Looking for that neighborhood joint that lets you laze in the sun as you sip a microbrew, munch on tasty Mexican and pub fare and keep tabs on a Mariners game?
The Yard Cafe is that kind of hangout. To spot this ultracasual Greenwood bar and bistro just off busy N., 85th Street, be on alert for the sign — or you might think this fenced-in spot with a grouping of picnic tables is, yes, somebody’s no-frills yard.
Actually, it’s a joint with an open patio, a small sports bar and another area of tucked-away indoor seating that nobody bothers with in sunny weather. There’s good grub, and 18 microbrews on tap. And while the scene is lively at night, summer is the time for lingering over patio brunches and lunches (the service isn’t always pronto here).
The lunch/dinner menu lists some big-fisted sandwiches, including grilled chicken breast with bacon, guacamole and Swiss cheese ($11) and a quarter-pounder Yard Burger with pico de gallo, aioli and butter lettuce ($11), as well as savory bar bites, such as roasted, chili-spiced Spanish peanuts and pumpkin seeds ($3.50) and excellent house-made tortilla chips, with chunky guacamole, bean dip or three salsas ($5.00)
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The Mexican fare runs from melted-cheese dishes, like the Alambre 8 with queso over beans, peppers and onions ($8) to fresh, fat tacos ($3.50-$4) to hearty plates of Vera Cruz-style fish ($15) and stewed pork chile verde ($14). Among the brunch dishes (weekends only) are chiliaquiles in green sauce topped with eggs ($9).
What to write home about: Anything with the excellent pork carnitas (braised shredded pork) including the taco ($3.50) or the brunch carnitas hash, with potatoes, peppers and two poached eggs ($11). Also delicious, and filling, is the well-seasoned arroz con pollo of chicken breast and red rice topped with melted cheese ($14).
What to skip: Homemade potato chips were lukewarm, greasy ($3).
The setting: Rustic and basic with most seating on stools and benches, a TV by the bar and a relaxed, open-air vibe.
Summing up: A taco plate ($7.50); an order of arroz con pollo ($14); an order of Alambre 8 ($8) and sides of chips and guacamole ($4) and potato chips ($3) came to $36.50 before tax or tip, and fed two with leftovers.
Misha Berson: email@example.com