Some days we just like to hit up a spot that’s not fussy, but has good beer and solid comfort food eats. Just off Main Street in Ridgefield is a sports bar that totally fits the bill.
Located on Catoonah Street, Tiger’s Den is a hidden sports bar gem. With 16 taps as well as a large selection of craft beer bottles and cans finding a good brew is not difficult.
They have a dedicated tap for Singlecut; and, when we paid them a visit Singlcut’s Jenny Said Double IPA just so happened to be the one on tap … so, of course, we had to have it. By the way, Tiger’s Den also has a pretty solid selection of whiskeys and bourbons.
Owner Joe Attonito explained that they make nearly all of the food in-house and have really tried to kick up the food game since they opened in 2014. From all the things we sampled, I’d say they are on the right track.
The pulled pork fries feature hand cut fries topped with slow roasted pulled pork, BBQ sauce, homemade slaw, creamy cheddar sauce, and crisp onion strings. I loved the texture and sturdiness of the fries to the toppings. It was a cheesy, porky delicious mess.
I don’t often talk about mozzarella sticks. They are typical bar food and usually not that interesting. However, the Tiger’s Den mozzarella sticks are worth mentioning. About twice the size of normal mozzarella sticks, the double-breading gives them an audible crunch when you bite into them that then gives way to a stringy mozzarella.
Of course, at a sports bar, you’ve got to try the wings. We sampled the Maple Bacon, Thai Peanut, and Buffalo – Medium Heat. The wings themselves were meaty and crispy. And the “medium” heat on the buffalo wings was definitely much hotter than I expected for the middle-of-the-road. I love the heat, but I can clearly see why the Atomic wings brought a few blogger friends to tears.
The sweet and salty combination of the Maple Bacon was our hands down favorite. Joe pointed out that they use the real stuff, 100% maple syrup in that wing sauce.
Another staple of a sports bar is a good burger. The burger patties at Tiger’s Den are a combination of brisket, chuck and chop rib. The Texas burger features American cheese, applewood smoked bacon and a fried egg. While the burger was cooked more than we like, well-done as opposed to medium-rare, I still think it’s a solid burger. The creamy, runny yolk enveloped each bite of fatty meat, bacon, and cheese. The roll stood up to the ingredients and did not compress into nothing before the last bite.
What happens if you marry elements of a grilled cheese, a burger, and a Reuben? You would get something like the Tiger’s Den Pelham Road Burger. Between two slices of buttery, crispy sandwich bread is a burger patty surrounded by melty American cheese, a touch of Russian dressing, and slaw. This was a damn fine burger. All the ingredients came together for a crunchy, buttery, meaty, tangy bite.
Hand-cut fries came with the burgers, but we couldn’t resist trying a few of the beer battered onion rings. The batter was incredibly light and fluffy. They were served with a horseradish aioli, which was good, but I wished it had more of that horseradish make-your-nose-run spicy kick.
Joe also gave us an array of tacos – shrimp, pork, beef, and chicken all topped with shredded cheese, iceberg lettuce, and a little pico de gallo on flour tortillas. I am a taco obsessive, so I am definitely a tough critic when it comes to tacos. These were just OK. The toppings covered up rather than enhanced the well-seasoned meat and seafood fillings. Also, I know flour tortillas are better at holding together, but corn tortillas offer an important flavor component that I think is essential to a good taco. My humble suggestion is to switch to corn tortillas and maybe use a more picante pico de gallo. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that they were bad, but I think there’s a little room for improvement.
Yes, even after all that food, we needed a little sweet to cap things off. We sampled a medley of cheesecakes by Auntie Q’s, a local home-based bakery – Bourbon Pecan, Cherry Lemonade, and Maple Bacon chocolate-coated cheesecake pops. The consistency was creamy yet very airy.
So, yes, it’s a sports bar with 12 TVs around the joint, so you can definitely catch the game. Plus, they have a private party room with its own bar, projector, and recliner chairs! On Tuesdays, we found out it just so happens to be DJ Trivia Nite. We decided to form a team – Fearless Foodie. Surprisingly, we didn’t totally stink; not totally, just a little bit. Fun fact: Long John Silver, not just a seafood chain restaurant, also the villain in the book Treasure Island. Tiger’s Den also does karaoke on Wednesday nights and features live music.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. The meal was free of charge. The opinions contained herein are my own and reflect my experience. Your own may differ.
23 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield
Mon-Thurs – 12noon to 1 am
Fri + Sat – 12noon to 2 am
Sun – 11:30 am to 1 am