Attending conferences all morning and into the afternoon is hard work, and requires a better-than-average lunch! With that in mind, four of us went to Yardbird in the Venetian and started with cocktails while waiting for our table . . .
The “Albert’s Collins” is “Absolut, Avion Reposado and Spring 44 Old Tom Gin provide the punch for this surprisingly smooth take on the Collins. Served in a highball & paired with a long block ice,” and was tasty and refreshing. The “Yardbird Old Fashioned” is their southern spin on this timeless classic features bacon-infused Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon, Angostura bitters, orange bitters, maple syrup. Served in a lowball & paired with a 2" sphere ice,” and was dangerously delicious and smooth.
The “Fried Green Tomato BLT” is not a sandwich, but rather slices of perfectly done tomato paired with house smoked pork belly, smoky tomato jam, frisée, and pimento cheese. We could have eaten a dozen slices!
The Macaroni & Cheese featured torchio pasta in a blend of five different artisanal cheeses, and a crispy herbed crust. If Kraft had tasted like this, I would have looked forward to having my sitter make mac ‘n cheese!
Yardbird’s take on the classic Iceberg Wedge salad featured baby iceberg lettuce, charred corn, tomatoes, house-smoked bacon, avocado, house-made buttermilk ranch dressing (rather than blue cheese) and perfectly crisp and tangy.
The Virginia Ham biscuits featured house-made biscuits, sliced in half, savory Virginia ham topped with melted Vermont sharp cheddar, were light and oh-so-tasty.
Their version of Shrimp ‘n Grits showcased perfectly seared shrimps with Nora Mill grits (toothsome and on the larger side of most grits), roasted tomatoes, Virginia ham, and “pbr chicken jus.” The shrimp, as I said, were perfect, and I liked the size of the grits, but overall – while tasty – this was perhaps the weakest dish.
Their “signature” dish is the Chicken ‘n’ Watermelon ‘n’ Waffles. (I’m not sure why these “n’s” deserve two apostrophes while the one in “Shrimp ‘n Grits” only gets one, but that’s the former magazine editor in me.) features a cheddar cheese waffle, topped with chilled, spiced watermelon and deliciously crisp and flavorful fried chicken, with a honey hot sauce and a bourbon accented maple syrup. I’m honestly not sure the watermelon adds anything, and I wish the honey hot sauce had a bit more heat, but this was damned good!
We’ll definitely be back here!