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Here's a Yellow Dog Cafe gameplan: Keep your wits about you and your wallet in your front pocket if you venture into the Yellow Dog Cafe. Try not to be star struck by the $27 cookbook bearing the restaurant's name. Make sure you are not interested in an evenly-paced meal. Plan to pay more than you would at Bern's in Tampa or Gramercy Tavern in NYC. And, finally, keep your taste expectations at ankle level.
Have you ever left a restaurant feeling as if you just got off a bus in Rome with half of what you got on with? I have. Five family members and I recently had a meal at Yellow Dog Cafe (no relation at all to Yellow Dog Eats in Gotha, Florida, of which I am a fan). The combination of amateurish and insincere service, reckless pacing, pedestrian food, and inexcusable pricing made for a meal worth warning others about.
Let's get credibility issues off the table. I've eaten in restaurants of varying quality around the world. I have happily paid well more than two hundred dollars per person when warranted. A good greasy spoon diner is priceless provided it doesn't claim to be Per Se. A restaurant that makes claims better live up to those claims. I've cooked with published chefs. I read cookbooks the way some read romance novels. I study food because I love it, and I love being able to cook it. I assess every restaurant I eat in as if I am the owner looking for improvements. I know who Escoffier is. And, I don't eat in fast food restaurants. I've earned my seat at the table.
Our $330 bill, which included a 10-12% punitive tip, was purposefully low for several reasons. There were three drinkers but they didn't want to order a second drink because my husband sent his first Crown Royal and water back because it was so lightly touched by Crown. He has never done that before, and the drink that was returned to him was no better. Either the bartender needs training or the restaurant is dictating that the drinks are poured ridiculously light. My family - usually the life of any party - was close to stone-faced once they read the menu, saw the prices, endured several delays, and experienced poorly-trained staff. One server carried my bottle of Voss under his arm. We ordered two appetizers for the table. The conch fritters were gummy inside and the accompanying sauce simply flavorless. The baked Brie was reluctantly substituted for the potato chips with warm blue cheese sauce, which was 86'ed by the kitchen at 8 pm on a Saturday. Surely they weren't surprised they had potato chip loving patrons on a Saturday night? Was it a failed mise en place or lack of potatoes that foiled them? The baked Brie had a colorless crust that needed another six minutes in the oven but was rushed out of the kitchen, so it could arrive 12 minutes instead of 18 minutes after the fritters made it to our table. Did we eat it? Yes. It was 8:30 pm, and we were hungry.
Did I mention that we waited for almost 15 minutes to be acknowledged by our servers? Or that once we did order drinks, we had to ask twice for them before they finally arrived with the ice largely melted. We were told the bartender was busy. Note to all Yellow Dogs: We don't care why the drink hasn't arrived. We care that it does arrive.
It was an hour from the time we were seated to the time our salads appeared. The rest of the family had Caesar salads. I opted for the spinach salad that came with an insulting three dollar up charge. It was a decent salad, but it was not the quality I would expect based upon The Dog's advertising. The blue cheese lacked the high notes needed to properly cut the sweetness of the blueberries and the vinaigrette. The Caesar salads were, by all reports, underwhelming.
For a restaurant that touts its scenic view, my and my husband's view into the server station where a huge wall clock reminded us of the delays and where we could keep tabs on the serial bickering between the servers was not worth the price of admission.
I stopped keeping track but there was an awkwardly long gap between the time the salads were removed from the table and the time the first three entrees arrived. Yes, there was a three to four minute gap, without explanation or apology, before the remaining entrees arrived. With high prices come expectations. Having all entrees served at the same time is one of them. A fundamental one, I might add. I should never ever have to say to my fellow diners, "go ahead and eat or it will get cold" when I am paying $44 for a filet mignon. The filet was set atop an inartful gob of over-salted mashed potatoes that were, in turn, hiding some cooked-to-exhaustion green beans and sloppily-manicured broccoli florets. The green vegetables harbored by mashed potatoes combo was sadly repeated in five of the six entrees. It is bad form to hide food with food. Three of us had the signature onion crusted chicken ($26) or grouper ($38). The chicken was overcooked and the onion crust more appropriately found in a recipe from Reader's Digest or some B-grade woman's magazine. It was overly-sweet for a savory dish, and the crust was visually unappealing. I am told the onion encrusted grouper tasted like yams. This is not what comfort food with a flair tastes like. This is what fraud tastes like. The Inconsistently-cooked half rack of lamb ($30) was inundated with an overpowering supply of spices that hid the meat's true flavor, or perhaps, a food quality issue.
There was a $54 NY strip special, and a $50 Maine lobster special that night. Interestingly, the menu listed on the Dog’s website has no prices. I bet I know why. It does, however, incorrectly state a range of prices ($22-39).
There are too many things that are wrong with Yellow Dog Cafe to chalk it up to an off night. The Dog's management knows exactly what it is doing, and it's reprehensible. Despite the evening's raison d'être - to celebrate a birthday - no one wanted dessert or coffee. We were all too disappointed, price shocked, and we wanted off the bus.
Updated Feb 20, 2012
Address: Malabar, Florida
rooney's is a good restaurant and bar located in palm bay south of downtown melbourne. great burgers and local seafood moderately priced. they offer a full bar and an outdoor patio for smokers. a fun place to eat and drink in palm bay.
