Crispy Chicken Sandwich @ Hungry Bear Restaurant

Price: $9.29

When: November 5, 2015, 4:30 PM

Reservations: n/a

Verdict? Not recommended

The Hungry Bear Restaurant is a counter-service restaurant in Disneyland’s Critter Country. It serves standard lunch fare, such as sandwiches, burgers, and salads. It’s also located in one of the prettiest, quietest corners of the park, and provides one of the more relaxing venues to put your feet up and recharge.

Today, I elected to order the Crispy Chicken Sandwich (“with lettuce, tomato and honey-mustard sauce”).

First: presentation. Not bad. Yes, it’s a chicken sandwich served in a plastic basket and accompanied by a small mountain of french fries, but it looked tasty, smelled good, and I found myself eager to try it. Points for that.

Second: composition. This is a very basic sandwich. When Disney says, “lettuce, tomato, and honey-mustard sauce” … they’e not kidding. The lonely piece of chicken is accompanied by one piece of lettuce, one slice of tomato, and a small slather of honey-mustard dressing.

Third: flavor. Sadly, not great. With so few ingredients, the chicken is asked to do most of the work, here, and, unfortunately, it’s just not up to the challenge. I found the breading to be all right, but the chicken was too dry and didn’t have much natural flavor or juice. It’s nearly filler. And while there’s a bit of flavor peeking in here and there (the honey-mustard is actually pretty good), it’s not enough to make the sandwich work.

Yes, you can add a ton of mustard and ketchup to this to help out (and, in fact, that’s what I wound up doing after my first few bites). But, as with the Grilled Chicken Sandwich at Smokejumpers Grill – if you’re immediately reaching for the condiments to save the day, that’s admitting defeat.

So, sadly – not recommended.

Oh, and about that ambience – treat yo self. Grab a table on the upper level, right alongside the Rivers of America. Sit under the fabric canopies and watch the action on the water – the Mark Twain floating by, the ducks paddling, the people canoeing, the kids playing on Tom Sawyer Island. Listen to the piped-in old-timey Western music (e.g., “Home on the Range”), and just … unwind. It’s a surprising, wonderful part of the park, so don’t be in a rush.