Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Yard House, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Last night the good Dr. Dave (husband) had a little last minute business to attend to so instead of my planned shepherds pie we all hit a local sports bar, the Yard House. The Yard House describes itself as an 'upscale casual' establishment which is pretty accurate, however, there are plenty of flat screens, rock music and the biggest collection of draft beers, so to me, its a sports bar albeit a posh one.

We've eaten here many times before and always found it consistent for the basics we have sampled. The burgers are great, the salads hearty and their fries are second to none. They are those moreish shoestring style variety that stay annoyingly crispy long after you want to stop eating them! This is also one of the few restaurants whose 'children's menu' isn't an insult to them or me. There's a broad choice of healthy fare and the quality of the ingredients is every bit as good as the regular menu. You don't get the feeling that, just because they're cheap to feed, children are an afterthought here.

Last night, was the first time our visit fell into the 'happy hour' time frame of 3-6pm. Unlike your average 'happy hour' the Yard House offers both 1/2 price appetizers and discounted drinks from their huge menu. This being Florida, the appetizers are a meal unto themselves. I saw most things I usually order for dinner on the happy hour menu. I ordered a 'Spicy Tuna Roll' fully expecting it to be a dainty little affair leaving me plenty of room to snaffle one of Dr. Dave's 'Bearnaise Sliders', a fork or two of his 'Chinese Garlic Noodles' and of course a few of my daughters french fries. Not so. This was a hearty tower of seared ahi tuna, avocado, that legume de jour edamame and cucumber with a wasabi soy drizzle. It was so healthy I think I added a few months to my life just photographing it. Here's the thing, the quality of this ahi tuna was so good, the composition and appearance of the dish so appealing, it tasted so great and it was priced at around $6.00 during happy hour. This has to be below food cost. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a penny pincher when it comes to food; I put quality first always and if I can't have what I want I'd rather go without but nothing was compromised here.

The service was great, we had Chris who was delightful, efficient, not over effusive and fake jolly which I can't abide at these places and he happily replaced my glass of wine when I told him it tasted sulphurous so he gets my vote! If you are on a budget or just want a great early dinner or late lunch in a buzzy, vibrant and young venue, I highly recommend the Yard House.

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