Went last night. It was their 4th night open. Pretty nice set up, but it is LOUD. Lots of flat screens throughout the restaurant which seem to be a major part of the decor (at least they had the sound off and were thoughtfully arranged with some design consideration and restraint). Very busy last night even though we arrived early. The bar area is very nice and warm feeling and the restaurant is is open concept with high ceilings. They have probably 20-30 beers on tap. The patio area is really nice and comfortable with ceiling heaters, outdoor fire pits and in addition to the tables has a small amount of bar seating as well . The noise on the patio was far less than loud than the din inside and this is where I would definitely choose to locate next time.
They are going through a soft opening right now, so 2/3 of the menu items had a label, “Coming Soon” across them. Our waiter helpfully informed us this meant that these items weren’t currently being offered, but were well… coming soon;-). Menu items that were available mostly consisted of a few apps, salads,burgers, and sandwiches. Staff was very friendly and the restaurant and employees still had that new car feel to it, where it’s exciting, but your not completely familiar with all the controls and features. Service was enthusiastic, but a bit uneven (which is to be expected).
The better half had the roasted poblano mac and cheese. Very robust macaroni noodle coated in a nice melty cheese sauce with diced roasted poblanos mixed in. Wife really enjoyed the simple robustness of the dish and it was a huge portion for $12. I had the fish and chips. They claim that the featured fish is always a local caught unfrozen catch of the day and that the chef is down at the docks nearly everyday. The $20 plate came out with two large pieces of beer battered “local caught” halibut, jalapeno tartar sauce, a refreshing fennel, apple, and cabbage slaw, with some pretty unremarkable thin cut fries. Everything was prepared well. The fish was moist inside with a thin crisp beer batter coating on the outside with just the right amount of crunch. The slaw was very crisp and fresh and was a great crunchy fresh vegetable component that really helped the dish. The housemade Jalapeno Tar Tar was good, but I could barely taste any hint of Jalapeno. Hopefully they will tweak this in the future to provide bolder flavors. The fries weren’t bad, but they weren’t great either. Pretty much standard thin cut fries with a little seasoned salt. Not the thick cut chips that would have complimented this so much better. No malt vinegar around, but when requested the kitchen provided it in a small ramekin.
This place is definitely still working through some growing pains, and the service is a bit uneven, but overall it’s a nice addition to Carmel Valley and a good family pub with decent beer selection and much better than average pub food. I’ll go back once the full menu is operational. Would suggest reservations as the place fills quickly and there were a bunch of tables with “reserved” signs on them when we first arrived at 5;30 which were all filled by the time we left at 6:30.