Big Bear Launches New Summer Dinner Menu Available Every Evening in Bloomingdale

1st and R St, NW

From an email:

Big Bear Summer Dinner Menu
farm fresh, all house-made, served every night by candlelight

John, our new new chef, has been working tirelessly preparing a new menu with multiple courses and options available every night, and where everything is made in-house (all but the cheese plate!) and with produce from local farms He has been baking bread, preparing creme fraiche and fruit coulis for his house-made desserts, preparing local-farm vegetables, butchering poultry, cleaning fish, stuffing sausage, curing lemons, and washing lots of dishes.

Has anyone stopped by for dinner yet? Big Bear is located at the corner of 1st and R St, NW in Bloomingdale.

Full menu after the jump.


Cauliflower Soup with Onion Salad $6
Shiitake & Cremini Mushrooms with Black Walnut Salad on Green Beans $7
Pee Wee Egg on Kohlrabi & Lamb’s Quarters Greens $8
Roasted Quail with Bull’s Blood Beets & Tops $9


Rockfish with Fennel, Carrot, Tuscan Kale & Grits,
Preserved Lemons $19
English Peas, Baby Squash and Lamb’s Quarters in Green Tomato Sauce with Salad of Small
Mixed Tomatoes, Olives, Barley & Sorrel $13
Roasted Chicken Leg with Basil Mashed PotatoesFava Beans, Spring Onion & Beet Greens $16
Meat Loaf with Black-Eyed Peas, Broccoli,
Snow Peas, Grilled Onions & Roasted Tomato Sauce $16


Basil Mash Potatoes $5
Tomatoes & Basil $5
Grits with Fennel, Carrot & Tuscan Kale $5

One/Two/Three – $6/$9/$12

Mrs. Kirkham’s Tasty Lancashire
(Raw Cow’s Milk)
Beesley Farm, Preston, England
Coolea Gouda
(Pasteurized Cow’s Milk)
Willems’ Family Farm, Cork County, Ireland
Stichelton Blue
(Raw Stilton Style)

All served with Castleton Crackers, Vermont


Chocolate Cake with Fresh Sour Cherries &
Sour Cherry Coulis $6
Gooseberry & Rhubarb Walnut Crumble with
Whipped Cream $6
Buttermilk Cake with Blueberries &
Crème Fraiche $6

35 Comment

  • Unfortunately, of late, Big Bear has been going downhill. I say this with a heavy heart. Hopefully, the launch of their summer dinner menu will bring back the standard of what this neighborhood deserves.

  • This looks super YUM (and thanks for making it so reasonably priced).

    Looking forward to dining by candlelight.

  • It’s all about Pee Wee Eggs these days

  • @Anon 12:05, why do you think it’s going downhill?

    • It’s primarily service with an attitude, which just made everything seem more meh. I admit, it’s a matter of expectation but it was a real gem when it opened and this happens to many places all around DC, that with time and popularity, things slide and get a little sloppy (or should I say comfortable)? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect this as a fine-dining establishment, I take it for what it is – a cozy neighborhood spot, which is great. I like the pricing, too. I’m all for this place and hope it does well. In order to do that, consistency is important, well that is if you’re doing it well in the first place. Look at all the places shuttering across DC (for various reasons of course). I think restaurants/bars/business have an “obligation,” which is to be consistent and not to rise to stardom, then rest on your laurels and fall to mediocre grace. People will notice.

      • I just ate dinner here with a group of people, and the service and food were first rate. In fact, the owner brought out free wild berries as an appetizer and a held open a table inside for us since he thought it may rain on us outside. We were waited on by several people. It was like the royal treatment. And the food was outstanding.

        Sorry your experience wasn’t good, but I was pretty surprised at how good it was, particularly since I used to think of BB as just a coffee shop. Bloomingdale is getting a bunch of new restaurants, and I think BB is situating itself to compete. My only complaint is the really uncomfortable chairs.

        • Bloomingdude,

          I’ve been on these boards long enough to know that you are a cheerleader for the Bloomingdale neighborhood; nothing wrong with that – it is a great neighborhood and I’m all for its success.

          I’m glad that your experience was noteworthy, as I said in my original comment, I’m hoping that the proprietors take note and this sends Big Bear back on the up and up. It seems some others have noted the attitude. This is something that can be addressed and managed, I believe. It has tons of charm and I think any neighborhood would be lucky to have a place like this. I, however, think my point on consistency remains, not just for Big Bear but for DC-area restaurants in general.

          • I’m not disputing your experience at all, just saying that I was just there and had the opposite experience.

            I’m not sure what you mean by cheerleader. No one has complained more than me about pizza in the neighborhood and trash on the streets. I call it like I see it. It just so happens that most of what this blog has discussed regarding Bloomingdale has been positive. If you start a post on drunks in front of minimarts, you won’t hear cheerleading from me.

          • Ano-

            Come by for dinner. You’ll leave with a smile on your face – I promise.

            We’ve all been taking etiquette classes.

          • ledroittiger

            Bloomingdude, I try to complain as much as you do about the pizza places in our neighborhood. But I can’t. You are the undisputed champ. Anyway, thank god we’re getting a few different options in the coming year.

            Oh and I like Big Bear’s food and service, but not just because I live near it. I used to like it when I lived in Logan Circle too, but there were so fewer offerings. I think they’ve really upped their game. Plus, anchoring the farmer’s market and hosting a lot of nice neighborhood events is pretty huge too. They were doing it before anyone else. So cheers.

