I have been to Bears Den once about 7, 8 years ago. While I don’t remember what I ate there back then, and I wasn’t much of a foodie at the time, I do remember liking the food and thought it was a really nice place. Why I waited until now to return is beyond me, but as hubby and I were celebrating a special occasion – our five year wedding anniversary, I wanted a special place that I know will be perfect to celebrate.
The restaurant is located just a few minutes outside of Calgary located in the Rocky View area. We love the artsy decorations and wooden walls in the dining rooms. It would be a very nice and classy place to have your wedding reception! There’s another side to the restaurant which looked like the lounge area. That same evening there was a banquet of some sort going on but service was not compromised at all.
Here’s what we tried tonight:
Bread and Butter/Dip
Housemade bread with butter and oil dip. For some reason we were not treated to an amuse bouche but another table was. The table next to ours didn’t receive one either so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Scallops – $16
Wrapped in prosciutto with caper & raisin salsa
Nicely seared scallops, with a slight opaque center. I only tasted the scallop so I can’t comment on the other components of the dish but the table beside us ordered it as well and hmmmm’d and ahhhhh’d over it.
Mushroom Duo – $10
As I love mushrooms I was immediately drawn to this appetizer!
Chanterelle mushroom consomme
A very light soup with intense mushroom flavors. I enjoyed the bits of Chanterelle mushroom floating in the consomme.
Chanterelle fritto & citrus aioli
Mushroom fritters? And served with aioli? It’s like they knew I was coming this week and prepared it just for me! The lightly fried fritters were perfectly crispy with great textures – it does not have that mushiness when you overcook mushrooms. Decorated with a few strands of enoki mushrooms and pea shoots, all resting on a smear of sauces. I really enjoyed this and could easily eat a few more servings of it!
Sable Fish – $36
Steamed sable fish in a saffron broth with parmesan potato cannelloni & swiss chard
This was hubby’s entree. He said he wanted something lighter so fish was a perfect choice. I only tried a piece of the sablefish and it was buttery smooth and seasoned very well. Hubby definitely enjoyed this.
Duck Breast – $36
Pan roasted duck breast, Saskatoon berry buerre rouge, potato puree
This was my entree. The duck breast was cooked perfectly to about a medium, medium rare. The red butter sauce, infused with a generous amounts of Saskatoon berries provided a nice sweetness to the savoury game bird. The market vegetables that day (yellow bell pepper, asparagus, broccolini, golden beet, heirloom carrots) still retained its natural crunch. The only thing I didn’t enjoy on the plate was the potato puree – it didn’t have the smooth, creaminess that I associate purees to, and it didn’t have much flavor to it. I left most of it untouched.
Honey Glazed Beets – $8
As I love beets, I tend to order it every chance I get. Nothing wrong with adding a veggie side, right? The beets were very sweet and tender – I could barely taste the honey glaze on it.
Chocolate and Caramel – $10
Chocolate mousse, flour-less chocolate cake
This was my dessert. I wasn’t sure what I wanted and this was the only thing that appealed to me on the dessert menu, but it definitely didn’t disappoint. Even though everything was made with chocolate, nothing was heavy at all. The mousse and the cake were very light and airy, so pretty easy to eat even on a full belly. The caramel was also quite light and complemented the chocolate components quite nicely.
Caramel Corn – $10
Sweet caramel corn cake, granny smith ice, caramel
This was hubby’s dessert and I’ve definitely never had anything like this before. I cannot, for the life of me, remember what the white, fluffy mixture was. It was definitely tasty to eat with the corn cake and the caramel sauce! The popcorn were sweet and fluffy, and I think the julienne strips of the apples acted as a palate cleanser, along with the ice. It just felt so refreshing to eat this – didn’t even feel like we were eating a dessert at all.
Caramel – complimentary
Sticky, soft, chewy caramel topped with toasted coconut flakes. The taste reminds me of almond roca.
Service, as expected, was professional and attentive – there were a couple of minor kinks but it didn’t affect our overall experience. Dinner service also went by very quickly as food came out really fast. Prices are comparable to other fine dining restaurants, and although the portions are dainty the taste is definitely there. Our waitress told us that everything in the kitchen is made from scratch with the exception of the sorbets. Again, another restaurant that is in the direction of making everything from scratch, which is very nice to see. The only thing I was disappointed about is they didn’t update their current menu on the website so the things I wanted to try were no longer available. Despite of the recent negative reviews on Urbanspoon, I think Bear’s Den is a good choice to celebrate special occasions.