The Sampler
at the Cozy Cabin Cafe

The Restaurant Sampler

Nothing quite so thrills the heart of the professional diner than the opening of a new eating venue.

And so it was with great anticipation that I accepted the assignment to apply my analytical skills and well-practiced palette to the Cozy Cabin Café, located in beautiful downtown Gnawbone at 4359 State Road 46 East next to Big River Tackle and Timber.

One simple rule you learn in the professional dining game—where the crowds are, the food is good.

So I was particularly pleased to find the parking lot packed at the Cozy Cabin, and even more pleased when I realized that, as usual, my timing was impeccable. Just as we arrived, an entire wave of diners was pulling up stakes, and we were apparently on the leading edge of the second Friday night wave of hungry seekers.

To provide alternate points of view and brief moments of conversational comic relief, I brought along my nephew, who was in town for a week from the Golden State. This made it possible to also bring along my soon-to-be step-granddaughter, and the one so significant to us both, my kitchen companion.

The kids were showing all the signs of blushing teenage attraction, a development that seemed to disturb me more than my companion.

“Oh, aren’t they a cute couple?” she inquired.

“This can’t end well for me,” I muttered beneath my breath….”

We started things off with the appetizer sampler, which includes two potato skins, two chicken strips, two jalapeno poppers, two cheese sticks, and four potato balls.

Also on the “First of All” section of the menu: breaded mushrooms, hot wings, “ultimate” nachos, and taquitos.

I never did find out what “taquitos” were, but, otherwise, the sampler hit the spot and kept the wolf of hunger at bay while our dinners were prepared.

The nephew grows about two inches per month. He’s up to 6’4” now, and requires a constant stream of protein. I was not surprised when he ordered the 10-ounce Ribeye steak with mashed potatoes and green beans.

His erstwhile date, a charming young woman of 17 who has never been seen eating more than six bites of food in any one 24-hour period, had the grilled chicken breast dinner, which appeared to be plump and juicy.

Upon due deliberation, I settled upon the Alaskan white fish dinner with fries, hush puppies, and cole slaw.

My companion, astutely chose a special offering, a half-slab of barbecued ribs. Even more astutely, I corrected her order to a FULL slab of ribs, thus getting one step ahead in helping myself to whatever was on her plate

I sipped my iced tea while the kids made small talk. My companion and I observed with amusement.

The Alaskan white Pollack was fresh and deep fried, light, tender, and very tasty.

I should say that the other proffered special of the evening was a pulled-pork barbecue sandwich with fries and cole slaw, which apparently had been cleaned out by the first rush crowd, so I assume it must’ve been good.

My date’s dinner order arrived—a huge plate of meaty, sliding-off-the-bone, ribs, perfectly sauced and steaming hot. They were delicious, delightful, and definitely delectable.

I offered my companion some fish in exchange, but she demurred.

The Cozy Cabin’s menu offers many other tatsy dinners, including a Roast beef Manhattan, Chicken parmesan with a spaghetti side, and pork chops smothered with mushrooms and Montery jack cheese. In addition to the fried fish, the menu also features shrimp, clam, or salmon patty dinners.

I prodded the youngsters for significant input, intimating to them their role as assistant restaurant reviewers, but the only output I could get—between forkfuls of food and blushing young goo-goo eyes—was “great!” and “it’s good!” Hardly the stuff of which top-shelf food criticism is composed.

The Cozy Cabin also features a full sandwich menu, including a Reuben, Philly cheesesteak, a Texas barbecue burger, and a German Tenderloin piled high with—you guessed it—sauerkraut.

Also available: soups including homemade vegetable beef, chilli, French onion, or loaded potato; and a fine selection of salads.

The Cozy Cabn Café also is open for breakfast at 8:00 a.m. daily, and remains open until 9:00 p.m. each day except Sunday, when it closes at 8:00 p.m.

After dinner, the kids begged off dessert and instead went for a stroll.

I shared my standard dessert, cheesecake, and a cup of coffee with my eventually intended.

And I was profoundly satisfied.