Sunday, March 9, 2008

Pub Dog and Frisco Grill

Frisco Grill has excellent guacamole, decent margaritas and a fine mahi-mahi fish taco. They also have live music on weekends, and a low-key, neighborhood atmosphere. Their televisions leave something to be desired, but there are plenty of screens showing various games on any given night. They also do a fine job on nachos and chile con queso dip. Just don't order the vegetarian burrito. The tofu lacks flavor, and has a creamy texture that doesn't quite belong.

In the same shopping center is Pub Dog ( It occupies the space once taken by the Hard Times Cafe. While I was sorry to see Hard Times go, the Columbia location was always the red-headed stepchild of the franchise. The food and service paled in comparison to the Northern VA and Bethesda locations. I was always baffled by how the Columbia Hard Times managed to screw up chili, onion rings and chicken wings.

Fortunately, the new Pub Dog (a Baltimore favorite that expanded to Columbia) is a solid establishment with excellent service, good deals and tasty microbrews. I could go on about how friendly the manager and servers are; it's the type of place where you can walk in alone, and have new friends by the end of the night. My only suggestion to Pub Dog is to add some greasy bar treats to the appetizer menu. While the personal pizzas are pretty good, I would love to be able to order some chicken wings, nachos or cheese fries to go with my 2-for-$4 beers.