Knowing that I like to try all the new places so that I can write about them, my friend @wibia suggested meeting for lunch at the newly opened billion beer option place, Yard House. This place is a chain that is all around the country. They’ve got 100 beers on tap (seriously, looks at the pictures of the beer menu) and they have close to that number of different menu items to eat as well. Honestly, while a lot of the things on the menu sounded good, it was a little overwhelming to know what to order.
We kind of went all over the place and got a couple different things to share. I started with a bowl of tortilla soup ($5.95)-it was pretty darn tasty actually. It was kind of a cheddar cheese soup base but had nice tender chunks of chicken in it and was topped with small dices of roasted peppers, pico de gallo, strips of crunchy tortillas and a slice of avocado. The peppers and the crisp bits of tortilla gave the soup the texture variation it needed as well as just a touch of heat. There was also a garnish of fresh cilantro for a nice touch of freshness. I enjoyed it.
They have a lot of versions of ahi on the menu, and you know how I feel about good rare (or raw) ahi tuna, so I was intrigued to try one of them. I ordered the appetizer “poke stack” ($12.65) which was marinated raw ahi tuna layered between crispy wontons, and drizzled with a wasabi soy sauce. There were nice ripple slices of avocado served alongside. Again, the dish was well done and presented. The ahi had nice flavors in the marinade (a little lemon would have been nice though) and I liked the bits of seaweed and what I think were very thin frizzled onions mixed in. There were some julienned carrots and daikon on the bottom of the plate that were also nice to mix in to give even more texture and crunch. The wontons stayed crisp throughout, which I appreciated and I liked adding a bit of avocado to each bite. It was a pretty generous portion and easily enough to share (we did). The only thing that would have made the dish perfect for me was, as I said, a touch more acid.
Wibia ordered the “truffle burger” ($12.25) with housemade truffle cheese and tomato bacon onion jam and served with fries. You can add flavor to your fries and he added garlic. Again, I was a touch surprised at how juicy this burger was—they cooked it to order (medium rare) and the meat was really tender and high quality. I didn’t get a ton of truffle flavor from the cheese, but there was some. I would happily eat a burger here again based off of this one, although I might try one of the other variations. The fries were thin (which I like) and were lightly battered. They were also pretty tasty and the hefty dose of crushed garlic gave them a nice bite. They were best right when served, as they sat, they lost some of their appeal.
The place, like the beer selection, and the menu, is huge. The service was good—clearly they are still training servers (we had two waiting on us together), but they did a good job. They were quick to refill our water and we were in and out in under an hour for a weekday lunch. Food-wise, I appreciate some of the little touches on the food, like the garnish on the soup, that make you feel like you are eating better food than what you might find at yet another giant beer place. I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, we barely scratched the surface of the menu, but I would be happy to go back again and try some other things.
15 West Maryland Street
|and even more beer|