Hiya Foodie Friends,

With so many places to dine in Boca, a restaurant’s gotta do what a restaurant’s gotta do to keep their name in the forefront of their fans and do whatever it takes to lure new ones in. This was the case for me and Yard House. I received an invite from the PR firm representing the restaurant to come check out some of their new menu items as well as their new collection of handcrafted cocktails that launched earlier this month. The Yard House nearest me is the one in Mizner Park in Boca Raton. I had been to Yard House in the past, but it had been a while.

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Yard House, an award-winning restaurant known for its creative cuisine and vast selection of draft beer, debuted its collection of new handcrafted cocktails using premium spirits and its own house-made citrus agave blend coupled with seasonal fruits and veggies nationwide July 13th.

“The art of cocktailing has returned,” said Gregory Howard, manager of beverage for Yard House.  “In recent years shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire have given new life to long forgotten drinks.  Just like a good meal, creating a great cocktail also requires using premium ingredients as well as a seasoned bartender who knows his or her craft.” Howard and his team collaborated with Executive Chef Carlito Jocson in creating the new cocktail collection, which includes:

  • Blood & Smoke – a blood orange and ancho chili spiced margarita made with Del Maguey “Vida” Mezcal, El Jimador Silver Tequila, Ancho Reyes, Monin Blood Orange, house-made citrus agave and aromatic bitters poured into a salt-rimmed glass
  • Bourbon Berry Sour – made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, house-made citrus agave, Dekuyper Razzmatazz, orange bitters with fresh raspberries for added sweetness
  • Hibiscus Rose – a refreshing herbal and botanical gin martini featuring Bulldog Gin, St. Germain & Lillet Blanc with orange bitters and Monin Hibiscus
  • Sidecar – this classic cocktail steps into the 21st century with D’Ussé VSOP Cognac, Cointreau and house-made citrus agave poured into a glass rimmed with sugar
  • Cucumber Citrus Tonic – a spa-like drink made with Bulldog Gin, Aperol, house-made citrus agave, tonic, freshly-sliced cucumber and orange plus orange bitters

“Just like food and fashion, cocktails are constantly evolving,” added Howard.  “Pop culture tends to play a role in what is currently trending.  Look what Sex and The City did for the Cosmopolitan a decade ago.”

The moment we stepped inside, I was instantly reminded that they keep the temperature set really cool in there, so if you get cold easily, here’s a tip: bring a sweater or jacket. That said, once we ordered their awesome cocktails, our internal body temperatures began to rise, lol! Soon after being shown to our table by the friendly hostess, our server Cassandra came over to introduce herself and presented us with our menus. Following came Lisa, our head server and Associate GM, Christian.  Christian was eager for us to try some of their new menu items and asked if it was okay for him to have a bunch sent out.  Uh…let me think about it…heck yeah! I love it when the restaurant takes the initiative and presents us with their own tasting menu.

The first two cocktails that Christian had sent out for us to try were the Bourbon Berry Sour and the Cucumber Citrus Tonic.  Admittedly not much of a Bourbon drinker, I was certain that I would end up with the Cucumber Citrus Tonic, which with its fresh bits of orange and cucumber was rather “spa-like”, but I surprised myself by commandeering the Bourbon Berry Sour. The combination of the sour mix, the Razzmatazz and fresh raspberries made it palpable and quite a nice concoction.

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Off to a great start, Lisa began to deliver the “House Previews” (the featured new menu items): Nashville Hot Chicken, Crispy Duck Wings, Deviled Eggs and the California Roll.

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The Nashville Hot Chicken was Ah-mazing! Be forewarned: it does have a little bit of a kick to it. A self proclaimed wimp when it comes to heat, I still enjoyed it immensely. I have really been working on toughening up my tastebuds in order to build up a better tolerance and I think it has finally paid off, lol! I like the thought that went into the creation of this dish very much. The chicken was seasoned and cooked perfectly and  came with a side of sweet potato pancakes (a nice twist from the overplayed chicken & waffles). Sides of buttermilk dressing and honey hot sauce, the consistency of syrup were offered as well as pickles and crispy sage. Every component on the dish played nicely together to create a cohesive and tasty dish.

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Another really cool new item was the Crispy Duck Wings. I never heard of such a thing but what a brilliant idea. The wings were topped with a delicious maple glaze and sesame seeds and came with an herb salad.

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Another popular item found on many menus these days are Deviled Eggs. Here at Yard House, of course theirs are prepared with a unique twist. Candied bacon (which is always a hit with me on its own or as a topping), spicy tomato sauce (now this is definitely different), sweet chili and chives. Although I applaud them on their creativity, to me the sauce made it a little too runny and was a bit messy in execution.

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The star of the night was the California Roll. I have to admit, being an expert sushi eater, I usually pass on California Rolls seeing them as the roll of choice for amateurs. But hold your horses guys…this one will blow your taste buds away, I promise! First of all, they break out of the traditional 8 piece roll. Served atop a disc of crispy rice (yum), are layers of crab, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, serranos, masago, nori, mirin soy and cilantro. It gets two thumbs up on creativity and taste for sure.

Yard House is open daily for lunch, dinner and late-night dining.  For more information, visit www.yardhouse.com or follow them on Facebook or on Twitter.

Until we eat again…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise