Tiger’s Den Sports Bar & Grill (Ridgefield) – Disappointing First Visit

Tiger Burger 3There has been a fair amount of chatter on-line for Tiger’s Den Sports Bar & Grill in Ridgefield so I decided to see if all of the fuss was justified. Located AT 25 Catoonah Street, the restaurant itself occupies a stand-alone building in the rear of the property with a separate parking lot and entrance. The interior is pure sports bar with seating for fifty at tables and a long front to rear bar with stools. There are six TVs and sports memorabilia adorning all of the walls and 30 beers and mixed drinks occupy a lengthy beverage menu.

Tiger Interior 2I arrived mid-day, grabbed a seat in front of the TVs to view three different sporting events and ordered a bacon cheeseburger medium-rare with fries.

Tiger Interior 1When it arrived I followed my normal practice and cut it in half. As soon as the knife entered the meat I knew the bad news…it was cooked beyond well-done, hard on the exterior and gray throughout. I sampled one of the fries and it was inundated with salt, not edible. I asked the server for a re-do and he was quick to remove the burger, embarrassed after seeing the burger’s interior. While I waited, the staff was apologetic and asked if I wanted a salad while I waited. They were incredibly customer focused during the entire meal. They were the highlight of the visit.

Tiger Burger 2Burger #2 arrived with a new batch of fries. The edges of the burger were very crispy and when I cut the patty in half the middle was borderline raw while the edges were well done, but I was not going to return a second badly cooked burger. Surprisingly the meat was very tasty and offered a nice level of smokiness. It was topped with two slices of bacon, which were very good and the melted American cheese gave a nice level of creaminess. The brioche bun delivered a descent buttery flavor. Unfortunately like the original fries, the kitchen was careless with the salt, some bites were without any seasoning and other bites were over-salted. It was next to impossible to finish the burger. The fries were scalding hot and again they were over-salted and they were not fully cooked on the interior.

Tiger Burger 1Overall it was a very disappointing visit to Tiger’s, not for the ingredients in their burger, which were very good, but with the lack of focus from the kitchen in its preparation.

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Bareburger (Ridgefield) – Cool Space; Not My Favorite Burger

BL 1My colleagues at http://www.ctbites.com did an opening piece on Bareburger so it was my turn to head over and give it a try. Bareburger offers organic cuisine in a very rustic and comfortable environment. Choose from one of approximately 50 table seats or opt to sit at the bar with 5 others. The interior includes reclaimed wood and brick walls, a reclaimed metal ceiling, and metal and wood chairs, all lit by soft lights from the ceiling.

There are several beers on tap including Purple Haze, Allagash White, Two Roads, Half Full, Ommegang, Victoria Prima, Lagunitas and Brooklyn Lager. Numerous organic sodas and Kelvin Natural Slush drinks are available as a non-alcoholic option. Each table has ketchup and mustard served in cuddly bear plastic containers plus individual salt and pepper mills.

The menu includes pre-determined combinations of burgers or design your own from a large selection of meats, toppings and buns. In addition to tradition beef and turkey, you can choose lamb, wild boar, elk, bison and ostrich. Each of these meats carry a surcharge. In addition, the menu includes a few non-burger choices and on Sundays, Bareburger serves brunch with a variety of egg plates and sandwiches.

BL 2For my initial visit I ordered a beef hamburger (medium-rare) on a brioche with fried onions, cheddar cheese and Applewood smoked bacon. I was surprised that French fries were not included so I asked for a small order, plus a diet root beer.

When the platter arrived I first sampled the fries and they were delicious, crispy on the exterior and moist on the interior. I noticed that they were without any salt, so I added a touch. These were excellent fries. I took a few sips of the root beer, it had great flavor but a little on the sweet side.

BL 3I next cut the burger in half. It was cooked perfectly, a good pink interior. I sampled the meat. My first impression was that it was bland and under-seasoned and had a spongy texture. The bacon was very thick, too thick and it had very little smokiness and very little saltiness. The Cheddar cheese was melted well but was also very bland. The few fried onions also contained no seasoning. The bun lacked the buttery goodness I anticipated and was very crumbly. Overall, the burger was very disappointing. Everything was bland and completely under-seasoned.

When the bill arrived, I knew that my combination would add up but when I saw $17.25 for my bacon-cheeseburger and fries I almost felt offended. Add the soda and a tip and my tab for a burger lunch was over $25…a family of four at Bareburger for burgers and fries could cost upwards of $100. I understand everything was organic, and others may think this is a reasonable price, but I thought it was very expensive.

Bareburger on Urbanspoon

850 Wood Fired Pizza (Ridgefield – Needs Works

BL 850 1850 Wood Fired Pizza is located down the alley to the right of Fifty Coins in downtown Ridgefield. The interior is very well done with eight wooden booths and four high top tables in the first room and an equal number of seats in the rear room. There are several TVs on the wall, giving the space a pubby, sports bar feel. They did a very good job on decorating. There are also some tables on the front terrace that would be a good location in much warmer weather. There is an interesting array of condiments on the table. In addition to the normal salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and grated cheese, 850 also serves Tabasco sauce.

There are four styles of pizza, Wood Fired Red, Wood Fired White, Traditional Oven and Ultra Thin Bar Style. Salads and a few pastas are also available. I ordered a Wood Fired Red Margherita with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and olive oil. This pie needs a lot of work. The crust, although thin, was a cracker crust, not Neapolitan (as stated on the web site) in any sense, ultra-crispy and unpliable and very bland. The tomato sauce, on the other hand was overwhelming in flavor. It was more a peppery tomato paste than a pizza sauce. There was some cheese that melted into the background on taste and a few leaves of basil. I did not like the pizza at all.

BL 850 2

The staff is very young and needs a lot of training. When I asked what the difference was between the “fresh Mozzarella” and the “Mozzarella Cheese” (as stated on the menu) I drew a blank stare. When I paid my $12.50 bill with a twenty-dollar bill she asked if I wanted change.

Overall, with a lot of other choices in the area, I think I’ll take a pass on returning until some significant changes occur.

850 Degrees Wood Fired Pizza on Urbanspoon

Little Pub (Ridgefield) – Tasteless Burger

Little PubThe place was hoppin’ when I arrived for my medium rare bacon-cheeseburger with sweet potato fries. I sat in the protected outdoor area and watched other guests seemingly enjoy their lunches. The restaurant was very understaffed and I felt bad for the servers who were running around, but each maintained an incredibly pleasant attitude under some pretty difficult conditions. Management should be ashamed.

The burger arrived, and I cut it in half. The interior was a little overcooked, probably more medium but was oozing juice. After one bite I knew looks were deceiving. The meat was juicy, but that is where the good news ends. There was no char, no flavor, no seasoning, nothing to separate from a basic diner slap on the flattop burger. The two slices of bacon were thick but overcooked and again flavorless, and the cheese was basic store bought American. The burger was served in a grilled Kaiser roll and again, no flavor, bland. And Little Pub is consistent. The sweet potato fries were crispy, but without flavor or seasoning.

Overall, there is nothing in this experience that is causing me to return.

Little Pub on Urbanspoon