The place: The Buckhorn Tavern has been dishing out delicious dining since 1943. It’s a rustic hideaway in Butler Twp., located along the Stillwater River and easy to get to off I-70 in Englewood. If you’re hungry, this is the place to go. The tavern serves hearty meals for lunch and dinner at affordable prices in an interesting ambiance and with equally interesting clientele. The atmosphere is comfortable and homey. The well-worn wood booths evoke the feeling of many, many nights of meals for families, couples and foodies who know they’ve found a real treasure. The staff is particularly competent, friendly and welcoming. Connie loves the 1970s supper club chairs.
Menu highlights: For lunch, they serve homestyle steaks, sandwiches, chicken and seafood for under $10. The dinner menu is chock-full of choices, which took us more time than normal to decide where to dive in. From Kentucky Hot Browns to seafood, you’ll find something you love on the Buckhorn menu. The seafood menu features salmon, tilapia, orange roughy, shrimp and whitefish. Their poultry portions range from the simple (chicken tenders, $11.99) to the spectacular (Sedona-broiled chicken with red and green peppers, onions, cheddar cheese and fresh salsa, served over rice pilaf, $13.99.)
You’ll find Choice USDA steaks, including prime rib, which can be hard to find in the Miami Valley. Meat eaters will have many options, from ribeye, filet mignon and even a stuffed New York Strip, full of green onions, red and green peppers and cheddar cheese, $19.99.)
There’s even good choices for those who prefer homestyle favorite meals: The always reliable Beef Hot Shot and the ever-rare liver and onions, or cabbage rolls.
Of course, there are generous salads, hearty sandwiches, and All-American burgers. With so many choices, it’s time to jump in.
We started with drinks.
What we had: Connie picked up the mood of the Buckhorn’s unusual decorations, which clued us in on the fusion cuisine we’d find on the menu. This dark and woodsy restaurant doesn’t sport the typical taxi-dermied deer, but it does have fancy chandeliers made out of antlers. And on the walls are French posters. Lots of them. Favorite sign on the wall: “You had me at Merlot.” The Buckhorn is known for its robust wine selection, but on this particular evening Connie ordered a French Martini ($5.75), a sweet and classy concoction of vodka, a splash of Chambord Raspberry and a touch of pineapple juice.
Sandy, a lifelong lover of liquid wheat, reached for the Monthly Beer Special: Pipeline Porter by the Kona Brewing Co. The label brags of being made with Hawaiian Kona Coffee. It’s rich, roasting and easy to go down. Available through winter.
This was our second visit to the Buckhorn, since we enjoyed it so much over the summer. Back then we had Fried Green Tomatoes served with bistro sauce ($4.99), the Texas Steak Salad that comes with delicious grilled onions ($7.99) and the Buckhorn Black & Bleu Burger — eight ounces of blackened delight topped with bleu cheese ($6.50). But on this evening we went for some other options:
- Tavern Burger, $5.99: This hearty burger is bursting with beef flavor. Nestled in a caramelized bun, it’s topped with terrific mushrooms, sauteed onions and cheese. No need for condiments, there’s so much flavor.
- French Onion Soup, $4.25: Connie is a connoisseur of French Onion Soup so her palate was especially picky when it came to this item. “It’s not as good as mine. No French Onion Soup is as good as mine, but this soup I deem worthy.” From Sandy’s side of the table, it smelled pretty darn good. Baked in a traditional French onion soup crock and topped with ample cheese, it was pleasant, with a rich, dark brown broth. And most importantly, it was onion-y.
- French Fries, $3.50: (Actually steak fries, but in keeping with our French theme, we’ll go with that.) The fries are big enough to have their own congressional district. There will be no disagreement about whether these get our “up vote.”
With nightly and weekly specials, the friendly folks at the Buckhorn Tavern will have you coming back again and again.
As we made our way out the door, Sandy quizzed, “Well, Connie, do you feel French?”
You had to see that coming. Au revoir until next time.
The info: The Buckhorn Tavern, 8800 Meeker Road, Dayton; (937) 890-3261, www.buckhorntavern.biz. Find them on Facebook, too.
Sandy Collins of News Talk Radio WHIO (95.7 FM/AM 1290) and Connie Post from the Dayton Daily News are two of DDN’s Dining Divas; both of them have been to Paris, both love food and both want to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts about a great place to check out. Grab your tablet and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.