THE WHOLE BEAST AT THE YARD MISSION ROCK.....MEAT, MEAT AND MORE MEAT
The Yard at Mission Rock is this thing the Giants built in one of their parking lots across from the stadium. It is a collection of shipping containers housing a couple food places and a North Face Store of all things. Honestly, I'm pretty sure this is just filler since they got city and voter approval to build their not so little complex in that parking lot, thus no way to know how much longer this place will be around. One of the food places is called The Whole Beast, a name that is pretty fitting as they like to celebrate whole animal cooking. I'd vaguely heard of some pop-ups they'd done and they have another sort of permanent for now space at The Hall on Market Street, so being into meat, I knew I would get by eventually to try them. I just wanted to wait till after baseball season ended. The place is a combo food and beer hall and there was no way I was going to be around a bunch of drunk Giants fans--living near the park is enough. Since I'm relatively near this place, I actually made several trips by here to try as many options as I could, with varying degrees of success.
It is kind of like a sports bar under a tent. Food ranges from ribs to brisket to burgers to pork and more. One thing that caught my eye on my first visit was the poutine.
French fries tossed with parsley and salt covered in lamb chorizo gravy, shredded smoked lamb and a dollop of Black Sheep Creamery sheep's cheese. For $12 it is a pretty sizable portion and dish and more than enough for 2 people to share. As you can see, you do get a heaping of the shredded lamb and gravy. Normally poutine also has cheese curds, here it is the sheep cheese, though they skimp on that with the small bit on top. The overwhelming flavor you get here is salt. Salt on the fries, salt from the gravy, the meat, the cheese--it is just a lot. Trying the components individually, they were mostly fine, except maybe the gravy, which had more that it's fair share. By itself, the meat was tender and had a smooth smokey flavor, on its own, it probably would make a nice sandwich. Maybe it's like that in order to get one to drink more beer or something, but me and the SO really weren't able to finish these and we've been known to scarf down our share of fries. Who knows, maybe if the they hadn't salted the fries it could have helped.
On our next visit, it was sandwich try time. First up was the Wagyu beef burger with lettuce, may, pickles, tomatoes and onion on a toasted Acme Bread bun. Yes, this is a $12 burger with no sides and I'm more than happy to call them on it--that's like ballpark prices without being in the ballpark. Decent size, yes. Juicy and grilled to a nice medium rare, yes. Hearty meat flavor, yes. But still, the pricing gets me since adding things like bacon or cheese is another price up cost. Call me cheap, call me whatever, $12 for just a plain hamburger whether it's from sacred cows raised by blind nuns in the Himalayas or grass fed organic daily massaged cows from Petaluma, sorry I just can't abide by no matter how good it tastes.
And as if the burger wasn't enough, I plopped down $12 again for the whole hog sandwich. 12 hour smoked pulled pork with apple caraway slaw and pickles on a toasted Acme Bread bun. I'll blame myself for this one since whenever I see pulled pork on a menu--I become blind and begin to drool at the hope I've found some good pork on the West Coast. As for the pork, it was good, smoky, but not too much and while not vinegar based, it was tasty enough that I could enjoy it even though the cost was a bit bitter. Which, by the way, is a good way to describe the slaw on here. Again, I should have read the menu more carefully, then I would have connected with the word caraway, as in the seed you find in rye bread. I totally despise it. Its flavor just comes across as bitter to me and I find it totally unpleasant to eat. I had to scrape all of it off the sandwich and rinse my mouth out with Diet Coke to get rid of the taste. Fortunately it had not pervaded too much of the pork, but it does cast a flavor shadow some folks may not enjoy. It is pervasive enough in the slaw you can't even taste the supposed apple. Had I paid attention, I'd have asked for it on the side and let the SO have it. If it is not your thing, I'd suggest the same. There were also pickles on here, which being from the South, is just a no, no, no with pork. I took them off the sandwich too, but they were salty, vinegar, sweet ones and I did like 'em, just not with the pork.
And back again we go, this time trying something a little different--the Willie dog. An all beef hot dog on toasted Acme bun. That basic is $6 but I paid the $2 upgrade and got all meat chili and cheese added to it. Honestly, size wise, this was almost as big as the burger for far less, putting it just inside what I'll say is acceptable cost wise for something that again, comes with no sides. Juicy, plump meat with that small smokey flavor and some hearty chili, it is kind of everything one wants in a hot dog. Add in a little dab of ketchup and some mustard and it is a nice filling version of a sandwich. I'll say this was mostly worth it if you are a connoisseur of hot dogs...or not.
I also threw in a special they were having this particular night--smoked chicken wings for $6. I'm pretty sure that was the price which comes out to $1 a wing and not like a regular full size wing, more like the two separate pieces that make up a wing. Nice crispy out skin, juicy and really smokey flavor wise. Nice, pleasant, more of a side dish kind of thing and not exactly the biggest of servings here. Definitely not enough to share, but I'd say they'd be worth a try if you are looking for a light bite since they come with the ubiquitous celery and carrot accompaniment.
But wait, I wasn't done yet! They have ribs and brisket on their menu, and while I didn't get them the first couple of times, I figured I'd try again just to try those. Well, maybe the gods were against me on this but I went by on 3 more occasions--twice during the week and once on a weekend--and each time they didn't have either of them. Twice they had sold out signs on them and once they had a not smoking today sign on them. I think even on the visit when we got the fries, they were out of the ribs at that time too. I mean seriously, to be out or not have once is passable, twice is sketchy, three or four times is ridiculously irritating. Whether it is some kind of supply line failure or bad projection planning, it shouldn't happen that often. Especially considering this wasn't baseball season so they weren't exactly packed on each of my visits.
While there were a couple good things here, between the misses, the sold outs and the prices, I can't see myself hitting the place up again, which is a shame since it is in my hood. I'll just chalk this up to another place nearby that seems to cater more to ballpark fans than those of us who live nearby. After a few beers, tastes can be obscured and costs can be overlooked which is the expectation folks have when they come to a game. For those of us who live here year round, we'll keep hope alive we will eventually get a place that can cater to us too.