I'm sorry to offer this review because my wife and I have enjoyed decent meals at several Black Bear diners in Northern California. However, tonight's meal was so bad that I'm compelled to tell about it.
I ordered the chicken pot pie while my wife asked for the chicken fried steak. We both thought our choices would be very good, based on prior experience at other Black Bear stores. First, the pot pie arrived on a large oval dinner plate but its bowl covered less than a third of the plate's surface. The crust was gummy and tasteless -- I was expecting flaky and flavorful. The gravy was thin, the carrots and peas mushy and the chicken? Well, what little chicken I found was beyond overcooked. Insufficient quantity to call this a meal, the poor quality notwithstanding. The crust rim was sort of glued to the bowl, hard to pull off.
Perhaps we're spoiled by chicken pot pies at Max's in Auburn, Brookfields in Roseville. And there's enough content in those to actually be sold as a dinner. Black Bear's offering was like a bowl of soup before the meal. A bad bowl, at that.
My wife's chicken fried something was not a steak. It was decent size, but after scraping away the crust on a piece of it, the underlying thin layer of over-tenderized meat resembled nothing like a steak. And tasted nothing like beef by any measure. My wife said "no texture." Well, I disagree. This clod of something had a texture like fake meat. Cooked sawdust held together by edible but flavorless glue. Only the gravy had flavor. However, the mashed potatoes were good.
Also good were the salads that almost preceded the entrees. The salads arrived moments before the entree and were the best part of the meal. With two soft drinks, this mess set us back $30.05. Too bad, Black Bear. We eat out a lot. Just not any more with you.
For what it's worth, the service was the best thing about the meal, except for the timing on the salad.
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