[Eat it]: The Den's B-Sides
Kind of like Magellan except only focused on exploring the nether-reaches of The Den's menu. This expedition we discover "Eggs Norway".
Eat It is a regular feature that cuts to the core of a given restaurant's menu, highlighting a specialty, favorite, or otherwise good thing to eat.
Although its a universally agreed upon and indisputable scientific fact that the best restaurant in Beijing is the Burger King at the departures zone at the Beijing South Train Station (yes, it's true), there are several other fine, fine, fine establishments in heated competition for second best. To wit: The Den.
The Den is a great place to hang out in at 7pm, 2am, 6am, 10pm, 11:45am, 9:12pm, 3:33am, 4:58pm, and any other time because they never ever close and they've got some great food suitable to any occasion and all degrees of inebriation. Even sobriety! It's a wonderful crowd -- lots of totally not sketchy people -- just awesome-looking off-duty Lufthansa pilots, awesome-looking hammered people who like sports, awesome-looking Chinese couples enjoying the date of a lifetime, and awesome-looking businessmen who look like they just crushed awesome business deals.
The menu at The Den is expansive and exhaustive, chocked full of varied western and eastern delights, like as if someone yanked the menu at the "western cafe" at the Wuhan airport and injected it with steroids and good ideas. You've got your burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, all-day breakies, bunch of Asiatic stuff, and more, more, more.
Along with their staple burgers and the like, the menu is also full of wonderful nooks and crannies -- full of stuff I can't imagine anyone ever ordering.
For example, this is the "mocktails" section. WTF.
"Oh, sweet, they have my drink. So hard to find a good 'SnookieBrookie' In Beijing..."
Every now and then I like to go off-road dinning at The Den, ordering down random, esoteric, arcane, and the presumably totally unloved items on the menu. It's culinary bushwhacking. Here some how to rock The Den's B-Sides:
Start with a daiquiri. No one orders the damn daiquiris because they have normal drinks like beer and such. Show some love to that daiquiris section. Out of the few that I tried this is my favorite.
The Golden Cadillac is smooth, refreshing, sweet, delicious, refreshing, and refreshing, and a real good milky base for what you're about to do to your stomach. I would call it a good aperitif but I only sort of know what that word means. Another option that works to start is the "Son of a Peach" because it's all that plus it's a pun.
Anyways. Time to get serious. For appetizers get down on the...
Yes, that's right. It's a pile of meat on a plate. All different meats. The whole farm. Every farm animal on a plate. Noah's ark on a plate. Boom! And some drizzle chocolate or whatever on the side. Look you're in Paris!
But yeah, it's one of each -- a piece of bacon, one sausage, a prawn, and so on. Pretty absurd. Tastes real meaty. Yeah, I said it tastes a helluva lot like meat.
But the "Mixed Grilled" is a real great segue into the main course...
Check it out, just like your Norwegian mum used to make. What we've got here is two eggs, lovingly poached, situated atop traditional old-style Norwegian smoked salmon, bathed in a thick and creamy Hollandaise sauce, rounded out with home-fried potatoes to taste. When I pointed to this bad-boy on the menu for the waitress, she looked at it for full 30 seconds pondering it's very existence like as if I'd ordered BBQ'ed free will.
But exist it does. Free will, I don't know, but Eggs Norway does. Here's an extreme close-up:
Can't you see the deliciousness pouring out of this thing? At this point in the meal, you might have to start slamming your fist into your chest to tell your heart to stop being such a damn baby. Not going to lie to you, it get's pretty real. And you're not even done yet. Time for dessert.
"The DEN Special"
How daunting is that menu item? I'm here to tell you that the ellipse after the word "special" on the menu doesn't end at the right hand side of the page, it goes on forever and ever into the cosmos. It's goes on into eternity...
...But the actual menu item is a banana split with the banana replaced with mixed fruit and two Poky sticks to taste. Pretty standard. But yes, it's pretty special too.
Damage for our tour around the Galapagos Islands of The Den's menu was around 350rmb or so -- had several "Woo Woo" cocktails to slam it all down in our stomach after -- but I think the discoveries made here will come to influence a generation of blah, blah, blah, something, something, something. You know what I mean.
And next time we'll be back to explore the ring of fire! (Metaphorically speaking... I mean on the menu.)
The Den is at 4 Gongti Donglu, next to City Hotel. Across from Hooters (*ahem*). Opening hours: infinity o'clock to infinity o'clock.