The Buds have been on the hunt lately, with their sites set on finding a great place to eat. Hey, it's ALWAYS open season for good food, right?!
Having trounced up the river and down the river, the Buds headed West, ultimately finding themselves at The Bear's Den.
Located on East Pike Road in Cambridge, the Bear's Den is a lodge-type structure with exposed timber walls and ceilings which give off a delightful woodsy smell upon entering. The inside is very clean and cozy with plenty of rustic charm. To make things even more interesting, patrons are greeted by plenty of stuffed regional wildlife, i.e. bears, deer, elk, bobcats and more. Should diners wish to eat without all the animals looking, there is additional seating on the large front porch area.
The Bear's Den has become known for using only locally raised, grain-fed, all natural USDA choice beef. That means you won't find anything on the menu pumped up with hormones or antibiotics. How refreshing - as the last thing the Buds need is more hormones for goodness sake!
Having done a little research prior to heading to Cambridge, the Buds were aware that the steaks and burgers were rumored to be tender and flavorful, perhaps the best around. With that in mind we just couldn't get there fast enough!
The lunch menu was loaded with choices of appetizers, soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches. Though we weren't there for the dinner menu, we know it features steak selections based on availability including sirloin, ribeye, Porter House, T-Bone, New York strip and filet. Non-steak options are ribs, grilled chicken and pork chops as well as pasta and seafood selections. Entrees range from about 10 to 21 bucks.
Hungry from the trip, the Buds each started with an appetizer. Bud Shaunna's cup of spicy potato soup was loaded with chunks of potatoes, veggies, and a yummy thick broth with a nice zig. The potatoes were cooked perfectly - still firm but not too hard and definitely not mushy. This was a winner!
Bud Em couldn't resist a small order of corn nuggets, described as sweet corn fritters deep fried to a golden brown and served with melted butter. They had her at melted butter. Both Buds agreed that the crispy nuggets were amazing. The warm melted butter added a salty edge to the sweet corn. A delicious indulgence indeed.
Bud Shaunna was positive she wanted a burger from the get go, however settling on one took much consideration. The Bear's Den offers quite the selection of burgers such as the pizza burger (with marinara sauce and mozzerella cheese), mushroom and Swiss, the Sunnyside burger (American cheese, bacon and a fried egg), the Smokehouse burger (bacon, onion rings, barbecue sauce and cheddar) and the Pablo burger with sauteed jalapenos, onion and pepper jack cheese. Patrons may also choose to say "cluck it" to any burger and substitute chicken breast instead of the beef.
Bud Shaunna finally ordered the Den Melt with a side of coleslaw. Because she is carb-conscious, Bud Shaunna asked for the burger sans bun, and what a great idea, because that bread just would have obstructed the taste of this amazing burger. Covered with a whiskey onion and mushroom saute and melted swiss cheese, the beef patty was thick, juicy and wonderfully flavorful. Bud Shaunna couldn't shovel the bites into her mouth fast enough. This was, quite possibly, the best tasting burger she'd ever eaten. Really! The crisp, zesty coleslaw provided a cool, fresh compliment to the burger, and at only 9 bucks, Bud Shaunna wished she'd ordered an extra burger to take home and eat later.
Bud Em, originally planning to go with the steak salad, made a last minute switcheroo and ordered the Mediterranean Chicken wrap. Stuffed with grilled chicken, roasted tomato, lettuce, kalamata olives, feta cheese and roasted garlic aioli and served with a side of hand-cut fries, the $7 selection was easily enough for two meals - especially after the corn nuggets. And two meals it would become, as half of the large wrap was plenty for lunch. The roasted tomatoes, olives and feta cheese created a tasty medley with the special aioli adding a pleasant zing.
The Buds agreed that The Bear's Den was roadside dining at it's best and can't wait to make a return trip to sample those legendary steaks.
And just maybe one more order of the corn nuggets!
The Buds may be reached at tastebuds@ timesleaderonline.com