The Arapahoe Pinnacle

Review: The Yard House

Carl Bengston, Contributing Writer

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I had a lovely dinner planned for Friday with my wife. We had reservations at Union American Bistro. However, I got off work late, and we totally missed our slot. We decided not to waste our babysitter and set off to find a place to eat that, hopefully, would be child-free. All the decent places in Castle Rock had waitlists out the door, so we set off for Park Meadows.[i]

We decided to grab dinner at the Yard House, mostly because it had the shortest wait. After 30 minutes of waiting, we were taken to our seats and handed food and drink menus. The Yard House is a typical American-style restaurant with a large taproom. I believe they have about 100 beers on tap.

We started the meal by ordering drinks. I ordered a Moose Drool Brown from Big Sky Brewing, located in beautiful Missoula, Montana. Moose Drool is one of my favorite beers. It’s probably the best example of an American-style brown ale I can think of. Moose Drool has a deep, dark brown color, which complements its biscuit-malt flavor. Its maltiness is balanced by a nice, hoppy bite. The wife had a Diet Coke. The drinks took quite a while to show up, maybe 20 minutes or so; we had already put in our order for appetizers and entrees before my beer came out. I wasn’t thrilled with the delay on my drink, but there was some confusion about whether or not my drink order was even put in, so my server brought a second drink out for free. I won’t ever complain about a free beer.

We ordered two appetizers and a sandwich to split. Yard House portions are ridiculously big. It’s easy to order too much food if you don’t know what to expect. For appetizers, we ordered calamari and crispy Brussels sprouts and potatoes.

The calamari was fine. It wasn’t too chewy or tough and had a nice light breading. It could have used more salt and, maybe, a little more garlic. The calamari came with two dipping sauces, tartar sauce and marinara. The marinara tasted freshly made with notes of basil. The marinara was a little too sweet, like they added in some sugar, but it was mostly fine. The tartar sauce tasted like every other tartar sauce in every other restaurant in the world.

The crispy Brussels sprouts and potatoes were fantastic. Both of the veggies were crispy and well-seasoned, and they were nestled in a delicious malt vinegar aioli. The sauce complemented the veggies perfectly and made everything very savory. I think these were the best part of the meal.

For a main course, we split a Cuban-style pork dip sandwich. It was OK. The shredded pork was decent, but it was lacking ham, so I’m not sure why they decided to call it a Cuban-style sandwich. The jus was flavorful and complemented the sandwich. Sweet potato fries were requested as a substitute, but they brought out some very sad, Cisco-trunk-special fries instead. The fries were sampled but ultimately left to grow cold and lonely before being dumped out on to the street like a scorned lover.

Ultimately, the meal was fine. Nothing to write home about, but nothing on the plate tried to jump up and bite me. And I never felt like I was in danger of food poisoning. I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat there, but if you need to grab a bite after spending your hard-earned paycheck at Eddie Bauer or Williams Sonoma, you could do worse.[ii]

I should also add that if you haven’t tried Moose Drool, and you like craft beer, you are missing out. I highly recommend trying it, and if you don’t like it, I’ll buy the remainder of your sixxer.[iii]

[i] I never in my life imagined being excited to grab a meal at a mall, but here we are…

[ii] I’m looking at you, Cheesecake Factory

[iii] Prorated of course

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