Being featured on a popular national TV show like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives can be a blessing and a curse. It brings in crowds determined to eat that cool new bite they just saw on the tube — a welcome boost for any local business. But what happens when the show's a hit and loops through reruns for years on end? "Every time it reaired, you could tell," says longtime Good Dog chef Jessica O'Donnell. "It was tons of empanadas and tons of duck pot pies."
Seven years later, the pot pie people were still coming in, albeit sporadically, for a labor-intensive dish that takes a minimum of two days to make. So when the Good Dog Bar reopened last month after a major nine-week renovation, they decided it was time to lighten up the menu. O'Donnell, who honed her skills at high-end kitchens like Striped Bass and Ave. B, decided to go a more delicate route, with a seafood pot pie. And it's a lovely, cold-weather delight. Unlike so many other bad pot pies that can be gloppy or end with rubbery bits of overcooked whatever bobbing inside, O'Donnell crafts hers with real finesse. Each element — shrimp, scallops, and chunks of market-day fish (cod, bass, and monkfish have made cameos) — is delicately half-poached to order in fish fumet before being folded into a rich velouté gravy touched with tarragon, along with celery, peas, roasted cremini mushrooms, and parsnips. It gets topped with puff pastry, baked until golden brown, and served with mixed greens in pomegranate vinaigrette. Is it possible for a pot pie to be light? No, that wouldn't be quite right. But this one hits the perfect middle place, soulfully satisfying for a cold-weather splurge, but also crafted with a careful touch that presents each morsel of seafood in its perfect, market-fresh state. It's time for Triple D junkies to try a new pot pie.
– Craig LaBan
Seafood pot pie, $17-$19, Good Dog Bar, 224 S. 15th St., 215-985-9600; gooddogbar.com