Hitching Post II: A Beard House Disaster

It’s hard not to please food fans when fat, sugar, caffeine and alcohol are offered in unabashed abundance.  Perhaps that’s why I’ve liked nearly every meal I’ve had at the Beard House.  Nearly every meal.  Once in a while a visiting restaurant manages the mean feat of making  me wish I’d stayed home.  Such was the case with the Hitching Post II.

So next time they’re in town, avoid the temptation to give the sequel a second chance.  Instead, order “Sideways” from Netflix,  broil up a couple of Lobel’s steaks and open a bottle of Sea Smoke Southing.   Miles and Jack would do the same. 

Below are a few observations from a meal that sent me running East  to Otto for a restorative lardo pizza and grappa chaser. 

1) So-so starters: Sweet potato puree congealed over toast rounds with shredded pork. The half-full trays going back to the kitchen made clear that I wasn’t the only one voting with my stomach.  Fifties style rumpus room quality mushroom caps set the amateur tone for what followed.

2) Chintzy Chardonnay: Forget about the oak vs. steel and malolactic vs. natural fermentation debates.  This wine had bigger problems, like going corky on the nose and flat on the tongue.  I now know why Miles stuck to Pinot.

3) Substandard Steak Frites/Hyposubstandard Steak:  French fries do not belong at the Beard House;  bad french fries really don’t belong, particularly on a plate with gray and grainy banquet hall steak.   N.B.: Forget the mesquite; upgrade the meat.  I’d have sent the wan flesh hunk back if I’d been in a restaurant and fed it to my least favorite pet if I’d been at home.

4)Sour grapes and a bitter ending: Dearth of Dessert made a bad evening worse.    Closer was not big or good enough.

5) Conclusions: Barbecue travels about as well as panda bears and orchids.  Either go for a local urban product–Blue Smoke, Hill Country, etc.–or go the source.

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