Posted by: Sean Carter | July 8, 2013

#141: Gordon Biersch Tavern

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Right back to the Galleria for this one.  A couple friends and i tried out the Gordon Biersch Tavern finally.  I’ve been curious about this since it first went in.  Apparently Gordon Biersch restaurants are no new thing, though I’ve never seen one.  This little mini tavern location, however, is the first of it’s kind for Gordon Biersch.  The menu carries a small selection from the mothership, in addition to four (plus one rotating seasonal tap) of it’s own beers.

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Located at the top of the escalators nearest the food court and opposite the carrousel, you just walk in a grab a seat.  There are regular tables, taller pub-style tables and a smallish bar.  It was about 3:45pm on Sunday when we arrived and the place was jam packed.  There were a couple 2-seater tables available but we waited probably 10-15 minutes for something that would fit the three of us to open up.  We pounced on it as soon as it did.  After a couple minutes our server came by to introduce herself and take our drink orders.  We all asked for waters and I asked her to wipe down one of the tables we had pulled together.  The waters came soon, and she realized she forgot about the table and came back again to wipe it down.  We hadn’t quite gotten into the menus yet so I told her we’d need a few more minutes.  The Gordon Biersch website said that the Tavern carries a limited selection of signature items, and limited it is (PDF).  I had already seen a photo of it that someone posted online earlier, but it was surprising to my friends.  There are essentially 8 food items as well as a kid’s combo.  Together we ordered over half of the menu.

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I think I’ve only ever had Gordon Biersch’s Hefeweizen, so I thought I’d try another here since I don’t seem to see them too often.  I picked out the Märzen [$5] which is described as “a smooth, mildly sweet, auburn colored lager.”  I knew I wanted to try out the garlic fries, so that was a definite choice [$2.50].  I was kind of in the mood for a fish taco, so I picked that out [$4.95], and to finish off my order I also got 3 sliders (option of American-Style Kobe or USDA Choice Beef) [$6.95, ($9.95 for the American-Style Kobe)].  I was pretty hungry.  Our server came back after a while and we placed our orders.  My beer came relatively quickly and we spent the next 10 minutes chatting and people watching.  If the Galleria has just one thing going, it’s great people watching.  The Gordon Biersch Tavern is an excellent place for the activity since you can hang out in comfort and enjoy a beer.  They have a few TVs showing various sports.  One of these was about three inches above my head behind me, which had me wondering why a bunch of people were staring at my hair for a few minutes.

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Our food arrived in a few trips, and soon we had 5 largish baskets with each item on it.  They had a one-size fits all approach with these baskets, and only the fries seemed comfortable and where they belonged on theirs.  The other items felt small and surrounded by empty space.  My taco was the worst off I think, all alone and propped up along the edge.  I wish I had thought to take a wider shot of each one.  It just felt weird.  The plating (if you can call it that) aside, everything looked pretty good.  My friend’s roasted turkey sandwich (with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and Swiss cheese on toasted sourdough bread [$7.95]) was piled high with thin slices of cold turkey.  She said she loved it, despite having preferred a hot sandwich.  My other friend’s GB Cheeseburger (USDA Choice 8oz steak burger served with lettuce, tomato and choice of cheddar, Swiss or pepper jack cheese on a challah bun [$7.95]) had a nice melty slice of cheese over it and the whole thing looked very juicy.  He raved about it several times.

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My fish taco (signature housemade taco with mahi mahi, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, spicy remoulade and pico de gallo in a crisp blue corn tortilla, wrapped with a soft flour tortilla) was pretty damn awesome.  There was quite a lot more mahi mahi than the first photo let on, so I took another once I had bitten in to reveal some more.  The pepper jack and spicy remoulade gave it a nice creamy zing.  I liked the combination of crisp corn and soft flour tortillas for some contrast in texture.  I was very happy with this fish taco, though $5 seemed a little steep.

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Moving on, my sliders (tender mini burgers on housemade rolls with a kosher dill pickle and creamy mustard sauce) looked pretty boring at a glance.  My first bite into one, however, dispelled that notion very quickly.  That bite was a rush of flavors, from the well seasoned and cooked beef to the awesome mustard (which I had forgotten about and thought was mayo due to how white it was) and the dill pickle.  Everything about these was fantastic, and if they were any indication of the GB Cheeseburger, I can understand the raving about it.  Like the taco however, I felt these were a touch pricey for the portion.

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Finally the garlic fries.  These were the last to arrive at the table behind the others by about a minute.  I think I smelled them before I saw them.  I was pretty much punched in the face with a wall garlic.  As I mentioned, this was the only full-looking basket.  There were a lot of fries, some thinly coated with a shiny garlic oil, and big clumps of chopped garlic covering others.  These were crispy just the way I love and absolutely fantastic overall.

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My Märzen was wonderful, crisp and refreshing with a nice malty finish.  I would definitely order this again.  Cool glass too.

I have to say, I was really, really impressed by this place.  I figured it would have decent food but be more about their beers.  Each of the three things I had were fantastic and I enjoyed every bite.  The only real negative is the price for what you get.  This may simply be due to it’s prime location in the Galleria.  Of everything though, the fries were the one thing I actually would have paid more for.  They were just $2.50 for easily the largest portion by at least double the next biggest item we had ordered.  Anyway, I can see myself eating here again for certain, and it makes me want to try out one of their full-on restaurants.  Hopefully we’ll get one nearby eventually, otherwise it’s a trip to the Bay Area for the closest ones.

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