Bites beyond the pale
Out of Bounds Craft Kitchen and Biergarten
Folsom, CA 95630
As I marinate in after-work traffic on Highway 50, my annoyance grows at how far Out of Bounds Craft Kitchen and Biergarten, a recently opened Folsom outpost of the Rocklin-based brewery, is from my downtown home. Exiting the freeway, the traffic clears but we still have a couple of miles to go, past generic strip malls and gated communities. My judgment swells as we finally park a ways away. The parking lot is packed, and we enter the restaurant to a crowd of folks in Volcom snapbacks and white fedoras. I feel regret at straying from my usual grid and South Sac food playground as the smiling hostess informs our hangry party of four that the wait will be 45 minutes and that, “We’re always busy.”
But then I try my first beer and the regret dissipates. It’s the Meander 6 Mosaic IPA, and damned if it isn’t a superlative example of the form. It’s crisp and lacking the logy sweetness that can sometimes bog down brews loaded up with mosaic hops. My husband, thinking to get us some bar snacks while we wait, orders two “Pretzillas,” at $13 a pop.
A high-top table for four clears up within moments, apparently not subject to a wait, so we are seated and brewed up within five minutes of stepping in. The toasty, buttery Pretzillas arrive, hanging on metal racks, not as huge as you would think for the price and accompanied by bland sauces.
The Out of Bounds Craft Burger ($16), topped with “Peruvian” potato chips, is far too tall for me to bite, as I regrettably lack a snake-like jaw. Once it is de-chipped and smashed into a reasonable size, the smoky cheddar and juicy Angus beef dominate, and it’s only four pickle slices away from greatness.
All pub-grub nachos are to be judged against the pulled pork nachos at Pangaea Bier Cafe on Franklin Boulevard. With its right-on combo of liquid cheese and melted cheese, Out of Bounds’ version comes up short. They are widely ignored by our party after the three-cheese blend turns to cold clogs.
The large serving of Blackened Mahi-Mahi “Street” Tacos (not sure what makes $15 tacos “street” exactly) are un-pick-up-ably piled with microgreens, mango salsa, and red and green cabbage. The fish tastes strongly of chili powder, and the dish, like the burger, again lacks acidity and brightness.
A surprise star is Mary’s Grilled Chicken & Kale Bowl ($14 and gluten-free), made with dense, chewy black rice and dressed with a lightly sweet and thick balsamic reduction. This dish has umami to spare and would be at home on the menu of a healthy spot like Backbone Café.
No current brewery beer list is complete without a hazy Northeast-style beer, in this case the Hazer Lazer, a pale with a strong lemongrass note. I take home two fresh crowlers (32-ounce cans), one Hazer Lazer and one Meander 6 Mosaic, to enjoy later at home.
Will I be back? Probably not, unless a designated driver volunteers to take me. Would I hit it up for some brews and a chicken bowl if it was downtown? Hell yeah!