By the horns
When no one can decide, I drive the herd to a diner or bar and grill. The menu at Bighorn Tavern looked promising, though the cozy space is a bit on the loud side when “the game” is on all of the televisions. I find it near impossible to not order Buffalo wings ($10) when available. These were meaty and crispy—just what I want. We were served both bleu cheese and ranch dressings, and the fiery wing sauce was plentiful and perfect.
A single Scotch egg ($8) was hard-boiled, wrapped in spicy sausage and bread crumbs, deep fried and then served in halves with a spicy horseradish mustard. Overall it wasn't bad, but I prefer a jellied, softer yolk—and mustard that isn't ice cold. We each got a little bite, then doubled-down with deviled eggs ($5.50). Sprinkled with bacon crumbles and paprika, the bacon-jalapeño filling was savory with just a hint of kick. There were plenty to go around.
My grandson's fried chicken strips with an ample side of fruit ($6) looked good, but the meat was completely dry and difficult to chew. He wisely skipped it, ate the fruit and a little bit of everything else on the table.
We didn't detect bayou-inspired flavors on my son's otherwise enjoyable Cajun burger ($15), though the half-pound patty was cooked to order and loaded up with bacon, bleu cheese, red onion, mixed greens, tomato and housemade sweet pickle. A side of onion rings were so heavy with batter, I really couldn't taste the onion. It was the same story with his wife's plate of fish and chips ($14). Once you dug through a doughnut's worth of coating, the fish inside was actually flaky and moist. I found the cocktail and tartar sauces to be too sweet and fairly bland, respectively. The fries were a little overcooked, but definitely fresh-cut and better than something from a bag.
My daughter loved her veggie burger ($13), a sweet potato and quinoa patty topped with provolone and veggies, with fries on the side. Her friend was less impressed with his tri-tip sandwich ($13.50), thick cuts of beef topped with grilled scallion, provolone and chimichurri on a French roll. The meat was chewy and a bit dry, though seasoned well. His choice of steak fries turned out to be huge, immensely satisfying potato wedges and easily the favorite side we sampled.
Knowing she'd be late from work, my younger daughter asked me to order for her. I paired a banh mi ($13) with a side of chili for an extra few bucks, because why not? The Vietnamese hoagie was surprisingly good, with chicken breast, spicy teriyaki, pickled carrot, radish, fresh jalapeño and cilantro. The black bean and hamburger chili was topped with red onion, sour cream and jack cheese. I thought it was a little weak and watery, but she seemed fine with it.
I was once again thwarted on my hunt for a “real” sandwich Cubano ($13.50), though it wasn't a bad sandwich. Just don't call it a Cuban if I can't taste the skimpy ham or mustard—and employing sweet versus dill pickle is not right. The braised pork and melty Swiss cheese were tasty, but the bread was very oily. I let others finish it, focusing instead on a decent Caesar side salad with shaved Parmesan.