Written Feb 16, 2012
Address: 2641 palm bay road n. e.
continental fambe is a very good cafe style restaurant located in the new haven ave. historic district in downtown melbourne. the continental fambe offers an ecletic menu of european inspired dishes as well as american fare. a good place for lunch or dinner in downtown melbourne.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: 936 e. new haven ave.
the yellow dog cafe is a very good seafood restaurant located on US 1 in malabar. they specialize in florida seafood, steaks, and poutry. the yellow dog cafe offers a great view of the indian river. in my opinion the best restaurant in malabar.
Written Mar 29, 2010
Address: 905 south US 1
the shack has been a palm bay institution for a number of years. located on US 1 in palm bay the shack offers a beautiful view of the indian river. this old florida style restaurant offers local seafood and typical american fare. one of the better seafood restaurants in the melbourne area.
Updated Mar 29, 2010
Address: 4845 dixie hwy N.E. (US 1)
djon's steak and lobster is located in a historic home in the melbourne beach historic district. as the name implies djon's specializes in steak and lobster. they also serve florida seafood. in my opinion the best restaurant in melbourne beach.
Updated Mar 29, 2010
Address: 522 ocean ave.
gilligan's cove is a very good florida beach style restaurant and bar located on SR A1A in satellite beach. gilligan's cove serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a florida keys style atmosphere. they offer steak, seafood, and pasta. for lunch a good place to go for burgers and fish sandwiches. a fun place to eat and drink in satellite beach.
Updated Mar 29, 2010
Address: 1462 SR A1A
squid lips is a very good florida style seafood restaurant located in the eau gallie arts district. they offer fresh florida seafood as well as beef and poultry in a casual florida atmosphere. squid lips is offers a great view of the indian river and is a great place to have an after work drink. squid lips is one of the better seafood restaurants in the melbourne area.
Written Mar 29, 2010
Address: 1477 pineapple ave.
Bella's closed due to the recession.
From the Melbourne Marina, we went to Bella's for dinner had lasagna for $8 each. That was one of the least expensive things. They also have a bakery and a deli. We bought some bread and cookies that are a pale imitation of Bergers with the chocolate fudge tops. I took half my lasagna back to the boat.
Mon.-Thurs.: 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. / 5p.m. - 9 p.m.
Fri. & Sat.: 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. / 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
(Additional parking 1 block west of Municipal)
Favorite Dish: Menu:
BELLA'S SPECIAL ENTREES
(Served with a side of spaghetti)
Uncle G's Veal Parmigiana. $14.95
Zia Mary's Veal Scaloppini Francese or Marsala. $14.95
Zio Sal's Veal Saltimbocca. $16.95
Grandma's Chicken Cacciatore (preparation time 25 minutes)
Boneless chicken breast simmered in garlic, pomodoro sauce, olives and onions. $14.95
Bedda's Chicken Parmigiana. $13.95
Zia Sadie's Chicken Francese or Marsala $13.95
Zia Gininna's Eggplant Parmigiana $11.50
Tanna's Eggplant Rollatine
Eggplant with 3 imported cheeses and Prosciutto baked in tomato sauce. $15.95
Mussels, shrimp and scungilli sautéed in olive oil, garlic in a white wine pomodoro
sauce served over a bed of spaghetti. $18.95
Shrimp Scampi ala Romano
Shrimp sautéed in a garlic, butter, white wine, lemon sauce with Romano cheese, served over a bed of spaghetti. $14.95
Compa Dennis' Steak Pizzaiola
16 oz. rib eye steak grilled and then slowly cooked with mushrooms, onions pomodoro white wine sauce. Served with your choice of side salad or spaghetti. $18.95
Papa Frank's Steak Gorgonzola
16 oz. rib eye steak grilled and topped with Portabello mushrooms and
melted Gorgonzola cheese. Served with your choice of side salad or spaghetti. $18.95
Chicken breast and sweet Italian sausage sautéed with artichokes, mushrooms, and
capers in a wine, lemon and butter sauce. Served over spaghetti. $16.95
Steak Bata Bing Bata Boom
16 oz. rib eye steak grilled to your temperature topped with green peppers and onions in a sweet marsala sauce. $18.95
Bella Veal Chops
Veal chops slowly marinated in Rosemary, lemon, Balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic,
then grilled. Market Price
Mamma Mia Calamari
Lightly breaded fried calamari over a bed of spaghetti and topped with marinara
fra diavolo sauce. $16.95
Ten large shrimp lightly breaded, fried to a tender golden brown and baked with Bella's marinara sauce and mozzarella. $16.95
Updated Oct 8, 2009
Address: 1904 Municipal Lane, Melbourne Fl 32901
Relax, sit outside, enjoy good seafood, pasta or a steak. Take in the view of the Indian River! Have a glass of wine or a bottle of Hurrican Reef (local) beer (or most big brands, too).
Favorite Dish: Stuffed Shrimp - delicate shrimp, stuffing with crab, baked. Delicious
Conch fritters, not hard and chewy but soft with great flavor
Scallops with mushrooms
Written Aug 8, 2009
Address: 2459 Pineapple Ave, Melbourne, (Eau Gallie), FL
Phone: (321) 253-8888