Culinary Dropout at The Yard in Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card
The Spot: Culinary Dropout at The Yard, 5632 North Seventh Street Phoenix, 602-680-4040, http://www.foxrc.com/.
Heather Hoch Which one of these is not a happy hour deal?
The Hours: Happy Hour is offered from Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.
The Interior: The feeling of a Fox Restaurant Concepts joint is unmistakable. All style, little authenticity and constantly cashing in on its own hip shell -- kind of like its core customer base. The Yard isn't much different, although you can play ping-pong and cornhole here. They have the market cornered on inattentive attractive male servers in dapper outfits, but we kind of dropped that fantasy when we graduated high school. It's a pretty restaurant and that's what it does well.
Unfortunately, they don't spend as much time worrying about the rest of the joint. Case in point, they take reservations for the high tops around the bar, which, beside the bar itself, is the only place to get happy hour deals. We waited 20 minutes to get seated at one that had been reserved for a party that never came, even though time is of the essence for happy hour patrons.
The Food: After going to Culinary Dropout's original Scottsdale location and being disappointed by the food quality to pricing ratio, we don't know why we expected anything much different. The small chopped salad with avocado chunks, corn and beets was all right, but not worth $6 when that's supposed to be a deal. The Korean beef skewer was actually good, medium-rare, delicately spiced and impressive. But we were not impressed by the $6 price tag for one skewer.
Heather Hoch Chopped salad and Korean beef options are both $6 during happy hour.
On the good side, their ever-changing chef's choice Antipasti plate for $6 was a good deal. Our sample included crostini, olives, pickled peppers, Prairie Breeze cheddar, breadsticks and culatello prosciutto--a nice spread for a reasonable price. Although the salted caramel custard doesn't have happy hour pricing, we had to get some because that's the one dish we know CD does right. The creamy, sweet, salty and smooth custard, topped with housemade caramel corn, is well worth the $7 price tag.
The Drink: While The Yard offers a lot of yummy signature cocktails on their "Vices" menu, you won't be getting a tequila and tangy El Matador at a discounted rate during happy hour. You can choose from $3 mug beer, $4 well cocktails and $6 "double blinds", which is a beer and a shot. Mugs can either be Guinness, Stella, San Tan's Epicenter or Oskar Blue's Dale's Pale Ale, although their full draft beer menu has more options.
The Conclusion: If you want to check out this new spot, go soon. It's mostly outside and will likely be unbearably hot for the most part in about a month. The service isn't great and we didn't like having to valet park. The food is exactly what you'd expect from Fox, not great and certainly not worth the price, and the drink offerings are pretty stingy.