The Hungry Bear is one of those hidden gems that you probably never heard of unless you're a local. I recently found out about the Hungry Bear through a friend who used to eat here as a kid. After we (my sister, my cousin, and I) wandered through an old plaza, we found the Hungry Bear tucked away in a corner.
The moment we walked in, we felt a bit out of place. We were the only Asians the restaurant, which is odd in Fullerton as it has a large Asian population. The decor is very homey and welcoming with earthy greens and teddy bears strewn all about the place. After a short wait, we were seated by our very happy waitress. She made sure to point out the specials.
On Mondays, four of the specials and their Specialty Steak are half off. Their prices are already low to begin with, but we'll talk about price later. I decided to go with one of my all time favorites, country fried steak, my cousin opted to try their Specialty Steak, and my sister got the bacon wrapped filets.
I got started off with a salad. It was nothing special, just a typical salad with dressing. My cousin got the same.
My sister had the cheese and potato soup, which was pretty much cheese and potato. How can that be bad, right? Well, it wasn't. It was delicious. The best way to describe it is as a super thick cheese sauce with chunks of potato.
My cousin's Specialty Steak (sirloin) wasn't quite medium rare, which he ordered. He decided it would be fine to just eat it (it was still great, I tried some), but the waitress insisted that it be the way he asked for it and took it back. They brought another one out within a few minutes. Talk about great service! The second time it was cooked perfectly and tasted even better than it did the first time. The meat was tender, juicy, and flavorful, just like a good steak should be.
My sister's bacon wrapped filets were to die for. The two tender filets were wrapped in bacon and cooked medium. Even without getting a piece of bacon in your bite, you can taste the smokey bacon flavor. With a piece of bacon, its simply amazing.
My country fried steak was a bit different than I'm used to. A typical country fried steak is made with tenderized cube steak, which almost has the texture of ground beef. However, the Hungry Bear makes their country fried steak with a piece of sirloin that's been pounded out. This way, it still has the texture of a steak, but is tender like a more typical country fried steak. The breading is very light and crispy, just the way I like it. Finally, the gravy is light and peppery. It's not like glue, which I've experienced too many times. The gravy complements the steak and doesn't just fill you up. This is a top notch country fried steak.
Each entree comes with a big piece of garlic bread and your choice of potato. We also got a side order of macaroni and cheese. None of the sides were out of this world, but the garlic bread and my mashed potatoes (with the same great gravy on my steak) were still delicious. The macaroni and cheese on the other hand was rather disappointing. It was just boxed mac and cheese.
After all that food, we decided that we needed to get some dessert. We got peach cobbler and apple pie. Each comes topped with a heaping scoop of French vanilla ice cream and a generous amount of whipped cream. The peach cobbler has a bread-like crust on top, which isn't crispy like I'm used to. I liked the apple pie better, but then again, I have a soft spot for pies. The ice cream leant a good amount of sweetness and provides a nice contrast to the hot dessert. The desserts themselves weren't too sweet, which I like.
The best part of the meal was when we got the check. We got all that food (and drinks) for less than $50 and we could barely move. Now that's a steal. Still, I wouldn't mind eating here any other day, even without the half off prices. Everything about the Hungry Bear makes it stand out; the quality of the food, price, and service are excellent. So please, check out the Hungry Bear for yourself!
The Hungry Bear Restaurant 2219 N Harbor Blvd Fullerton, CA 92835 (714) 526-2711 www.thehungrybear.com