The Gardner Ale House....GOOD FOOD? GOOD BEER?
Ok Gardner Massachusetts has a new restauarnt. not like they need anymore. They just need a good one. and maybe, just maybe they finally got one. ok ok now dont start sitting up on the edge of your seat too soon. First of all this place is very interesting, the decor is somewhat supposed to look like an old warehouse or factory. It has that industrial look with a touch of Irish Pub. I dont know if thats what they wanted but to me thats what it looks like. now this place finally opened in mid June, I went when they first opened and they were terrible but i was going to give them another chance. but I wanted to wait till they got on thier feet a little bit to go back again and when they finaly had items worthy of trying out on the menu. I went there and I was greeted after a minute or two by a sweet young hostess with a huge smile on her face, she proceded to show me to my table. To my surprise she pulled my chair out for me.. hmmm I wonder if she knew who I was? NAH I DONT THINK SO. I look at the menu and decide on some tasty appetizers to start with. I finally get a waitress to come to my table. The waitress is dressed in a green polo shirt. Kind of fits the atmosphere, but in my opinion it is not what waitstaff should be wearing.. I always believe in button shirt with tie for men and blouses for women. just my opinion. She asks to take my beverage order. I ask her for the signature Gardner Ale House Brew. mmmm sounds good to me. "I am sorry sir but the ale is not ready yet" NOT READY, how can it be not ready? you mean it wasnt ready when you opened, or did you run out. "No sir, the first batch isnt ready yet" ok if this were my restaurant this would have been one of the first priorities. I guess it has something to do with the name of the place being Gardner Ale House that you would think that they had their brew ready. anyways I just ask for a soda. she returns with my beverage and asks if i am ready to order yet. I tell her that I am ready to order appetizers. I order some plain chicken tenders, and nachos. (I was told later that I should have tried the Crab Dip) after about 15 minutes the nachos and tenders came. The tenders were a little on the dark side, but i guess that is because they use what looked like panko (japanese bread crumbs) and the nachos were meatless but looked delicious. the tenders were cooked perfectly and were juicy inside, but a little on the cold side. The nachos were absolutely delicous, they were covered with a blend of different melted cheeses with tomatoes, jalapenos, scallion, olives, and shredded lettuce. on the side was some homemade Pico di Gallo (type of salsa) oh my god that was delicous. oh I forgot to mention that I ordered my entree when she came with the appetizers. I ordered a cheeseburger and homemade fries. I typically order my burgers medium rare. when it came the burger was more on the well done side, than it was rare. but thats alright. The different seasonings that were in this burger made my tongue do a happy dance. but the saltiness of the fries made me want to shribble up and dry out. my guest for the evening ordred beer battered fish. The beer batter was delicous (which is also homemade from my understanding) but the fish was a little well maybe a lot undercooked. It was insisted upon that it was throughly cooked. yah sure. cooked fish is not slimy and usualy falls apart. anyway. This restuarant has its ups and downs. But I will admit that it has changed since my first visit. The food needs more attention to, as far as how it is prepared. and the waitstaff needs to be a litte more faster. Overall I do give this place 2 1/2 Forks Up out of 5.
Report here says they started serving their own beer last week.http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... When did you go?
For the sake and love of good beer, I'm going to give them some leeway on the beer and not write them off right away. Its not easy starting up a brewpub and I would rather see them take the time to get things right then have them rush out a half assed product. Time will tell, how this brewpub does, not one or two visits in the early going.
There are other good microbrews on tap as well while they get their beer going, did you try one of those?
I have been back to the Gardner Ale House, but have not done a review for it yet. I will be dining here in one of the upcoming months. I do however think that they have improved dramatically since my first visit. I really did enjoy my last visit there back in June when I was accompanied by my wife and her friends for a get together. If you want check out my myspace site. Just look up TheFoodieCritic on Myspace.com