Friday, July 20, 2007

Gordon Biersch, Palo Alto

Gordon Biersch
Brew pub food (famous garlic fries) and good beer

If you've attended a Giants game at Pac Bell SBC that ballpark where they play now, you have more than likely caught the heavenly scent of garlic and fried potatoes. Gordon Biersch has stands doing a brisk business in garlic fries throughout the stadium, but you may not have known that the now-nationwide restaurant/brewery chain started in Palo Alto, on the site of the old
("once historic"?) Bijou Theater.

The front windows are removable for those warm summer nights, and the high theater ceilings give the restaurant an airy, open feel. There aren't many tables in the restaurant area, so if you go on a busy weeknight, you may be better off sitting in the raucous sports bar area in the back. Full menu is available there, so you won't miss out on any of the great dishes to be had.

We started going here after class once a week during our screenwriting classes at Stanford, and though we're not taking the classes now, the current students have continued the tradition and are nice enough to invite us along, so we find ourselves there more Thursday nights than not. Sometimes we tried other restaurants, because the one drawback of Gordon Biersch is that it can be pretty loud, but we keep coming back.

You could dine for three or four nights on the appetizers alone. The tapas plate, the southwestern egg rolls, the calamari, and of course, the garlic fries, are particular favorites, but you can't go wrong here. The salads are large and fresh, though we usually end up getting just a Caesar or wedge salad (get it with the vinaigrette dressing--it comes with loads of cheese as it is) along with our order.

No main dish has ever disappointed. The sandwiches are big, often hard to finish, which is a shame because they also come with a portion of the garlic fries. Good bread and good meat--what more could you want? The BBQ is good, though compared to other places around here, it's nothing to get excited about. All of their sauces carry lots of flavor, and the ones that say they're spicy really are, at least to my delicate palate. I suspect hardier souls would be somewhat disappointed in the heat, though not the flavor. They do stir-fry and meatloaf, pecan-crusted chicken and seared ahi tuna, steak and jambalaya all well. Pizzas are good too, with nice traditional crust and good sauce, and they'll happily bring you a side of marinara to dip the crusts into (though the pizza dough is good, it's a little bland).

We rarely have room to try the desserts, but I can heartily recommend the carrot cake and the key lime cheesecake from sampling other plates. One of these weeks, we'll eat light enough to be able to fit one of those in, or else we'll just take it home and have it later.

It's moderately priced--entrees can range up to $24 for a good fish or steak, but you can also get a good pizza or sandwich for $10-15. The beers are about average, $5 or so, and they make a good Arnold Palmer if you're on the wagon. It's not the cheapest place in Palo Alto, but it's certainly far from the most expensive, and it's a great place to take a group of people who are in the mood for different things. Nobody will leave unhappy--that's why we keep going back.

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knicksgrl0917 said...
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