Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Raising a Glass at the Pint House

The Pint House
1547 W. Katella Ave.
Orange, CA 92867

To say that I am excited that hockey is back would be an understatement. Two months into this shortened season, things could not have gone better for me. Not only has my favorite sport come back to life, but my beloved Ducks have been the second best team in all of hockey for most of the season. Going to the games has become fun again. Adding to the excitement of the hockey season are the new restaurants that have opened up near Honda Center since the last time the puck was dropped. The Tilted Kilt has opened in the old Carino's space on Katella. Also in the same center is another new restaurant, and this games location for a pregame meal, the Pint House.

The Pint House takes over where the Auld Irisher was located. The original Pint House opened in Downtown Fullerton in 2009. This new location has been open just six months, and I am sure they are excited to have the hockey crowds come in before and after the games. You would think that with all of the turnover in this shopping center, the operators of this center would be a little more lax about people parking here to go to the games. We have never had a problem, but the security guards in the golf carts make a pretty big show about writing down license numbers and letting people know that they can't park here for the games. If it wasn't for the fans going to the games, some of these new restaurants may suffer the same fate as Carino's, Bob's Big Boy, and the Auld Irisher. It doesn't make sense to drive people away from your shopping center that has certainly had its problems keeping tenants.

Sorry for my little rant. Back to the Pint House. We got here about an hour before the game, and the bar area was packed with fellow Ducks fans, and a couple of Wild fans. I was not sure we were going to have time to eat, but when we approached the hostess stand, she took us right to a table in a room behind the bar. The interior of this restaurant is a lot sleeker than it was when this was the Irisher. That restaurant always seemed a little more dingy, but the Pint House is a little more updated and feels cleaner. We only had about forty minutes to eat before making our walk down Katella to hopefully watch another Ducks win, so let's see how the food turned out for us.

None of the appetizers really caught my eye, so I let Katie order what she wanted. She selected the Soft Pretzels ($6) to start off with. These three large Bavarian style pretzels came with salt on them and a Bechamel-cheese sauce. The pretzels were soft, with a good chew to them. I would have liked the pretzel heated a little more than it was. The bechamel sauce was very mellow, and coated the pretzels nicely. For not being a pretzel kind of guy, I liked these enough to eat one out of the three that we got.

Instead of focusing on the appetizers here, I really wanted to try their salads. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I almost always order a Caesar salad when it is available. This would be the case again at Pint House. The Caesar Salad ($8) started with the normal base of romaine lettuce, croutons, and Parmesan cheese, but then they added grape tomatoes and red onions to make this Caesar their own. I actually liked the inclusion of the red onion here, but it did take away from the feeling that this was a Caesar salad. Also not helping matters here was a very bland house made Caesar dressing. It really added nothing to this salad. On the positive side, this was a very large salad for the price, but I would not get this salad again.

Katie had a little bit better luck with her salad choice here, the side salad version of the Pint House Salad ($3). She was very happy with the freshness of the produce here, along with a very good ranch dressing. Other than that she thought this salad was not earth shattering, but it did satisfy her. Well worth the three dollar price tag.

When the burgers arrived, that is when the Pint House kicked it up a notch. Let's start with mine. I ordered the Black and Bleu Burger with bacon added ($13 + $2 for the bacon). This burger came with caramelized onion, blue cheese crumbles, blue cheese dressing, and A-1 steak sauce. The burger patty was seasoned with lots of black pepper, and was full of flavor. The toppings each added their own component to this burger as well. The bacon was cooked crisp, and the heavily studded sesame seed bun was sturdy enough to hold all of the contents of the burger. A very satisfying burger experience. With my burger I had the choice of a side item, and I went with the Parmesan garlic fries. These were fried nicely, but the garlic did not really shine through like I had hoped. Still well made fries though.

Katie ordered a burger as well, but her choice was the Napa Burger ($13). This one came stacked with melted brie, sundried tomato, caramelized onions, garlic aioli mayo, and lettuce, with the half pound burger being glazed with a Cabernet demi-glace reduction. Very fancy burger toppings for sure. She thought this burger was very rich with all of these ingredients. The demi-glace was the most memorable part of the burger for her, and she would opt for a different kind of cheese on this next time to help cut down on the richness of this burger.

We usually get dessert, but we were running a little bit behind for the game, and we still had a ten minute walk to get there. The burgers at the Pint House really saved this place for me. I was not too fond of the salad or the pretzel, but their menu is pretty large, so I know I would be able to find other side items and salads that I might like here. I felt the prices were a few dollars too high for the burgers though. My burger was good, but I do not think it was fifteen dollars good. The portion sizes were definitely very generous at the Pint House. The service was very good for us on this night, with one exception. All of the food above came out at the same time. All five plates hit our table at the same time, so I had to juggle my usual eating order so my burger did not get cold. Even with this minor hiccup, we will definitely make the Pint House part of our rotation of restaurants to eat at before Duck's games, as long as our car does not get towed from their parking lot.

Out of five pucks, (because I am happy that hockey is back, and I could not think of anything else), five being best to zero being worst, the Pint House gets 3 pucks.

For more information on locations and menus of the Pint House, click here: http://www.thepinthouse.com/orange/#

 Pint House on Urbanspoon

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