          • Bloomingdude,

            I know you weren’t disputing my evaluation. I was only responding to your post because your experience was exactly what I was hoping for for Big Bear, to be an opportunity to be a great meal, good service, and so on. That’s why I was calling out your post. As for the cheerleader comment from me, I’d agree that you call it like you see it. When I say cheerlead, I mean that you are optimistic and ever encouraging about business and development inching eastward (meaning of Logan Circle). And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s all I meant when I said you cheerlead. Look, a lot of people, I would guess, on this blog are from the Petworth/CoHi area/neighborhood and you hear a lot of “cheerleading” from the majority of posters who are most probably from these areas. Again, nothing wrong with that. Everybody likes to see development come (well, for the most part) to their neighborhood and not only for investment reasons but who the heck doesn’t want to have the next great grocery store/big box/unique boutique with hot hippos/pizza joint/ultra hip bar-restaurant, hardwards store, and so on. Optimism be broad.

          • Thanks, Stu, looking forward to checking out the dinner menu at Big Bear (and leaving with a smile on my face)!

          • figby

            I work in the nabe and go to Big Bear pretty often. I have definitely noticed the attitude — unfriendly, sort of grudging, and I actually buy stuff here and don’t just park it with a laptop like many others.

            Worse, their organic wine — while amazingly delicious — is way overpriced (which is fine, we’re in DC) but their pours are so stingy — four sips to a glass. It’s like a driblet of wine. Then they grudgingly pour another.

  • I’m digging those sides (and the cheeses, of course!) but, man….can they hook a vegetarian up with a non-meat option on the Mains menu? Just *one*? Pretty please?

    • Yes!!! x 1M. Please please please some more veggie options – there are a bunch of us in the ‘hood, just check out the bumper stickers :).

      • Bravo for BB for trying to step up their game. I have lived in the neighborhood for almost 2 years, and although I think it is a wonderfully charming place (aesthetically) little spot, I too have been super turned off by the service. It is so, well, “sceney.” Perhaps this is something that the hiring process should try to address. Maybe some diversity? I would give this place a lot of business, well even more if you carried almond milk, although I do greatly appreciate ya’ll not charging extra for soy. I mean really, soy can last refrigerated for what, 3 times longer than dairy milk? Anyway, yea I walk by daily and never pop in, I hope to change that soon.

    • seeeeeeeeeeeeeriously.

    • jburka

      uh, what was wrong with this entry under Mains: “English Peas, Baby Squash and Lamb’s Quarters in Green Tomato Sauce with Salad of Small
      Mixed Tomatoes, Olives, Barley & Sorrel $13”?

      I thought it sounded pretty decent.

      • Jburka, thank you for prompting me to Google “lamb’s quarters” (which had thrown me off and inspired my original plea for a veg dish)…I now know that lamb’s quarters is a type of green/weed. (And I thought I was up on my greens…) Neat!

        So I hereby revise my criticism to say that the veggie option sounds great and I look forward to tasting it ASAP!

      • Unless “lamb’s quarters” is some kind of heirloom artisanal vegetable I’ve never heard of, I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s meat from a baby sheep.

    • John’s focus is on the vegetables. Every meal is basically a vegetable based meal – some with fish, chicken, or beef, pork, or lamb.

      The sides are all vegan since he does not cook with butter. You can compose a vegetarian meal with a combination of the sides alone.

      The menu changes over time as well as it gets later in the season, and as the available produce changes.

      He’s a great cook.

      • That’s great to hear about the veg-friendliness! Unlike most of the other commenters (at least, from what it looks like), I don’t live I’m Bloomingdale, but now I’m looking forward to exploring a new neighborhood & taking in some delicious food!

        And rest assured, neighborhood residents, I’ll likely never be able to afford to buy anything in DC in this lifetime, so I come to explore in peace…no flipping & no gentrifying, I promise! 😉

  • The menu looks promising. Perhaps someone should clue Big Bear in that a fine-dining experience usually includes good service, not attitude from the staff, though?

    • greenroofgoddess

      We no longer can stand to get coffee when we go to the farmers’ market on Sunday. I can deal with the line. I can’t deal with the attitude. Which is too bad, since Stuart is such a great and laid back guy who has really helped develop the community feel of Bloomington.

  • Over the years since Big Bear opened I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in attitude. Mostly since they got rid of that dude that always looked like he woke up from a bender in his neighbors’ bushes and immediately just came to work without combing his hair or changing clothes. Eventually I figured out that it was probably a hangover more than an attitude that was the problem, but still.


    • No need to scream–but glad you are passionate about what i do… Same style I’ve been doing for years… Fresh veggies as a focus… But never the same… Difference & Repetition brother…

  • I was really bummed when I read that their Sunday night dinners were ending, because I hadn’t made it to one yet! But now I am excited for another chance to have dinner here. And thanks to those who wrote that lamb’s quarters were greens. I totally thought it was lamb bum…haha!

    • I love BB, but they do need to make some fixes. Primarily, get a manager who can direct staff so that it doesn’t take 20 minutes to get a bagel out – at 8:00 am!

      Even so, the food is delisssh! And the new menu looks great. They should add some pies from Whisked so I don’t have to wait ’til Sunday for my fix.

  • Excite! And as a regular (and *gasp* laptop parker *gasp*), I’ve always enjoyed great and reasonably quick service at Big Bear.

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