SANTA MONICA GASTROPUB THAT GOES THE DISTANCE
A cozy Santa Monica neighborhood gastropub, The Yard offers American-style tapas cuisine with seasonal, Farmers Market fresh specials created by “Top Chef’s” Chris “CJ” Jacobson.
With its breezy, tropical décor, and its oversized macaroon-like lamps, signature dishes include Fresh Fish Tacos with Cumin Slaw, Grilled Skirt Steak with Horseradish, Crispy Beef Cheek, Pan-Seared Diver Scallops with Mandarin, Marinated Beet Salad with Grilled Avocado, and Pulled Pork Sloppy Joe Sliders. All dishes are made with the freshest ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, one of the largest markets on the West Coast.
The Yard also offers an extensive and ingenious drink menu featuring 8 craft beers on tap, 30 bottled beers, boutique wines by the glass, and a market-fresh seasonal cocktail list by mixologist Blake Landis.
During our recent visit, we kicked things off the highly refreshing BackYard Lemonade (Gin, lemon basil, St. Germaine, lemon juice, ginger ale on the rocks) served backwoods style in a medicine jar. We also gave a nod to their White Sangria drink special of the night that provided a stimulating champagne taste.
Dinner started with the pleasant Warm Duck Confit Salad (Asian pear, hazelnuts, arugula, fall spice, crispy skin), quickly followed by the savory Wild Mushroom Risotto, made with Parmesan, cabernet-braised quince and lemon zest, as well as the hearty King Crab Mac n’ Cheese with Tuscan kale and a crispy top. This one is a definite winner.
All dishes are all served tapas style, so while they’re not huge portions, they are filling. Next we gave the delicious Pan Seared Diver Scallops, prepared with citrus, artichoke puree, and ginger date vinaigrette, a try. Another must. The Sautéed Fava Beans proved to be a nice touch too.
I looked at the menu’s Fried Pig Ear, prepared with date, Neuskie’s bacon, smoked balsamic, Rogue River smokey blue, shahi, as a must try. It was practically daring me to taste it. Shredded, it almost looks like a plate of skinny sweet potato fries so relax, it’s not like they’re bringing you an entire pig’s ear on a plate, but be warned it is pretty chewy so it’s probably best recommend just for the adventurous palette.
The Mini Pulled Pork Sloppy Joes with Yard BBQ sauce, crispy onions, pickle, and served with triple cooked fries, is a very tasty dish. And I just had to give their zesty Sweet Potato Fries a try - they get a wholehearted thumbs up.
The recommended Whisky Smash cocktail offered a good kick and great taste. Believe me, they do know their way around the bar at The Yard.
Dessert featured the decadent Chocolate Cake with peanut butter ganache, charred marshmallow, and banana ice cream. It’s a sweet lover’s nirvana. And the Ha Farms Apple Fritters, with PranQster golden ale batter, and cinnamon, is delicious without the guilt.
The Yard features regular tasting nights, which include new and unique beers, wines and cocktails, often paired with new menu creations by its celebrity chef. Happy Hour is daily from 5pm-7pm and features $3 beers and $5 margaritas, while Monday night is Happy Hour all night. And Thursday night is Grilled Cheese Night.
Offering good, stiff drinks with tasty and hearty dishes, The Yard, located just a block from the beach, goes the whole nine yards when it comes to delivering palette pleasing delights. Good times!
The Yard is located at 119 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Call 310-395-6037. Hours: Mon-Sun 5pm - 1am.