“How did you know that was frozen?”
My 13-year-old daughter’s friend was asking about the tuna dish I’d just tried at Yard House, and that the waiter had just confirmed was, in fact, made with frozen tuna.
“Because I’m a badass,” I told her.
O.K., maybe I’m not that much of a badass, but my kids and wife were totally impressed, even if they insisted they weren’t and acted completely indifferent to the entire thing. I knew they were thinking I was cool though.
Anyway, the specific dish I’d tried was my daughter’s spicy tuna roll. Which, at Yard House, is a cake, not a roll, and it’s a hearty sized cake at that. Seared rare spicy ahi tuna, avocado, cucumber, edamame (which I could have done without, even if I enjoy it in other contexts) and a wasabi-soy sauce ’round the plate.
Now, I’m not the guy that orders sushi at a what amounts to a gigantic chain bar/pickup joint, but I was perfectly happy to try Nina’s crazy-ass choice. And you know what? It was pretty good. The flavor was just dandy, and the portion was quite large.
Texturally though, I just wasn’t digging it. The tuna was completely flaccid and, combined with the spicy mayo, or whatever sauce was mixed with the chopped tuna, it just turned into a kind of mush. Like sushi baby food. And that, regardless of how big a badass I may or may not be, was how I knew it was frozen ahi.
But to be completely honest, for the 12 bucks it cost, it was a pretty solid bargain, and my daughter loved it, so I really don’t have too much bad to say about the thing. Unlike the Cuban roast pork dip that I ordered.
I saw this thing in a written up in a cheesy article from what I suspect was a pay-to-play rag (I should have written down the name to check) when I was on my way to the can. It was framed and hanging on the wall (the article, not the can), and I stopped to give it a read. Whomever the executive chef is explained how they came up with the idea, and that they thought it was unique and had the makings of a signature dish.
And look: when you use the words Cuban and pork and dip all in the same food description, I’d tend to believe that’s possible. Unfortunately, this particular dish isn’t one I’d want known as a signature anything at a place I ran.
The garlic aioli, roasted tomatoes, and pickle slices ganged up to completely overwhelm the flavor of the pork, which was under-seasoned anyway. Things got worse when I dipped it in the “bbq au jus,” which was so salty that the Dead Sea would have hung its head in shame after tasting it. Bottom line: they killed what should have been the star of the thing: the pork.
On the upside, the draft Franziskaner I ordered, both the Hefe-Dunkel and the Hefe-Weisse (I had one pint of each), were spectacular. I was hipped to Franziskaner by Gene from the mighty Lake Worth band Kill Now?! a few weeks ago, and I am forever in his debt: I’d shamefully never tried this tremendous brew.
But in the end, that’s really what people should go to Yard House for: a great selection of draft beers. The fact that the burgers are passable and the spicy tuna is pretty good (even if it is frozen) is just icing on the cake.
Just stay away from that pork thing, because it sucks.