Trying Out the Newly Opened ‘The Cook and The Bear’ in West Hartford
This past weekend The Cook and The Bear finally opened in West Hartford’s Blue Back Center. After trying and completely falling in love with the pop-up restaurant back in early December at Millwright’s in Simsbury, we knew we had to try The Cook and The Bear ASAP. We had high expectations for this place right off the bat, but The Cook and The Bear somehow managed to blow these expectations out of the water.
Cheers to the Chill Atmosphere
Immediately upon entering the restaurant we were surrounded with an incredible smell of barbecue in a warm, rustic, picnic like atmosphere. We quickly made our way to the bar while we waited for our table (it’s first come, first serve so they don’t take reservations).
After looking at the menu filled with witty drink titles (like ‘I’m Ron Burgundy?’ and ‘Doctor’s Orders’) we decided to order The BMW, which is their take on a classic margarita. I mean, when there’s any type of marg on the menu, there’s a good chance that’s what we’re getting. But this one was incredible – the perfect combination of sweet and salty without that gloppy salt or sugar on the rim.
Before even finishing our drinks, we were ready to be seated and were walked over to the best seat in the house; right next to the large windows that looked into the kitchen. The whole atmosphere of this place screams casual, but in the best, most comforting way possible. We truly never wanted to leave.
Checklist Style Menu
Full transparency – it will be near impossible to decide what to try because there are SO many amazing options on the menu.
The checklist style menu is FILLED with choices that you can’t find anywhere else in the area. Choose from ‘bites, salads, from the smoker, sides, wood grilled and desserts’ and send back your choices with the waiter. Each option is reasonably priced from $6-10.50, with the wood grilled options at $24-48.
As an appetizer, you have to try the bacon wrapped dates – stuffed with chorizo on top of spiced yogurt… they’re what dreams are made of. Also, the buttermilk biscuits are out of this world, they come with a sesame-honey butter that get your taste buds amped and ready for the main meal.
For dinner must tries include: the perfectly cooked brisket and the burnt end sliders ‘with the flavors of french onion soup’- they come as two small sliders so it’s a perfect choice for two people.
When it comes to sides, the mac and cheese was some of the best we’ve ever had (and we’ve had our fair share of mac and cheese throughout the years). The roasted carrots with farro and pistachio made for the perfect side, because between the mac and cheese and brisket, it was nice to have something semi-healthy with everything else.
If you still have room for dessert after all of that, (which of course we did) the banana pudding with smoked chocolate is your golden ticket. It was delicious and the perfect ending to an amazing meal.
Thanks The Cook and The Bear.. safe to say we’ve dreamt about those bacon wrapped dates and that creamy mac and cheese almost every single night since we’ve been.
Be back soon.
Location: 50 Memorial Rd. West Hartford, CT
Hours: Mon. – Thurs. 11:30 am – 12 pm, Fri. – Sat. 11:30 am – 1 am, Sun. 10:30 am – 10 pm