Yard House @ The Banks – 06/16/2013 ****

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Yard House is a mecca for draft beer lovers.  Their variety and quality of the selections is better than any other bar or restaurant we’ve been to.  Taking it’s name from the 3-foot-tall glass containers originally designed in Great Britain and used to hand stagecoach drivers after a long journey by horse drawn carriage. Each Yard House location features a center island bar and an endless fleet of tap handles ranging from classic lagers to more obscure ales.  The architecture of the Yard House is very modern.  Steel, glass, copper, and architectural concrete are used throughout.  Mesh grids mounted to the exterior walls provide a climbing surface for vines which will become a living wall as the vines grow to the top.  Flat screen TVs surround the entire inside and patio outside playing current sporting events or news stations.  The best selection of classic rock tunes play in the background.

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Beyond the draft selections they have an extensive menu with pretty much any type of dish you can think of.   We typically prefer multiple small dishes vs. one larger dish, so the variety of tapas and appetizers was great to see.  Vegetarians rejoice, there are plenty of selections and even a “gardein” meat substitute menu and gluten sensitive items.

For appetizers, we tried out the Lettuce Wraps with tofu, pine nuts, and chicken served in a crunchy tortilla shell.  It comes with three dipping sauces – spicy peanut sauce, sweet honey chile sauce, and a thai chile sauce.  The presentation and flavor was very good.  The variety of sauces were great because you could adjust the flavor from sweet to spicy.

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Next up were the Street Tacos – Grilled Korean Pork Belly and Grilled Korean Beef Short Rib.  Both were good but not exceptional, and a bit too spicy.

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For a salad we ordered their Caesar side salad which came topped with croutons and parmesan crisps.  The taste and texture was very good especially with the parmesan crisps.

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The main course was a Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Avacado and Bacon with Tomatoe Bisque.  This came with an amazing mix of cheddar, gorgonzola, swiss and fontina cheeses on crunchy artisan bread.  This was an exceptional grilled cheese!  The bisque was a bit too sweet though.

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We also had the Surf and Turf Burger with asparagus, lobster, and tomatoes with sweet potato fries and house made honey maple dipping sauce.  This was a great twist on the surf and turf concept by serving the lobster as a burger topping.  Very good!

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Yard House is a great spot for grabbing a drink after the Reds or Bengals game.  The outdoor patio area is open and airy overlooking the Roebling suspension bridge and the river.  Yard House earns a solid 4 out of 5 stars for their excellent selection of draft beers, food menu, and laid back atmosphere.  The main course took a while to get out from the kitchen, but having appetizers before hand helped bridge the gap between dishes.

http://www.yardhouse.com/OH/cincinnati-restaurant/

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