Dear Out & About readers:
The Yard House is loud. The music is loud. The conversation is loud. The artwork is loud. The burgers are big and flashy, with intense and exotic toppings. Just to be contrary, I ordered a Classic, as plain and simple as I could get it, to see what was under the hood.
Somewhere in North Raleigh I must have entered some sort of space-travel wormhole leading to the opulent chic-fest that is Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Certainly nowhere our fair, modest Triangle, I had assumed, would people squeeze themselves into their tightest, blackest duds for the right to wait an hour for a Fresh & Skinny Martini. But I was wrong. So Wrong.
The Yard House is about atmosphere and image—loud, colorful, and vivacious. This they make obvious as they take you on a lap around the huge, elliptical bar before seating you at a table you passed when you started your journey.
The burger choices were plentiful, but my eyes were drawn to the Surf & Turf—a powerful lineup featuring Maine lobster sautéed in garlic butter, grilled asparagus, Swiss cheese, and tomato béarnaise. Unfortunately, I was to suffer a severe case of “antici-pointment.” The burger was not cooked to order, and the béarnaise was, without warning, replaced with spinach—a definite letdown. And though I could see the lobster, its taste was smothered by the patty and too much asparagus. I give this burger a 3—too much missing from the show.
The flavor of the Pepper Crusted Gorgonzola burger—with marsala sautéed crimini mushrooms, caramelized onions, and baby spinach—matched Yard House’s décor: intense. The spinach was like a man yelling at a tsunami, useless against the onslaught of marsala, pepper, and Gorgonzola. Because the cook didn’t try to blacken the patty (which often happens in an attempted to create a crust on a patty), the combination worked very well overall. Any hint of char was imperceptible.
If you are looking for a place to enjoy a quiet dinner, avoid Yard House. If you want an interesting burger and don’t mind yelling to be heard, this is the place to be. I give the burger a 4 out of 5.
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