Every Monday evening in the Tavern at Millwrights Restaurant something special happens, an ingenious marriage of refined and gritty. Fine dining converges with the rustic world of barbecue. When these worlds collide around 5:30pm every Monday, it is called “Cook and The Bear.” Jamie McDonald of Bears Smokehouse and Tyler Anderson of Millwrights Restaurant blend their culinary expertise to bring you fancy high-end BBQ creations. If you know anything abut these two you know that this is as good as it gets. One of Connecticut’s most accomplished chefs cooking alongside the CT BBQ master, could you think of anything better to do on a Monday?
I met a few friends to eat on the day before my birthday. Since it’s in the Tavern there is an extensive cocktail/beer menu. I ordered some starters and ginger beer and got started.
My friend Dave ordered the poutine. This poutine is smothered in foie gravy and was SAVORY. Topped with some pulled pork and cheese curd this was a nice start to the stretching of my stomach that would take place over the next hour. Next were the wings, smoked and dirty, and for five dollars I couldn’t say no. These were very similar to the smoked wings Jamie usually serves at both Bear’s locations. Next to follow was my favorite of the night, and it was an unexpected favorite. The kimchi pancake topped with pulled pork was by far the best tasting and coolest thing on the menu in my opinion this night. The menu has a few changes week to week but from what I hear the mains, the ribs and brisket and such, stay the same.
I love a pork bun, and I love pork belly. These were excellent, and if you like the doughy little rolls they come on you will love these because they are way bigger than any other I’ve had. I needed some greens so I wouldn’t be a total fat shit for the night, for a salad served at a BBQ pop up this was surprisingly awesome, I ate about half and passed it around the bar until it was done. Next were the baby back ribs, just like at Bear’s, they did not disappoint, only thing was I had engaged myself in an important conversation and before I could see it my ravenous friends had made history of them. I was beginning to fade so I figured I needed more greens, I ordered the brussels and was blown away. Served crisp with pistachio dust and a splash of apple cider vinegar, these were perfect. It was time to take a breather.
“Cook and the Bear” offers two dessert selections. This week was a maple pecan chocolate cake and a cinnamon bun. You can see the remnants of the cinnamon bun in the background but it didn’t even make it long enough to get photographed, actually neither of them did, this is the second piece of cake I ordered. I don’t usually like chocolate cake because I find it boring and dry, this was neither and it was a great end to my night.
There ain’t shit happening on Mondays so if you don’t go check these guys out you’re just playing yourself! Both of these gentlemen have HUGE things going on in 2016, DO NOT miss out.
I hereby give Cook and The Bear…
Join me next week as I have something in store you will not want to miss…