress returned, we still weren’t certain as to which martini we each wanted, but she helped us make our decisions.
I ordered the Summer Kool-Aid Martini. Just like a glass of Kool-Aid from my youth, it was red and fruity. Thankfully, I drink much more neatly than when I was four, so I didn’t develop a Kool-Aid mustache. Also unlike the beverages of my youth, this drink wasn’t overly sweet, as the kids version can be. My husband ordered the Mad Hatter. Made with a multitude of ingredients, it had a hint of iced tea flavoring to it, the perfect sort of martini for him.
As it was 3:00 and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, we decided to start our lunch with an appetizer. Finding many great munchies, we decided to go with one that we don’t see on many menus, Stuffed Peppadews. These tiny and slightly spicy peppers were filled with cream cheese and bacon and topped with jack cheese. Served in the small casserole dish in which they were baked, the appetizer was delightfully hot, keeping the jack cheese gooey. They were the perfect way to start our meal and dull our hunger while we made our lunch decisions.
Typically, I favor salads, but as hungry as I was, I decided to order something from the sandwich realm. When I got to the wrap section of the menu, one item called out to me: Portobello Wrap. Filled with jack, garlic aioli, spinach, and roasted peppers, it was something I might not make at home but that I was certain I would enjoy. I was right; this sandwich was delicious. In addition to all of the flavorful ingredients listed, it seemed to have a hint of balsamic vinegar in the mushroom. Every bite of it was yummy. What made this order even more endearing was that I was able to substitute pub fries with sweet potato fries, which for me are a treat worth the indulgence.
My husband was famished and opted for one of his favorite burgers: Fried Egg Burger. As the name suggests, the burger (10 ounces, I believe) is topped with a fried egg and melted cheddar cheese and served on a toasted bun. He devoured every bite of the burger and all of the onion rings (his substitute for pub fries) in no time. The burger was cooked perfectly medium, and the onion rings had a nice coating that was thick enough to be crisp but not so thick as to overwhelm the onion.
While my husband and I love gourmet bistros, we also appreciate a restaurant that serves creative bar fare, which is exactly what Barking Dog does. Every aspect of our meal was well done. From the drinks to the appetizer to our sandwiches, they all were prepared excellently. We received superior service from all waitstaff that we met. From our initial greeting to checks on our beverages and food orders, the staff was courteous and attentive. If you’re looking for a snack, meal, or just a drink, Barking Dog Grill & Bar would be a terrific destination.