The first matchup in the Final Four of Anchorage restaurants features two of my absolute favorites: Bear Tooth and Club Paris. These two couldn't be any different, as one is old school classy and all about the meat while the other features a diversified lineup and something for anyone. It's going to be an epic showdown, but there can be only one winner. Who will it be?
Bear Tooth: This has quickly become one of the most universally loved restaurants in town. With good reason...Bear Tooth does everything you want a good restaurant to do. A delicious and diverse menu (thai noodles in peanut sauce? Sure. Moroccan Chicken? Hell yes. Halibut Tacos? Don't mind if I do. Tasty burgers? YES!), quality service, good atmosphere, and a primo location. That they throw in a nice bar with a quality selection and the vaunted beer selection they and Moose's Tooth share, a movie theater to eat and drink in, and two restaurants in one (really?!) really adds to the equation, making it an exceptional blend of all the best you want from your restaurant experiences.
Yet it also has a major negatives that it shares with its sister restaurant Moose's Tooth: the occasional ferocious wait. Worth it? Sure. Annoying? Oh yeah.
Club Paris: Let's say this: if the Rat Pack existed in 2010 Anchorage, Alaska, they'd probably eat at Club Paris. Well, realistically they'd probably eat wherever they could smoke at and whichever place Dean Martin hadn't been 86'd from for boozing and hitting on every waitress. But still, the connection is there: Club Paris is a throwback. It's all about small groups that enjoy a stiff drink or a tasty beer with their thick as hell but oh so delicious steaks. It may be a very specific niche, but it's a classic one and one that I fully subscribe to.
Sure, red meat may have grown less popular over the years with some crowds, but not this guy. I choose to have my filet served with a side of petite filet thank you very much. And their burgers...lord their burgers! Filet mignon served on tasty buns with you name it for toppings (blue cheese AND bacon? What did I do to deserve this?!)...so delectable it should be illegal.
Still, the atmosphere is suffocating for some (I understand why) and due to its pervasive hardiness it may not be the best idea to eat here all of the time. I've never been good at making good decisions though.
The Showdown: This is a pretty much impossible choice for me. Club Paris is as ingrained into me as my skin, being my go-to birthday dinner joint for the past 6 years as well as a real piece of Anchorage history (sit down at the bar sometime and talk to the bartender. The guy is a gem and can tell you a lot about life, such as the power of a line like "it's a good life...if you don't weaken"). Bear Tooth is a place I've only really been eating at consistently for two years (non movie experiences rather), but a place that is so damn good it is almost required eating weekly.
While I think if I had to choose at one of these places before I die, I'd almost certainly go with Club Paris. I'm not about to be executed so this is not one of those situations. Because of its Swiss Army Knife like nature and its ability to suck me in no matter the day or the meal, there is only one choice here.
Bear Tooth...see you in the championship.