I had a great experience at Yard House in NewCity at Lincoln Park recently. Actually, the whole NewCity experience was pretty cool with Mariano’s, Nando’s Peri Peri and all the other great shops part of this urban mall.
The Yard House has a cavernous interior with several seating options (booths, high tops, tables) and there are TVs for every angle. What struck me immediately is how family friendly the place is.
There were lots of kiddies enjoying their food selected from an extensive kids’ menu (buttered noodles, hamburger, hot dog, grilled cheese, chicken soup, fish sticks, barbecued chicken, chicken tenders, mac & cheese, taco, pizza, spaghetti & meatballs, teriyaki chicken and Korean barbecue beef) all priced at $6 each. There’s even a vegan, nut-free option.
But let’s talk about the big kids. The first thing your server will tell you about is the sheer number of beers, ales, lagers and other brews the restaurant carries. After all, the name of the place is the “Yard House,” a reference to a yard of ale. A yard of ale is a very tall beer glass that can usually accommodate a little more than a liter of beer. The glass is roughly 1 yard (1 meter) in length.
But I was there for the food and it didn’t disappoint. Who could resist an appetizer by the name of Pig Candy and Beef Jerky? I couldn’t. As you might expect, the Pig Candy is candied bacon with a kick and the Beef Jerky is a tender version of the stuff that’ll pull your teeth out. Both were simply excellent.
I’m a soupie, so a cup of the Clam Chowder ($4.45) was in order and it was superior — not a thick, pudding-like affair teeming with potatoes and no clams. Quite the contrary.
Then it was on to the Porcini-Crusted Halibut (Parmesan mashed potatoes, porcini cream sauce, white truffle oil, asparagus, bok choy) for $25.45. The fish was a little dry for me but, overall, a stunning and filling dish. The mashed potatoes are not to be missed.
For my dining partner, it was the 12ounce Rib Eye & Shrimp (spinach-corn-mashed potatoes, grilled tomato, broccolini, house made steak sauce) for $32.65. Wowie zowie! This was a winner — steak cooked perfectly to order and those fabulous mashed potatoes again.
One of the dessert specials was a fruit crumble that was less than memorable but the housemade coconut ice cream that topped it was superior.
The menu is extensive with lunch and dinner offerings that run the full gamut. I’m definitely going back. Although the place is huge, its warmth makes it feel cozy. If you’re into cooking, the kitchen is open, so you can watch to your heart’s content.
There are Gardein options — chicken substitute made from soy, wheat, pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains — in many guises and prepared several ways.
Walk-in seating is encouraged for parties of all sizes. There are limited reservations available for groups of 8 or more. Special arrangements can be made for groups of 30 or more. Best of all, there is an attached garage. Get your parking ticket validated for a discount. No more riding around and around looking for a parking spot! That, in itself, makes this place a go-to favorite. But, really, go for the food, not the parking!
1500 N Clybourn Ave., Chicago, IL 60610
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily
Happy Hour: 3-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 p.m. to close Sundays to Wednesdays