Ugly Dog Heads North

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris June 05, 2024 21:08 in Dining Diary

We’ve lived on the Northshore of the lake for 34 years now, and back then it was more of a bedroom community. There weren’t many restaurants then, but we didn’t need them. Tom ate across the lake and the kids and I stayed home and ate macaroni and cheese.

Occasionally we did go to restaurants, and I remember one in particular on the banks of the Tchefuncte. I don’t remember what was in the space when we arrived here, or any of the other places in the revolving door space, but it became Chehardy’s briefly, as all Chehardy restaurants were. Chehardy’s the restaurant was a lot like the spaces it briefly inhabited. This was too bad because even though they didn’t last long, I liked all these restaurants. Even Tom agreed that they served delicious food. Until they didn’t.

We first got acquainted with Chehardy’s in the space across the side street from Drago’s on N. Arnoult. As soon as we got to love it, they were gone. They had moved to the house beside the Tchefuncte in Madisonville. We liked that one as well, but it was even shorter-lived.

It has been vacant so long I don’t even remember the places that have come and gone there. And one day months ago I saw a sign go up: Coming Soon  The Ugly Dog Coastal Kitchen. I couldn’t imagine The Ugly Dog over here. I only went there once, and it was indeed appropriately named. It was a saloon. A saloon serving barbecue. But this sign had the logo of the saloon.  And I wondered about Ugly Dog in Madisonville. It seemed an odd place. But it wasn’t the saloon. It was The Ugly Dog Coastal Kitchen, very appropriate for the house on the banks of the water.

It took months for the renovation from the last inhabitant to become the Coastal Kitchen.

And then one day, it finally said “Open.” It was only a month later that we went in for dinner. We didn’t go inside because it was a lovely breezy evening and there were tables outside on the porch. I did peek inside and it was so beautiful (in a casual way of course) that I was tempted to sit inside mainly because outside seating was only high tops. Inside was a room of regular tables and chairs. The renovation was nicely done.

Outside, we grabbed one of these high tops and looked at the menu. There was no barbecue here. And not a lot of anything else. It was smallish but adequate, though I didn’t find much to get me excited.

I ordered the crab dip with crostini, and then I got another dip, this time with crawfish That was enough for me, but I did order an entree for Tom.  They are big into Sea Bass here, but I was glad there was a redfish for Tom. It came with fried Brussels sprouts.

The crab with crostini was fabulous. It was an order of three slices of ciabatta sliced thin and piled to overflowing with what amounted to Crabmeat Maison. There were capers and scallion bits and a hint of tarragon. This was served cold and it was refreshing.

Next coming to the table was the crawfish dip. This was the antithesis of the crab. It was spicy to the tolerable threshold, but it was very good. The accompanying crostini were perfect. I loved this dish as it was. There was enough cream to make it spreadable and enough crostini to last till the end. 

Tom’s fish was an enormous plate of food. There was an etouffee sauce over the fish and a gigantic mound of fried Brussels sprouts beside the fish. This was a tasty plate of food, even though I am very over Brussels sprouts. They’re everywhere.

Our waiter was very competent and took good care of us. The young kadies inside were also welcoming/ I look forward to returning here on another nice day and exploring more of this menu. I'm glad it's here. Finally.