16 March 2010

Review: Bulls & Bears in Hagerstown, MD

Meal: Valentine's Day Dinner
Atmosphere: Casual
Service: Polite
Prices: Higher Than They Should Be
Food: Lacking

Bulls & Bears is located at 38 South Potomac Street in Hagerstown, MD. The restaurant can best be described as upscale pub. Upon entering the establishment, there's a hostess station. There's a large main dining room, some seating outside of the main restaurant (but still inside the building), and a moderate-sized bar.

The overall atmosphere of Bulls & Bears is casual. Wood floors and the open space create a really pleasant dining room. Everything seemed neat and clean.

Unfortunately, my experience at Bulls & Bears wasn't the best. We had made reservations for a Valentine's Day dinner about a week prior to February 14th. Dining Companion (DC) and I planned to have a very light meal and a few drinks.

We were seated by a very pleasant hostess. Our server arrived at the table quickly and offered us drinks. DC ordered a mixed cocktail ($5.66) and I had a glass of house wine ($4.71). When we asked to see menus, we were dismayed to discover that Bulls & Bears was offering only one dining choice for the evening: the seafood buffet ($28.95). Had we known this was the case—and we both felt we should have been informed when we made our dinner reservations the week before—we would have chosen to eat elsewhere. At this point, however, we felt “stuck” with our choice, since every other restaurant in town was likely to require a long wait on Valentine's Day weekend.

As a result, DC and I enjoyed a few drinks and then nibbled from the seafood buffet. We certainly didn't get a $28.95 value from our meal. Indeed, the food on the buffet was mediocre at best. By the time we went up to get a plate of food, there were no steamed crab legs. The crab balls were average in taste and texture. The fried shrimp, too, were average and contained too much breading. The assorted vegetables were nicely prepared, but lacked any real fresh taste or flavor. The chocolate fountain was impressive in appearance but the accompanying fruit did not look appealing.

The service throughout the meal was pleasant and efficient. Our drinks were regularly refreshed. We did find it interesting, however, that our server did not comment on the lack of food we consumed. For the price of $28.95 each, DC and I each consumed an appetizer portion of food.

The restroom in Bulls & Bears is clean, spacious and nicely decorated. It was fully stocked and generally quite a nice restroom.

My verdict: We were hugely disappointed by our Valentine's Day experience at Bulls & Bears. The staff should have informed us that a seafood buffet was our only option when we made our reservation. And, even if we had wanted such a meal, we found the food to be lacking in taste, presentation and selection.

Tastefully Yours,

Ms. Dish

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