The Lode

New restaurant for downtown Houghton, introducing The Den

Neither+of+us+ordered+the+soup+or+salad%2C+and+considering+that+I%27m+not+a+fan+of+soup+to+begin+with%2C+nothing+was+more+tempting+than+seeing+plate+after+plate+of+ooey+gooey%2C+cheesy+french+onion+soup+leave+the+kitchen+and+waft+past+me.
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New restaurant for downtown Houghton, introducing The Den

Neither of us ordered the soup or salad, and considering that I'm not a fan of soup to begin with, nothing was more tempting than seeing plate after plate of ooey gooey, cheesy french onion soup leave the kitchen and waft past me.

Neither of us ordered the soup or salad, and considering that I'm not a fan of soup to begin with, nothing was more tempting than seeing plate after plate of ooey gooey, cheesy french onion soup leave the kitchen and waft past me.

Neither of us ordered the soup or salad, and considering that I'm not a fan of soup to begin with, nothing was more tempting than seeing plate after plate of ooey gooey, cheesy french onion soup leave the kitchen and waft past me.

Neither of us ordered the soup or salad, and considering that I'm not a fan of soup to begin with, nothing was more tempting than seeing plate after plate of ooey gooey, cheesy french onion soup leave the kitchen and waft past me.

Aemili Lipzinski, Pulse Editor

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Stepping out of the usual comfort zones for cuisine options, my boyfriend and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day last weekend at The Den, the new grill house located in downtown Houghton.
Luckily, the full menu is available online as well so we were able to get an idea for the prices and types of foods that would be served at this new restaurant. We were almost turned away by the larger price tag, but decided that it was worth it to try out the food — and it paid off!

Walking into The Den is like walking into a high-class downtown club or bar but with more sophisticated overtones complimented by the large mural on the wall by the hostess desk. Beautifully painted women in pastels reminiscent of ballet leotards and wearing high-heeled shoes on a washed out background and a fox motif throughout the restaurant and on the menu that seems to capture both the elegance and predator nature of real foxes.

While The Den describes itself as “a casual restaurant” the prices reflect a slightly more high-end eating establishment, and you would certainly feel out of place wearing an old t-shirt. Though jeans and a nice shirt wouldn’t stand out unfavorably you could also comfortably dress to the nines and look right at home.

It would be recommended to choose footwear more carefully though because The Den is in the old McDonald’s building and is therefore split into upper and lower seating areas.

We were seated pretty quickly after arriving and our waitress was helpful and attentive. We ordered two different steaks from the entree menu as well as two cocktails and a bread platter. The entrees do not come with add-ons like bread or salad, but these menu items are available to hungry customers alongside a large selection of snack foods like duck fat popcorn, cheese or meat boards, pickled deviled eggs or meatless options like meatless meatballs or potato pancakes to choose from. The prices for these range from $3-$10.

We were excited to receive our bread plate since we’d left late and were pretty hungry, and while the bread plate was delicious, it was a bit of a letdown. The bread was thinly sliced and came with somewhere between 4-6 slices and a small bowl of olive oil which had a faint taste of seasonings. It certainly whet our appetite but did not come with any bread refills and soon ran out when split between two people.

I got the New York Strip steak which came out cooked perfectly medium-rare and seasoned on the steak as well as being dressed with an amazingly savory mushroom cream sauce.

The plating was elegant and the food was more than enough. 10 oz of steak with a plateful of grilled broccolini which was sweet and tasted a lot like asparagus and tasted great when paired with the steak.
The New York Strip also comes with mashed potatoes which were a really good quality potato but were a bit more like smashed potatoes. They were roasted and seasoned and soft but were sort of quickly smashed so that they could be scooped though they still retained a bit of their whole-potato qualities. They were a little garlicky and required no butter or salt to taste.

My boyfriend got the flank steak which came with yucca fries, a smoother than potato alternative with a sweet aftertaste that fries well, chimichurri sauce, which makes for a lighter and more refreshing alternative to the sometimes more savory sauces or seasonings as it is a sort of green, basil pesto sauce, and it was topped with fried leeks which tasted like those thin fried onion tanglers that sometimes come on burgers.

Both steaks came out hot and were expertly seasoned so that the flavor of the meat came through and was not lost but was properly accentuated.

The side dishes were very complimentary to their entree choices, and I would certainly say that you could get just about anything and feel satisfied afterward. The main course did not take a long time to get out to us despite the fact that the restaurant was bustling with activity.

We also ordered two cocktails — the Den Old Fashioned for $9 which has Kerbel brandy, soaked maraschino cherries at the bottom, blood orange, brown sugar rosemary which came as a fragrant sprig adorning the drink, angostura bitters and sprite. This cocktail was a rich amber color and was a bit thick and strong. It certainly kicked in and made for a nice evening!

I had a Sirens Call cocktail which was $7 and had gin, creme de Violette, triple sec, and fresh lemon juice. It was a purplish blue color and tasted like a sparkling blue Hawaiian Punch drink but with considerably more alcohol. Of course, I had asked the waitress which was their sweetest drink, and she certainly delivered.

In addition to the cocktails we ordered, they also offer a selection of sparkling wines, white, red and rose wines as well as a good selection of beers.

We ended the night with a delicious dessert of apple cinnamon bread pudding topped with salted caramel ice cream. The bread pudding was moist and sweet, covered in sugar and cinnamon with apple pie style filling in between the pieces of spongy bread.

The ice cream was thick and sweet and seemed almost homemade. It was such an amazing dessert that I would absolutely go back just to try more of their sweets!

All over the meal was a little on the high end to be a regular eating place, but for special occasions, they went above and beyond expectations and made for a comfortable but delicious and attentive experience.

I highly recommend that if you haven’t yet gone, you should check out this new gem in downtown Houghton. If these sorts of prices are a bit high, they also offer more regularly priced meals like burgers with options for full meat as well as meatless. They have everything from flank sandwiches to den burgers to ham and cheese sandwiches.

The Den also offers a small selection of child-friendly meal options which range from $5-$7 and include kid favorites like grilled cheese and chicken strips. This is certainly the place to go if you’re looking for high-quality food and high-quality service.

The Den is located at 210 Shelden Ave., Houghton and is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The bar is open until 12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

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New restaurant for downtown Houghton, introducing The Den