Now in two locations, this local standout offers more than sweets, too
It might be hard to believe, but Thanksgiving arrives next week. So, have you made a pumpkin pie plan yet?
According to sources such as Good Housekeeping, Americans eat about 50 million pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving. Such sources don’t estimate how many of those pies are actually good, though.
Want a guarantee that you’ll be eating a superior pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving? Then I have important news: You have until Sunday, Nov. 22, to order one from Dough Mama, a brilliant pie-making pastry shop and cafe.But you can sign up any time to get news and entertainment delivered to your inbox with our daily newsletter
Dough Mama’s Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie separates itself from the pack of humdrum turkey-day — or any day — desserts with a fantastic crust that’s sturdy, flaky and buttery and filled with a thick, dark-brown mass whose soothing richness is showcased by, not dominated by, fragrant spices.
You can get that pie and other delicacies at both the recently opened Dough Mama in German Village — the subject of this review — and its older Clintonville sibling, whose fare I can vouch for as well.
The primary difference between the two cute little eateries, both of which currently offer takeout-only, is that the German Village outlet is now offering dinnertime items and hours. The evening-centric dishes sold at the newer operation adhere to Dough Mama’s homey-meets-fancy aesthetic. In other words, they’re comforting favorites elevated by skillful execution, plus touches of elegance and creativity.
For example, I didn't know that other versions of macaroni and cheese were lacking a pie crust until I sampled Dough Mama’s beautiful, quiche-like Individual Macaroni & Cheese Pot Pie ($12). Served with a salad enhanced by watermelon radishes cleverly speckled with black sesame seeds and a lively tamari-based dressing, the mac’s inhalable crust enables diners to easily devour the broiled-dairy-capped delight with their hands if they so desire. (I’m pleading the fifth here.)
A flakier, more substantial pastry crust envelops the Individual Sausage & Apple Pot Pie ($13, with a salad). Beneath its lovely puffy dome was abundant crumbled, breakfast-style sausage enhanced by herbs and a prudent dose of apple.
Herbs and fruity notes likewise contributed nuance to the gravy in which a first-rate biscuit was partly submerged in the Chicken and Biscuit ($12), another entree listed under “Dinner.” Peas, carrots, celery and pulled chicken added more interest to this free-form riff on chicken pot pie.
Among the German Village shop’s breakfast and lunch items previously popularized at Dough Mama’s Clintonville branch, the Avocado Biscuit ($12, with a salad) has a well-earned “signature dish” reputation. The hefty composition characteristically balances richness (from avocado, fried egg and an impressive cheddar-scallion biscuit) with bold pickled onions and greens.
The Cauliflower Reuben ($12, with a salad) might’ve been modest-sized, but the flavors of this inspired creation were big. And its combination of thinly sliced roasted cauliflower, “sassy sauce” (starring house ketchup and mayo), sauerkraut, melted provolone and toasted sourdough (from Dan the Baker) translated into a believable Reuben.
The same excellent bread encased a tender-yet-firm, herb-kissed slab of turkey meatloaf in Grammie’s Sammie ($13, with a salad). Cheddar and pickled onions added extra yin-and-yang flair to the fine sandwich.
From such flavorful standard fare and a wealth of refined non-alcoholic drinks to many seasonal preparations — like an uncommonly vibrant Roasted Root Vegetable Soup ($8); a dynamic Quiche wedge ($12, with a salad) with roasted butternut squash, shallots, kale, tangy goat cheese and spicy chili flakes; and small-but-hearty Buckwheat-Banana Pancakes ($10) with good syrup — you really can’t go wrong at Dough Mama.
This dictum especially applies to the establishment’s world-class pies ($4.50 to $5 per slice; $32-34 per pie). And if pumpkin pie isn’t your thing, the bright and seasonally appropriate Cranberry Ginger Pear Pie and/or the spectacular and chocolate-fortified Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie will be. Consider that a guarantee.