Description and review of The Golden Bear, a long-time bar and restaurant located in Midtown Sacramento.
The Golden Bear has been around for a long time – and I had never been there all of these years I have lived in Sacramento. I had heard that, despite it being a bit of a “dive”, the food was good. So, I suggested The Golden Bear when a friend and I met for a mid-week lunch.
The interior of the Golden Bear is not large, but it does have a decent-sized patio out front. Indoor seating is limited to the bar and several high-top tables.
We settled in at one of the high-top tables, but soon questioned whether we would be able to easily hold a conversation. A speaker mounted near the ceiling in the immediate vicinity was playing music – and it was on the loud side. We looked around and realized that if we moved to sit at the bar, where seating was still available, we would encounter the same issue.
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Our very nice waitress was accommodating and turned down the music a bit – but it did not stay that way for long. In hindsight, we should have moved to a table on the patio.
Drink the Beer
We looked over the menu, and my friend asked the waitress what she would recommend. Several suggestions were made. We also made an inquiry about the type and brand name of the two red wines ($8) offered on the menu.
Caught a bit off guard by the inquiry, our waitress returned to our table with two bottles, a zin and a cab, and two glasses so we could do a taste test.
I am not sure if the zin had gone bad – or it was just really bad wine. The cab was drinkable – but barely.
In retrospect, we should have ordered beer. Or better yet, we should have walked half-a-block and had lunch at Tres Hermanas. But we didn’t.
See related post: Tres Hermanas – Sacramento Restaurants
I ordered the Carnitas Tacos (Braised Pork Shoulder, Salsa Roja, Pickled Onion, Avocado) (2/$7.50). My friend ordered the “Juicy Lucy” (1/2 lb. Patty Stuffed with Habanero Jack, Avocado, Peppered Bacon, Dijonaise) ($12) He also had the choice of fries or salad – and ordered the fries.
I liked my two street tacos. They were both piled high with tasty pork and avocado.
My friend’s Juicy Lucy was another story. He had inquired how he might expect his burger to be if he ordered it rare – and had been advised that since the burger was stuffed medium-rare was recommended. That worked for him.
After we were served, my friend literally took his burger apart. The litany of things wrong with his meal was long. The “ordinary, white bun” was not warm, the patty was warm but charred on the outside and very well done on the inside, the fries were not hot, etc. On the bright side, favorable comments were made about the bacon and the avocado.
It was obvious at this point that I had made a major miscalculation. I should never have considered going to lunch with this particular friend someplace new and untried.
As my friend picked up the tab for lunch, I am going to suggest another lunch soon – and treat him to lunch at one of my several “favorite” tried and true Sacramento restaurants.
See related blog post: Annual Sacramento Restaurant Reviews Recap (2017)
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