My friend Stephanie is visiting from NYC this week. I met her while doing a rotation in psycho-oncology (= psychiatric support for cancer patients) in the city, and we worked long hours - a typical day was from 8am to 8pm. However, a few times during that month, we were done "early" (=6pm). On those days, we would jump on the train in order to make it downtown in time to take advantage of the dollar oyster happy hour special at the Lure Fishbar. Those were some good times, and good eats. So, it only made sense for us to meet up again at a happy hour in Santa Monica.
We decided to try out The Yard - "your neighborhood gastropub" based on it's fantastic sounding happy hour menu. We arrived at 6:45pm and the place was busy, but not too packed. Within 10 minutes we were able to sit at a communal table. We placed an order for a $5 cosmo (F) and $5 margarita (S), and went for the pulled pork sandwich and fish tacos ($6 each).
When I think of pulled pork, I think of juicy meat slow cooked and slathered in bbq sauce. The Yard's version tried to be fancy with their friend onion ring garnish, but tasted utterly unremarkable.
Pulled Pork: Grade: C
The fish tacos were a bit better. They were better than Wahoo's (though more expensive, even at $6), but no where as good as the ones at Sharky's. Fish Tacos, Grade = B
By the time we finished those appetizers, happy hour was over. We were still hungry, so we decided to get something off the regular dinner menu. I love mac and cheese - my favorite in the world is at Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA. Based on the menu description at the Yard "Mac n Cheese, Pancetta, Sauteed Market Kale, Crispy Bread Crumbs" $14, I had high hopes...
When it arrived, it was not macaroni, but orechiette in a gooey mess of cheese. I am not sure I tasted anything other than cheese. The kale and bread crumbs got lost in the sea of cheese. So did the pasta. It was so heavy and filling that with each bite, it became more difficult to eat. Unfortunately, this mac n cheese was not the one for me. Sigh. Mac N Cheese = C
This is my first "Skip this" dining post. That may be a bit harsh as the food was not bad, and the happy hour prices were decent. It's just that the food wasn't all that good and the ambiance wasn't all that charming. Why eat something that is just okay, when there are so many better things to eat! Next time, I'll suggest going to Venice Beach Wines for happy hour, where I'd give the entire menu a solid "A".