I’ve been to The Yardhouse at Merrick Park a number of times and my experience has been quite varied.
The Yardhouse is in the Merrick Park square of mostly luxurious stores (Tiffany’s, Jimmy Choo, La Perla etc), and my personal favorite restaurant there is Il Villaggio – I’ll write about that another time.
However there’s times, like when Il Villaggio has been bursting at the seams with business at lunchtime, that I’ve ended up at The Yardhouse. My experiences at The Yardhouse have been like this;
1. Late one night I ended up there with a bunch of friends and bizarrely it was Happy Hour. They have two a day during weekdays. We loved the appetizers we chose, mine was rice with tuna and guacamole on top. Very filling.
2. The second time I went alone, sat at the bar, the bar man wasn’t too friendly, I ordered the same appetizer as before, it wasn’t too filling so I ordered the Shitake Mushroom Noodles too – delicious. So with two orders I had enough to eat. I hate having to order multiple courses to feel full. It’s OK when you’re eating mezze, say, or going out for a more formal meal. But generally during the middle of the day I like to order one course.
3. This was the bummer. Lousy bar staff and a lunchtime special (asian chicken) salad which very wasn’t filling. A really unsatisfactory experience, I complained to customer service and management and I have to say their response was admirable, an oasis of caring in Miami where, strangely enough, a lot of businesses act like they don’t want your business at all. Really.
4. Yesterday. Mixed.
My friend and her two kids and I went to The Yardhouse early Sat. afternoon at my suggestion. Alex and I ordered martinis immediately – she had a lemon drop, I ordered an expresstini, a coffee flavored martini, as The Yardhouse don’t make my favorite which is chocolate martinis. Nice drinks, but my glass definitely could have been more full. Next round my friend was seduced into having the expresstini too, she liked it. I had the same again.
Our waiter was very charming, and patient with our slowness at ordering and our two rambuctious kids ( Yolanda, 4, and Richard, 7). This was our order;
Richard – hot dog with fries plus pepperoni pizza off the kids’ menu. Yes really, two meals. He ate a lot of it and he’s a skinny kid.
Yolanda – her perennial favorite, macaroni cheese.
They both drank milk with that.
Mummy Alex had tortilla chicken soup for a starter, then a seared tuna salad.
I had a turkey cobb salad.
We all enjoyed our food, no complaints there. If the hot dog came with saukercraut on the adults menu I would definitely order that another time. It was big and very meaty looking.
The kids chose off the kids’ menu, a very enjoyable affair of a paper kids coloring book with the kids’ menu printed on the back and on the front, which surprised me, it wasn’t The Yardhouse brand which was really pushed but the fact that it was an ecological booklet. Along with the booklet came a small package of crayons which had ‘The Yardhouse’ on the front of it.
Such solicitude in serving kids was a surprise to us – we had wondered if The Yardhouse would even be happy about us taking kids there. It is an adult-looking place with lots of dark wood, TV screens that show sports and an impressive variety of beer. The Yardhouse is known for it’s huge selection of beers.
So imagine my surprise when I took Yolanda to the bathroom and I had to lift her to be able to reach across the huge metal trough which was the sink in the women’s bathroom so that she could wash her hands. A big disconnection in purpose there. What’re they thinking, they’re going to get giant kids? But of course they’re not thinking.
The last decisive element was the price. Our bill came to $126 – I gave them $150 with tip. OK Alex and I also downed huge yards of delicious beer too, but still it felt like an expensive bill for a place that doesn’t feel like a traditional restaurant, unlike it’s competitor Il Villagio across the way.
So $150 for four of us it felt expensive, which is exactly what Alex’s expectation had been of the place; ‘Hmmm, I heard it’s nice but expensive.’.
$150 for a nice lunch with two kids felt like too much, despite we had a few drinks.
Right afterwards I took Alex to Il Villaggio and we had chocolate martinis for $4 less each than the martinis we’d had at The Yardhouse. Cheaper and I have to say they tasted better and with more alcohol too.
So – The Yardhouse is fun, enjoyable. It just usually ends up costing more than you would expect it to be. Also beware the ‘goblets’ that choice beers are often served in. They look like wine glasses and in no way compare to a pint glass!