Yard House, the award-winning restaurant known for its creative cuisine and vast selection of draft beer, has added a pair of new items to its menu of American fare while updating several signature items with the use of new ingredients, textures, flavors, and presentations.
Joining the restaurant’s list of House Favorites is the new Nashville Hot Chicken, a dish that was inspired by executive chef Carlito Jocson’s recent visit to Tennessee. According to local lore, Thorton Prince, the originator of the recipe, was served a dish of fried chicken doused with extra pepper after a late night out on the town. It was meant more as a punishment than a culinary awakening, but he enjoyed it so much that Prince and his brothers played with the recipe until they perfected it. A short time later, the brothers opened their own Nashville chicken shack in the mid-1930s and it is still going strong today.
“Hot Chicken is to Nashville what fish tacos are to Southern California or Buffalo wings are to Upstate New York” says chef Jocson. “They’re legendary. I immediately fell in love with Nashville Hot Chicken at first bite and I think it will be a popular addition to our menu.”
While Nashville inspired Yard House’s version of Hot Chicken, Jocson has put his own culinary touch on the nearly 80-year-old dish, which includes a skinless breast that is battered and deep fried then bathed in a blend of spices that include chipotle powder, pepper for heat, and brown sugar for a little sweetness. Accompanying the hot chicken are sweet potato pancakes, pickles, ranch dressing, and honey hot sauce for a hot and cool effect.
Joining Yard House’s famed list of appetizers are Crispy Duck Wings, a dish Jocson discovered while visiting Portland, Oregon.
“Whenever anyone mentions wings immediately it’s the Buffalo version that comes to mind,” adds Chef Jocson. “Classic chicken wings tossed in a tangy sauce, which is a great dish but not the only way to enjoy wings—just the most popular.”
Duck wings are slightly more gamey then traditional chicken wings. Chef Jocson’s duck wings are fried then tossed with a maple sambal soy glaze and toasted sesame seeds then served with an herb salad featuring cilantro, basil, and mint with red onion.
In addition to the new menu items, Yard House has also updated some of its signature items. The Deviled Egg trio is now served as a quartet with the larger portion featuring the familiar flavors of spicy tomato and sweet chili sauce with some new added flavor from the candied bacon. The sliced Grilled Korean Pork Belly had been updated with kimchi sour cream and green onions along with kimchi salad and red chili, while the Southern Fried Chicken, a classic comfort food, is even more comforting with the addition of creamed corn, barbecue beans, and spinach mashed potatoes served with bourbon gravy. The Cobb Salad, originally offered with turkey only, now has several meat and seafood options for guests to select from, including shrimp, chicken, skirt steak, or salmon. Kale now joins its more traditional counterpart—romaine lettuce—to create an updated version of this classic favorite. Additional produce includes baby sweet tomatoes, edamame, carrots, and radishes along with egg and Bleu cheese tossed with corn and ranch dressing.
Finally the California Roll, a staple on the Yard House menu for most of the restaurant’s 18 year history and a guest favorite, has replaced the traditional sushi rice with a crispier version and has added baby sweet tomatoes, serrano chilies, cilantro, and soy mirin sauce coupled with such favorite ingredients as snow crab, avocado, cucumber, and pickled ginger.
“In order to stay relevant menus have to evolve,” says Chef Jocson. “Just like fashion or automobile trends, ingredients and flavor profiles also change. Certain dishes just need a reboot with some new flavor or texture to keep them fresh and interesting.”
Yard House will debut its new Nashville Hot Chicken and Crispy Duck Wings nationwide June 22 along with updated versions of some of its classic and signature dishes. Yard House is open daily for lunch, dinner, and late-night dining and offers a large selection of beers on tap plus a creative list of cocktails.