Big in Roseville

Yard House

1166 Roseville Pkwy.
Roseville, CA 95678

Everything about Yard House is big. It’s a big brick building in the big Fountains at Roseville shopping center. It has a big, covered open-air patio with four big silver industrial-strength fans and a big green tree in the middle. There’s a very big metal-topped bar and big noise from music blasting from the ceiling. Combined with the wall-to-wall crowd, there’s a big cacophony, mildly lessened by eating outside in the big open-air patio. A couple I know—still heart deep in the lovey-dovey mode—chose Yard House for a date. Hard to imagine any tête-à-tête without one’s mouth to the other’s ear, which might not be so bad, despite having to shout their orders at the server.

The beers are big, even the samplers. Some—go figure—can be served in those big vase-shaped “yard” glasses. The front doors have big silver yard-glass handles that look like blunderbusses. On the menu, there’s a big selection of wines and designer martinis. A big list of entrees: Yard House specials, burgers, pizza, seafood, steak. Even a big selection of garden offerings; and a trademarked soy, wheat and so forth meat substitute.

The selection of on-tap beers is bigger than big. There are selections of Hefeweizen, wheat, porter, pale, stout, brown, honey, Belgian, hybrid—do they go farther on one pint?—Pilsner, amber, bock. Big Sky Brewing Co. Moose Drool. Humboldt Brewing Co. Hemp Ale. Rogue Dead Guy Ale. At 140 strong, the selection might be fairly described as bodacious. There’s a big windowed room across from the big bar crowded with big silver kegs to feed the big lines of spigots.

Also bordering on the Brobdingnagian is the serving staff, which, at the moment, hovers around 90 and, according to two servers, needs about 30 more folk to be primo. Yard House is a big practitioner of solicitous team table waiting. On one visit, Jesse takes the order, someone else delivers the French onion soup, yet another the barbecue chicken salad while two others unload the beverages. It’s the same deal on other visits. Christopher takes the order, someone else brings the street-taco appetizer, another the pear cider, another the club soda, and yet another the garlic prawns. If there were the tiniest amount of stomach real estate available after attempting to complete what Jesse calls “ridiculous” portions, no doubt someone else would bring the dessert. To clarify: In this usage, ridiculous is a synonym for monstrous, trending toward gargantuan.

It can be a big hassle to find parking, although that’s not exactly without precedent at Fountains. And there’s a big wait—45 minutes on a Thursday. This despite seating for 600, which means there is likely a titanic weeknight volume of some 1,000 diners. In turn, that suggests despite a big bottom-line, Yard House is pulling down a big profit.

As to the food, starting at the bottom and working up: The French onion soup is pedestrian—nothing to slap the palate silly like Revolution Wines’ version. There’s also more cheese and bread than broth and onions. It’s 365 calories a cup, according to Yard House’s website. While colossal, the 1,665-calorie barbecue chicken salad—there’s a reason the calorie count is not on the menu—has disparate ingredients that combine artfully. Avocado, corn, pasilla, cheddar, jack, tortilla strips, tomato, pinto beans, cilantro, fried lace onions with chipotle ranch and smears of citrus barbecue sauce along the capacious bowl’s sides. There must be chicken in there somewhere? Even after eating more than enough, more bites are taken.

The chicken tinga street taco has a bit of a kick but nothing as pleasurable as the slyly accelerating afterburn of the Indonesian rice—a serving roughly the size of a tribal burial mound. There are small pools of peanut sauce surrounding the mound on top which is two lemongrass stalks holding three seriously jumbo shrimps. A mere 1,335 calories. The sweet chili sauce enhances both the rice and shrimp.

Overall, Yard House is over-the-top, a bit overwhelming and mustn’t be overlooked.