With a food menu comprised of over 100 made-from-scratch items, and more than 100 beer selections on tap, there is truly something for everyone at Yard House, which recently opened in the New City development in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. A chain restaurant, Yard House runs the risk of falling into the cookie cutter, suburban sports bar kind of establishment. With dark wood booths, dim lighting, and a large central bar with a good number of TVs, my initial hunch was on its way to being confirmed. But once we started tasting the food, Yard House quickly became a comfortable neighborhood restaurant where all are welcome.
Yard House definitely highlights comfort food, with plenty of fried items, pizzas, and red meats on the menu. But, it also does a nice job of highlighting healthier dishes, and designates those that are vegetarian or under 600 calories. And, with over 100 menu items, the menu can be overwhelming. Luckily our knowledgeable and affable server gave my friend and me plenty of guidance and suggestions that suited our preferences.
I am a deviled egg addict, so we started with Yard House’s version, which feature a spicy tomato sauce, sweet chili, and chives. They were fantastic! The flavors really worked well together, and I was quite pleased.
We then each ordered a Street Taco, a la carte. I tried the Baja Fish taco, with cabbage, cilantro, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sriracha aïoli, and my friend had the Asada – skirt steak with roasted pasilla, pico de gallo, and guacamole. My fish taco was fantastic – not overly breaded and wonderfully cooked with great flavors and balance. I could make a meal out of two or three of the tacos, with a side of rice and beans. Our server insisted that we order the Vampire Taco, featuring a cheese crusted tortilla, carnitas, bacon chorizo, chipotle salsa, roasted garlic, cumin crema, guacamole, and cilantro, on our next visit.
We also shared Shrimp Lettuce Wraps, with shrimp, pine nuts, and green onions, served in a wonton bowl with lettuce and dipping sauces. While not my favorite dish of the night, it was still quite good and we managed to finish it all. A version with either chicken or mushrooms is also available.
We luckily saved room for dessert, and enjoyed one of my favorite desserts that I have had in a long while. The Mini Peach Apple Cobbler with caramel ice cream is incredible! And, since it is a mini, I did not feel too overly indulgent after eating almost the entire thing. If for nothing else, I want to return just for this dessert!
We also tried the Salted Caramel Butterscotch Pudding, with whipped cream, chocolate cookie crumble, and Maldon sea salt, but it was too sugary, and definitely did not compare to the cobbler. It was still tasty, but I enjoyed the cobbler much more.
I have to say that I was impressed by Yard House. While I was expecting standard bar food from a chain restaurant, especially in light of the extremely lengthy menu and focus on its beer selection, I was quite pleased with what we ordered and I look forward to returning to try to make a dent in the plethora of options. Come warmer weather months, the restaurant also features a great outdoor patio with plenty of TVs to catch a game while watching the shoppers go by.
Yard House is a great spot for families, groups of friends, or even for a solitary dinner alone at the bar while catching a game. It is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. While reservations are accepted, they are not necessary.
NewCity at Lincoln Park, 1500 North Clybourn, Chicago, Illinois 60610
While my meal was complimentary, all opinions expressed herein are my own.