We started going to The Little Bear in 1992 in our early days of dating, and have always considered it a special place. Living an hour and a half or so away, we make it a point to stop there every couple of years, after spending a day exploring the Catskills. I don't know its history as far as changes in ownership or chefs over the years, but I'm sorry to say that our dining experience has grown progressively disappointing, to the point where I think we've made our last visit there. This may not make sense, but years ago the food was, well, tastier. The offerings were interesting and everything we ordered was delicious. Every subsequent visit has found the food more bland and boring than the time before. The last time we were there, maybe two years ago, we'd pretty much decided that we were done with making a special trip to The Little Bear. But since we do have a soft spot for the place, this time we figured we'd give it another go. While I cannot pronounce the food as being bad, everything we ordered was as bland as the chow mein or moo goo gai pan of 1960s Cantonese restaurants. The menu doesn't offer much in the way of explanations, either. When I asked our very lovely wait person to tell me about Yu-shiang chicken, she told me it was chicken with vegetables. There's an item called No-Name Chicken that I suspect might also be described as chicken with vegetables. I ordered Mango Chicken, and I will say that the portion was generous. The sliced chicken was fried, but I have to say it's the first time I've ever had fried chicken that had absolutely no flavor whatsoever. No, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't really anything. My partner had Hunan Chicken Country Style. It looked good, and there were some black beans in it, but it was so bland that he brought it home and doctored it up with some spices to give it some flavor. I really want to like The Little Bear as much as I used to. I overheard another diner say, as he was paying his bill, "I don't know why I keep coming here. I guess because I like the stream." As others have said, there is indeed a rustic and unique ambience in its stream-side location. But, as others have also said, the place is getting a little tired and the bathrooms never disappoint in their funkiness. If you haven't ever been to The Little Bear, I do not discourage you from giving it a try. It could just be that the menu is the luck of the draw, and we've been drawing badly.
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