Night on the Town? Head to Austin's Yard House to Start the Night Off Right
The Rock Rose District in The Domain is exploding into a destination for fun and shenanigans. With bars, take out windows for quick meals, and numerous restaurants this 2 block section has become a great area for nightlife. I’ve already hit the spot a few times with various members of “my crew” and will continue to do so while it remains a safe, sane place to have a good time with people over age 25. That said, you don’t often want to “hit the club” too early, so it’s nice to find a place to kick off the night with a “happy hour” and Yard House is just the right place for that. [review]
My wife and I had a chance to be a part of the “pre-opening” event, but I immediately saw the potential for this place to be the ultimate party night starter, so I was excited when Yard House invited me back as its guest. I immediately asked them if they would allow me to put them to the test for how I best envisioned this place: a place to start your night off right. Thankfully, they took me up on it.
I admit this test stretched beyond what I, and they, expected initially. I originally made a reservation for about 10, but by the time we arrived we were rolling about 25 strong at 7 p.m. on a Friday. Initially there was a bit of fear in the eyes of our server, but he huddled with his GM and the server manning the next couple of tables over. The pushed a few more tables together and this created the super server duo of Cory and Josh. These guys did a tremendous job over the 2.5 hours we were there.
With small groups coming and going, people moving from seat to seat, and various aspects of the dinner service being ordered throughout the night, there was a lot going on but our servers impressed us all with their professionalism. I appreciate the truly good spirit these guys kept through the evening and the flexibility they had with our group.
The drink menu at this place would keep any group of friends satisfied, with over 100 beers, as well as dozens of various mixed drinks and wines available. Every person in my group ordered something different and yet everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy whatever they ordered. From a rarely found beer, to traditional mixed drinks, to refreshing variations of well-known cocktails. My choice for the evening was an ole ’43- think an old-fashioned with a citrusy twist to it.
With a drink or two in us each we were ready to start working on appetizers. All said, we ordered about 10 to 12 varieties through the evening. Hosting this little soirée allowed me to grab a pic and even try pretty much all of them. My personal favorites of the evening were the deviled eggs with candied bacon and a spicy marinara as well as the queso with bacon chorizo. Other hits for the night included crispy duck wings, mo-shu egg rolls, and duck fat potatoes. This is a seriously large menu, with tons of solid choices and in the appetizers/starter/snack categories you almost can’t go wrong.
With appetizers thinning out we were ready to order our entrées. I saw all kinds of things ordered across the table ― burgers, sandwiches, salads, pastas, steaks, tacos, and much more.
I would stick with more classic bar foods like burgers, sandwiches, tacos, etc. I ordered a ribeye and shrimp per my server’s recommendation and was underwhelmed, but to be honest that was my poor judgment.
Knowing what type of place this is I should have chosen something that I know would be executed well. My wife had a pastrami Benedict burger which was excellent and others who stayed in the vein of the sandwich, burger, taco realm all seemed to be very pleased. One couple split a chicken rice bowl they raved about, so it’s this isn’t a hard and fast rule.
I would say overall the drinks, atmosphere, servers, and group hosting capability here sits about 8 or 9 out of 10 with the food coming in at 7 or 8, depending on your order. I will probably meet up with a group here again before hitting the rest of Rock Rose. Don’t hesitate to do the same for your group of friends as well, but be sure to call ahead and let them know exactly how many you’ll have.
Thanks again to Yard House for hosting our large group pretty much on the fly and delivering a great experience for all of us, and great job Josh and Cory with our group.
For more Austin, TX dining and travel news, click here.