The Yard House, a chain restaurant located in nine states has one located in Houston, Texas which a few friends of mine and I were excited to visit. Not only was it a night out, but a place that boasts of approximately 1,000 gallons of beers on tap. Now, since my husband is a beer critic, you can imagine our excitement at having so many quality beers available all in one place in a casual atmosphere with upscale foods, rock and roll and eclectic artwork.
The Yard House in Houston is located in the City Centre area, which on a Friday or Saturday night can be very busy and if you don’t know your way around it can also be a little difficult to find in the dark. Valet parking is available, but if you take a little time you can drive around and park in the garage for free and walk a little ways to get to the restaurant.
Entering the restaurant, the bar is the centerpiece with tables and booths all around the outside of the bar section. The music was typical rock and roll and the taps were impressive. The beer menu alone is two large size pages long and organized by type of beers. Since Hefeweizens are my personal favorites, I was pleased to find several choices available including Paulaner, Widmer, Franziskaner and Weihenstephaner. There is also a good selection of mixed drinks, wines, and cocktails. Just in case you are wondering, my pint was $6.50 (a six pack of which could be purchased for about $9.99 my husband informed me.)
Next to the appetizer menu, where there are so many selections to choose from it is hard to decide on just one, so why not choose two? The Lobster, Crab and Artichoke Dip is served with tortilla chips or grilled flat bread and was a meal in itself. The Fried Calamari is served with a spicy tomato sauce (yum!) and tartar sauce. I admit to wanting to try the Grilled Korean Beef BBQ next time I visit, since we just didn’t have the chance to do so on this night. Appetizer prices range from $6.95 to approximately $16.95.
The dinner menu offers a nice selection of American fusion foods, from burgers and pizza to seafood, ribs, chicken and steaks. But they aren’t just your regular old dishes but with unique or unusual twists like the Orange Peel Chicken, with baby corn, bok choy, a spicy orange sauce and jasmine or brown rice. Another tasty and different dish is the Jerk Chicken with Shrimp Stack, which offers Jamaican spiced grilled chicken breast with mango zucchini salsa, shrimp enchilada with jack cheese, corn, pasilla peppers, sour cream, tomatillo and red chili sauce. What may be most impressive is the opportunity to order from a gluten free menu for both foods and drinks.
Looking around the room at empty plates; shows that there isn’t a bad item on the menu. The portions are huge, and the prices reflect that. A burger starts at $10.95 and is the least expensive item on the menu. I know everything we tasted was delicious.
I admit to not tasting from the dessert menu, simply because I choose beer instead. But just in case someone can’t make up their mind they can always order the Trio Sampler with lemon soufflé, peach apple cobbler and chocolate soufflé. Note, the floats are made with draft beers and you have to be 21 to order.
The service was excellent, but I admit to a rather longer than we would like wait time for drinks and a table, but it was a Friday night and very busy. We did get an apology for the delay with an explanation that our server actually had three large parties (we were a table of eight). It was also nice to have a server who was knowledgeable about the food and the drinks and especially gratifying to see the drinks served in the proper glassware of a goblet, wine or pint glass. We enjoyed our high backed booth because it gave us some privacy but still let us see all the fun.
The atmosphere is casual but don’t let that fool you, you can look around the room to see jeans and designer shoes, to dresses. For men, the typical look was shirt and pants or jeans. It’s not really a shorts and T-shirt kind of place.
Will I go back? Sure, the food is good and the drink selection better than many other places in the Houston area. But I think next time I’ll schedule my visit around happy hour so I can enjoy just a little bit more and spend a little bit less.
Yard House and yardhouse.com