By Dr. Ink
With lengthy food and drink choices that include 130 varieties of draft beer falling into numerous style categories, Yard House seems intent on sending customers into a head spin.
But nobody’s complaining; especially during happy hour when you can potentially wash down a tower of onion rings with a half-yard of craft beer for under $15 — or even less if you stick to the domestics.
The chain establishment found an ideal home when it opened more than a year ago alongside the AMC movie theaters in Westfield Mission Valley Mall. Its long-established Downtown location had just closed, which sent even more devotees to this outpost. No doubt, the place gets ridiculously clamorous at times, but the expansive dining areas and giant bar often does a fine job accommodating the mobs.
Drink discounts range from $1 to $4 off everything in the house, from the entire beer list served in pints, goblets or half yards to cocktails, prosecco and wines by the glass.
Appetizers, light and heavy, are offered in four price groups, from $5 to $8, with things like moo shu egg rolls and the onion ring tower at the low end and poke nachos and ahi sashimi in the top tier.
We both ordered beer by the pint. My drinking cohort, a fan of dark brews, went straight for the Tabula Rasa Porter by Second Chance Beer Company. It had a creamy body and the desired robust flavor of toasted coffee beans. He had briefly considered the New Holland Dragon’s Milk Imperial Stout, but at 11 percent alcohol, he decided to retain some of his bearings.
According to our waitress, Unita Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, Utah produces Yard House’s honey blonde ale, which aptly falls under the “refreshing-crisp” category. If you’re looking for one of the easiest drinking beers in town, this is it. The flavor was light though not bland, and the honey factor was pleasantly delicate.
We polished off an onion ring tower in no time at all, thanks in part tothe fabulous house-made ranch dressing, of which I’m normally not a fan. We also opted for a basket of Buffalo-style wings ($6), which yield 10 to an order.
I requested them extra-extra crispy. Sadly they arrived too quickly with rubbery skins. Our waitress kindly took them back and put in another order. Those came out 15 minutes and were worth the wait.
A word of advice if you want to dodge the mall rats and movie goers that pour into Yard House on late afternoons: take advantage of the late-night happy hour instead, which runs from 10 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday. It still allows for plenty of time to tackle those formidable half-yard glasses of beer.
Only the fussiest of fussbudgets will be hard-pressed finding something that suits them from a drink list featuring 130 draft beers, dozens of cocktails and a decent number of wines.
The tower of crispy onions rings were slightly greasy in good way; a vampire taco offered the bold flavors of chorizo, carnitas, chipotle, and toasted cheese encasing the tortilla shell; and the wings came to our table in four minutes, which meant their skins were rubbery.
The savings on cocktails and pints or half-yards of beer average 30 percent. For certain food items, you’ll save nearly 50 percent.
The wait staff was cheerful, fast and didn’t pull any disappearing acts from start to finish.
Designed for the masses, the enormous space is dissected by a two-sided bar and offers ample booths and high-top tables in eyeshot of flat screens.
Sara is the editor of San Diego Uptown News.