During the Phoenix Coyotes’ great 2012 playoff run (as of right now they’re down 3-1 against the Kings, but regardless of how the conference finals end – we’re still proud of you), we found someplace else to eat other than our usual hummus sandwich at Which Wich. It turns out Yard House, right outside the arena, has a complete Gardein menu! Who knew?
They don’t specify what is vegan and what is just vegetarian, and I appreciate the disclaimer on their site that they are not a vegan environment, but it’s far better than my usual “just give me some fries and a beer” when at a bar. During our visit they were way too slammed with playoff fans for me to be fussy and ask about each ingredient, but it was pretty easy to make educated guesses on what was “fairly safe” for vegans or not, based on the descriptions.
We arrived at Yard House about four hours before puck drop in an attempt to watch the New York Rangers playoff game on one of their tons of TVs before going in for the Coyotes game, to avoid an inevitable spoiler from the Jumbotron scoreboard. We asked to be seated by a TV showing the Rangers and they accommodated us, even when we threw a fit that someone else tried to change the channel. We felt bad taking a table for that long, but oh well. We killed time by getting an appetizer of the Gardein Boneless Wings.
We went with buffalo style, and they were plenty hot and a very generous portion. They are served with ranch dressing, so just put that aside if you’re vegan. I liked them quite a bit but my husband turned his nose up after eating a few. They were deep fried, fairly thick and coated in sauce, but once they cooled off they got too spongy, so there were a few left on the plate at the end. They don’t come close to how great Green’s or That’s a Wrap’s buffalo-style items are, but for veggie bar food, they were just fine.
About two hours later, we ordered our meal (yes, we tipped very well). I got a Spicy House Salad, but had them hold the Asian slaw because it sounded too vague and I didn’t want to ask.
It was fine – nothing to call home about but certainly palatable and healthier than the wings! I’d probably go for the mixed greens next time though as the dressing was a little too meh – kind of fake spicy and sugary with questionable contents.
The highlight of the meal by far and above was the Gardein Burger (and fries). I failed to get a photo because we ate it so fast. It was cooked well, and the fries were really great. You can substitute a Gardein burger for any of the burger options on the menu, but for vegans the only option was “just the burger and veggies please” – everything else looked non-vegan. We also avoided the roasted garlic aioli that comes with it since we didn’t want to ask questions. The sliders might also be an option, without the cheese and probably not the “special sauce.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the bun had egg in it, but there’s no indication on the menu/on their site.
While I won’t be bailing on Which Wich any time soon, it’s nice to know there’s another dining option near the arena when we are able to get to games early either in the finals or next season and want to hang out for awhile. Of course, that’s making a double assumption there will be a “next season” in Phoenix, given the ownership situation and the pending NHL CBA talks! Let’s Go Coyotes! And of course, Let’s Go Rangers! As of today, my dream of a NYR vs. PHX final is still alive!