Note: The chef has changed since I wrote this review, and I have not had a chance to try it again!
There's a new bar in the area, and I'm happy to report that it isn't just more of the same. Tigers' Den, located in the space that used to house Sagi, a popular Italian restaurant in Ridgefield, is part sports bar and part cozy pub. When I first heard that Tigers' Den was coming to town, I had serious doubts. Ridgefield not only has many restaurants, but several of them already fall under the sports bar/pub/casual dinner category. There's 50 Coins, Bareburger, The Hideaway, The Little Pub; that's a lot of competition!
Tigers' Den, however, has 12 TVs, which means it's much more of a true "sports bar" than anywhere else in town. They have fun specials every night of the week, from "Moonshine Mondays" and "Wine Wednesdays," to trivia on Tuesdays, Sunday Brunch, and regular tap takeovers, which sets them apart again. And as far as food is concerned, they are serving high quality bar food that's more affordable than the competition.
After meeting Joe Attonito, owner of Tigers' Den, it's clear that the new kid on the block is a real contender in Ridgefield's restaurant scene, and I think my original doubts are unfounded. Joe is passionate about his business, truly invested in what he is doing, and really cares about being part of the town.
Last week I was treated to a delicious sampling of Head Chef David Fierstein's creations, and was not disappointed! When the restaurant first opened, there were some hiccups in the kitchen, but now that David has joined the team, things have truly turned around; David is an experienced chef who was formerly in the kitchen at Ridgefield's Bissell House.
First, I sampled their blackened ribeye sandwich (normally a full size dish, but I tried them as sliders) with american cheese, caramelized onions, and garlic aioli. Great flavor here, with the smoky meat perfectly complimented by meltingly sweet onions.
Next, ribs slathered in house made BBQ sauce. Usually I'm not a rib eater (at least not in public), as there's just no way to eat them without making a giant mess of myself, but I tossed self-consciousness aside and happily devoured them. They fell right off the bone, and were served with a tangy cole slaw made with dijon mustard.
It's a good thing I didn't make any diet related resolutions this year, because the next dish, house made mozzarella sticks, would have immediately derailed any attempts at avoiding fat. These delicious sticks are worth the calories, I must say. They are head and shoulders above any I've had in the area, as they are made from fresh mozzarella rather than dumped frozen out of a bag and into the fryer.
I was particularly excited to try their mac and cheese, which they've claimed is truly top notch. I've eaten a lot of mac and cheese in my day, and I must say, theirs is indeed excellent. The cheese is creamy and not greasy, and clings to the pasta nicely.
My favorite dish was the Philadelphia Crab Fries. They look messy, and they sound a little odd, but they were absolutely delicious. A mountain of great fries topped in a cheesy sauce studded with generous chunks of crab meat. This dish brought to mind the "crabby snacks" mentioned so many times in the movie Silver Linings Playbook.
If you're looking for something on the healthier side, never fear. There are plenty of choices, including a light but satisfying spinach salad dressed with their special cranberry black pepper vinaigrette and tossed with dried cranberries, candied walnuts, and gorgonzola.
Sports fan or not, I recommend Tigers' Den. It's not too rowdy, they have great beers on tap, a personable and caring owner, and a great chef in the kitchen.
Tigers' Den is located at 23 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield CT