It’s amazing what sticks out in my mind. While I was planning my trip to Boston, I was doing the usual bit of research when I remembered a Food Network segment on a Cambridge pub named Grendel’s Den. I don’t recall the pub being anything special, I think it stuck with me because of the name. Regardless of its origins, nearly six years after seeing it on TV, I was going to make sure and pay Grendel’s Den a visit before I left Boston.
Taking a seat outside, you couldn’t have asked for a better fall day. 60 degrees, sunny, the leaves had begun to change, and there was even a pretty decent guitarist playing in the small, adjacent park. However, disappointment soon reared its ugly head as I found out that Grendel’s Den was out of Cambridge Ale and their season special appetizer, Bavarian pretzels, was mysterious unavailable. No matter, an order of sambal chicken skewers would work just fine.
Consisting of few huge strips of white meat, I’ve never had an order of grilled chicken this juicy and well cooked.
Flavor wise, it tasted a lot like buffalo sauce with a touch of lime and Asian flavor. As for the side of ranch and celery, the chicken was damn good with the ranch but it only served to reinforce the idea of buffalo sauce. I only wish that all buffalo wings would be this juicy.
I expected the same oversized but well cooked portions would carry over to my Alpine Burger entrée, but that was not the case.
That’s a pretty poor patty to bun ratio.
When it comes to burgers, looks are not always the most important part of the equation but biting into the Alpine burger, every other component fell flat as well. This burger was little more than two odd patties with no discernible taste. There was no seasoning, no beefy flavor, and they were cooked to death. This wasn’t even worth eating.
Six years and how did it end? Well, outside of some pretty good chicken skewers, pretty poorly. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting from Grendel’s Den, but the results were not inspiring. From the looks of other sites, the spinach pie was the thing to order, but that’s a mistake I’ll just have to live with. However the story did not end here. Having barely touched my burger, I decided to look up another Cambridge institution, Bartley’s Burger Cottage, but that will come later.