Yard House: Traditional Food Favorites with a Healthy Twist

As a health-conscious foodie, I’m always on the lookout for fun and creative foods that satisfy my diverse palate in the healthiest possible ways. I recently had the pleasure of dining at Yard House, a casually chic yet cozy restaurant and bar located on the Near North Side of Chicago. In my opinion, it is by far one of the most unique and versatile eateries to hit Chitown’s food scene in years.

While well-known for their wide assortment of house beers on tap, Yard House also offers a surprisingly extensive menu of American cuisine, Asian-inspired dishes, original soups and sandwiches, eccentric tacos, and other delectable foods that will utterly amaze you. After having taste testing just a mere fraction of the over 100 freshly prepared savory and sweet items offered, I was extremely impressed, to say the least.

Most notable is their innovative spin on the traditional California roll (pictured above), which is served as an appetizer. I’m a huge fan of sushi, arguably somewhat of a connoisseur, but I can honestly say that I’ve never seen or tasted anything quite like this.

Related Article: Seven Healthy Ways to Enjoy Your Sushi Experience

The Yard House Cali roll is surrounded by toasted sticky rice and jammed packed with fresh tomatoes, healthy fat-rich avocado, cucumber, nori and masago, a type of caviar that adds a flavorful crunch to the mix. Seasoned to perfection with serranos and served in a pool of mirin soy this delicious concoction is an absolute must try!

Yard House Ahi Tuna Nina Cherie Franklin PhDOther flavorful starter items available at Yard House include the Sashimi-style Ahi Tuna seared rare, a dual portion of delectable Blue Crab Cakes prepared with fresh mango and papaya, tomato oil and a passion fruit-based butter sauce, an unbelievably savory Organic Tomato bisque, and a simple Chopped Salad served lettuce-less and full of fresh avocado, tomatoes, bacon, corn, cilantro, cucumbers, celery and onions.

Related Article: Eight Super-Simple Ways to Get More Veggies Into Your Diet

If you’re able to make it to the entrée portion of the Yard House menu, you’ll find a ton of innovated dishes that are perfectly suitable for carnivores, vegetarians, low-sodium eaters, and even those allergic to gluten and dairy foods. For a good dose of high-quality protein, I personally recommend their Ribeye and Shrimp combo and Miso-Glazed Sea Bass.

Related Article: Nutrition Basics: Your Daily Protein Intake

Gardein™ options are another menu standout at Yard House. These are essentially meatless dishes prepared with a variety of vegetable proteins (soy and wheat, pea proteins, and ancient grains) made to mimic the taste and texture of popular meat-based foods. From the Gardein™ Jerk Wings to the Gardein™ Barbecue Chicken Salad, the meatless options at Yard House are virtually endless.

One of the things I love most is the broad range of healthy options for traditional bar foods available at Yard House.

This is a huge plus, as I can’t count the number of people who’ve told me how difficult it is to eat healthy at a sports bar. Providing a semi-upscale sports bar-like atmosphere with great music and walls adorned by dozens of widescreen television sets, Yard House fully caters to health-conscious folks who also enjoy the general ambiance of a traditional bar or pub.

Yard House Tacos Nina Cherie Franklin PhDAmong the many bar foods I recommend are Yard House Street Tacos including the Grilled Korean Beef Shortrib, Blackened Swordfiss and the Chicken Tinga made with cabbage, cilantro and feta cheese. The Asada Street Taco is definitely my personal favorite, which is prepared with skirt steak, roasted pasilla, pico de gallo and guacamole.

There’s also a range of selections for pizza, burgers and other sandwiches, all of which can be substituted with Gardein™ options.

If you occasionally drink alcohol, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the Yard House menu of beverages, which includes a large selection of wines, spirits and over 100 ales, craft beers, India pale ales lagers and imported beers on tap. Unbeknownst to many, when consumed in moderation, alcohol can have beneficial effects on heart, bone and mental health so I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit to indulging in a drink or two at Yard House.

Related Article: Simple Ways to Enjoy Alcohol Without Gaining Weight

Whether you’re in the mood for a fun and healthy dining experience or casual socializing over cocktails while watching your favorite sporting events, it all goes down at Yard House. Personally, this spot has everything I need to enjoy a night out on the town with friends, colleagues or my husband who’s also a fellow foodie.

In addition to the Chicago eatery at 1500 North Clybourn Avenue, Yard House currently operates in over 60 additional locations across the United States so check them out. Visit their website for exact locations, hours of operation and other information and be sure to “Like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @YardHouse.