The Yard House – A review

Look! I don’t write anything for 2 weeks then I give you 2 posts in one day. Que exciting, non? (I know you like my FreSpanglish)

This past Saturday afternoon, Lovey and I took a journey over to Merrick Park, which is basically the mall where I can’t afford to shop. No matter, though, for Merrick Park houses what could very well be my new favorite restaurant, The Yard House.

Lovey and I had tried once before to come to this place, but it was on a Saturday night and it was jam packed. Neither of us is big on crowds and we really just wanted a drink and maybe a snack, so we took our business elsewhere. I am not, of course, faulting them for being busy. We knew that we needed to give it another shot and let me tell you, they really came through.

Being a sports/beer bar, the two things you might notice first upon arrival are, well, the tons of televisions and the huge bar. The hostess even asked if there was a specific game on that we wanted to watch so she could put us next to that television. Quality.

Service was above average. Our waitress was knowledgeable (which is no small task considering their beer menu alone!) and friendly. We only had to look for her once and that was more because we were dilly-dallying and not her.

Let’s talk food!

I’m not a foodie. Basically, if it tastes good, I like it. You know how things taste FANTASTIC when you’re hungry? Well, I was hungry but I’m fairly certain that the food was also just really good.

We started with their Spinach Cheese Dip. By their definition it is baked with feta, jack cheese, parmesan and cream cheese served with crispy flat bread. It’s hard to mess up a dip. The Yard House needn’t worry. They do this well. Truthfully, the dip isn’t that spectacular, but the flat bread really makes the dish. When they say crispy, they really mean it. It very well may have been fried but it had no greasy texture at all. Sorry, no picture of this one.

Because TYH has a gazillion beers on tap, they have a six-pack sampler that allows you to (ever so slowly) work your way through their selection. They’re even nice enough to change it every Tuesday. Those are the six that we had over on the left and they included: Erdinger Hefetrub Weisse, Shock Top, Brooklyn Lager, Murphy’s Irish Stout, Highland Gaelic Ale, and Dogfish 90 Minute IPA.

As far as beer goes, I’m no connoisseur, hell, I can barely spell that. I do, however, know what I like and do not like. Two beers fell into the “Oh hell no I’d never drink that again” category , two were “Hmmm, I’d try it again I suppose” and two were “Damn, that’s pretty good”.

The good:
Erdinger and Murphy’s Irish Stout
Honestly, I was surprised at the Stout. I went in fully expecting to not like it. I was wrong. It doesn’t have that fizz of beer but it still has a nice kick. Seems perfect for dropping a shot of Bailey’s/Jameson into. The Erdinger, well, if you have a chance to, I suggest you try it. It’s brewed according to the Bavarian Purity Law. It’s smooth and tasty and a 5.3 kick compared to the Stout’s 4.0. (Stout is the upper right corner mostly hidden and Erdinger is center hidden.)

The not-quite-bad:
Shock Top and Brooklyn Lager
There are some things that I just don’t care for and citrus flavored beer happens to be one of those things. I don’t want a lime in my Corona (when there’s absolutely nothing else available), nor do I care for Micheladas. That said, a beer with orange flavoring isn’t likely to win my favor. Granted, the Shock Top didn’t totally disgust me and I’d think briefly about trying it again if I were in that fram of mind. Oh, and it’s cloudy. I don’t like that. Brooklyn Lager I’ve actually had before, but I didn’t remember until I tasted it. Some things I recognize by their bottle. It’s a little strong and bitter for me, but I’d still drink it again to try to give myself some culture. They weigh in at 5.2 each. (Shock is in the back row, left, and Brooklyn is front and center.)

The ugly (for me):
Highland Gaelic Ale and Dogfish 90 Minute IPA
Oh my. These two are not two that I will be revisiting. I’m sure there are people out there that like, maybe even love these beers….it’s just not me. These two are bitter, bitter, bitter. I guess that’s “hoppy”. Dogfish has been called the best IPA in America by Esquire magazine, but maybe my palate just isn’t ready. To keep with the flow of things, though, they come in at 5.8 and 9.0(!). We were buzzed before the food came. (Highland is front left and Dogfish is front right.)

On with more food!

Lovey had the Mac and Cheese which I did not get a picture of because he was busy tearing it up. I had a bite. It was pretty good for mac and cheese. It also had chicken, mushrooms and bacon and it’s just so hard to go wrong with bacon.

I had the Chicken Enchilada stack shown at the left. I guess it looks kinda gross, but it tasted fantastic! When I ordered it, the waitress asked if I was okay with spicy food so I was expecting a little mouth burn. That was probably my only disappointment in the entire trip. It wasn’t spicy at all. Or maybe it is to some people, just not those who worked in a Tex-Mex restaurant for four years or lived in Mexico for a couple. It’s got chicken and pasilla peppers (which I had never had before but wow are they good) along with a garlic cream sauce and the mandatory tortillas. Also, it doesn’t look huge, but I barely got through half of it and the other half was even better the next day!

Part of the reason I only ate half of my entree is because I LOVE DESSERT! It is, by far, my favorite part of any meal and I will skimp on appetizers and my entree to leave room for it. Priorities? Whatever.

The dessert menu isn’t huge, but the portioning is perfect. It’s enough to quiet your sweet tooth, but not so much that you feel like a total hog for eating the whole thing. That little baby over there is a creme brulee. Only my favorite dessert EVER. On the side and the top there are carmelized bananas. Under the bananas was the delicious goodness that I was waiting for plus a surprise I wasn’t expecting. You see, well, no you don’t, but anywho, on the bottom was a layer of chocolate which was a nice touch.

Overall, I’ve nothing to complain about from TYH. It was a mildly expensive lunch but hey, we’re stimulating the economy. If there’s one in your area and you haven’t been, get on your horse and ride!!

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