Black Bear Diner
14804 NE 24th St
Redmond WA 98052
For Those Who Can Eat a Horse, er.. Bear
By: Steve G
"I'm so hungry I could eat a bear!" That's the mantra you need to have before entering Black Bear Diner. As a new chain that hopes to break into the Seattle market, Black Bear Diner offers good old-fashioned hospitality and ample portions that could make a Claim Jumper regular blush.
As you enter the diner, you can't help but notice the place's love affair with black bears. Describing the decor almost sounds like a children's song with a bear picture here and a bear carving there. Here a bear, there a bear, everywhere a bear bear. There's even a bear merchandise corner where you can get Black Bear products ranging from stuffed animals to fanny packs to "hungry bear" food products. From a design standpoint, we noticed the plentiful wood accents around the restaurant that try to create the illusion of eating inside a cabin while the faux window-framed vistas of the outdoors almost makes you believe you might be in the mountains.
When we were there, the place seemed a little understaffed. Just for our sizeable section alone, there was only one server. As a result, the food took an extra long time to get to our table. We asked for some extra condiments, but they never found their way to us. The burger was the last item to be served, taking about 20-30 minutes to reach our hungry reviewer. By that time, the other two meals had already been finished. We don't necessarily blame the server, since she was juggling about 8-10 crowded tables. But in our opinion, the "old-fashioned hospitality" came up a little short. On the plus side, she gave us an apple cobbler free of charge for the timing mix up.
Despite the staffing issues, Black Bear Diner delivered on most of what promised. The old-fashioned hospitality seemed to be missing, but the extra large portions were abundantly present. If you have a big appetite and love hearty breakfasts, Black Bear Diner might be a spot for you.Steve Says:
The meal was huge. How huge? Three-quarters of a pound of Chicken Fried Steak that is covered in a thick gravy sauce with two large AA eggs, biscuit, and a choice of another side huge. While the meal's portions were impressive, it was still a little bit smaller than the steak at Claim Jumper. While the breading wasn't overly thick, the gravy was so thick and filled with butter that it coagulated to a solid, greasy paste within minutes. The eggs were cooked to order but didn't dominate the entree. The hash browns weren't too impressive, and were certainly not the best part of the dish. The crispy outside seemed somewhat stale and didn't taste too appealing.
For dessert, we tried their popular and addictive Apple Cobbler. We would have eaten more of it, except that we had stuffed ourselves so thoroughly with food that we couldn't finish it. The apples had a very thick glaze that was extremely sweet while the crust was thick and substantial. The ice cream on top was a plain vanilla, but it complimented the rich glaze well. If you have enough space left over in your stomach for dessert, we recommend trying this dish.Bryan Says:
The Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich consisted of chicken breast, sliced ham, grilled mushrooms, and a dejon mustard that was barely perceptible. Topped with what was eventually discovered to be a razor thin slice of Swiss cheese and served on a French roll, the sandwich initially seemed promising but ultimately came up short. While most of the meals at Black Bear are large, this sandwich was a bit disappointing since the service of chicken was on the small side. Sweet and powerfully flavorful, the ham was the best part of the dish with its slightly charbroiled texture. The chicken noodle soup on the side was not particularly noteworthy though it's a decent, healthy alternative to the fries.Grant Says:
The Black Bear Burger is a huge burger that's amazing to behold. The description noted that the burger included a hand made, seasoned grilled patty along with pickles, tomato, lettuce, and grilled onions. What I actually encountered was a mish-mash patty that wasn't put together very well. It felt like it had been doused in oil and featured burnt, meager, little onions on the side. There were also sprinkles of cheese on my plate that were there without reason. All of this said, the burger still tasted ok though plain and monotonous. The meat could certainly have used more seasoning, but it was certainly improved by the toasted bun and thousand island style sauce. There's no denying that this burger is huge, but that's also one of its downsides. Being so massive, the burger's size hindered the enjoyment of the meal as we struggled to squeeze it into my mouth. But don't get me wrong, the burger is decent and a fair value; if you like to eat massive burgers, this item is just for you.