Friday, March 23, 2012

King's Row Gastropub

I've gone to King's Row quite a few times since they opened last spring - probably more than twenty - and taken several pictures, but never written about the place in detail. Sure, at the end of last year I called their duck sliders the 10th best new item I tried in 2011, and during Pasadena Cheeseburger Week I called their rib eye burger my 7th favorite burger in Pasadena. (As you can see in the above photo, other people like them too.) But I never did a full rundown of the place. And now I find myself with only a week left in town and more than 50 photos of the place. So let's go through a few.

 The inside is really attractive, with high ceilings, wooden tables, and some brick walls.

But I almost always sit on the patio, usually with my friend Bryce.

And often his daughter, Lucy.

There are many different beers I have had here: St. Feuillien, Modelo, PBR, Lagunitas Pils, Racer 5, Victory Prima Pils.

Lucy has to drink water, though. Because she's only two.

One time my friend Penny was sitting at the bar and she gave me a taste of her Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, a 12% alcohol brown ale that I would certainly describe as "aggressive."

The menu here changes frequently. When going through my photos of the last 11 months, I found no fewer than seven different menus I had photographed. So I am including photos from my most recent trip three weeks ago, but I won't be surprised if the menu has already changed.

Here are the duck sliders, which I have not had in months but absolutely loved the last time I ate them.

On one occasion I ate the burger by myself, on another a friend ordered one and cut it into quarters to share. Both times it was great.

The merguez sausage corndog, with a root beer batter, sounded like a great idea but was not. The incredibly salty sausage was tolerable; the gummy, semi-solid batter was not. I do not believe this is on the menu any longer. 

When I had the tandoori chicken pizza, it was five dollars on the happy hour menu. Now it's seven. (Like the menu itself, the prices have jumped all over the place in the last year.) The pizza was tasty but had been left in the oven a little too long, so several of the slices were burnt. At the happy hour price, I let it go. If it had been the full menu price ($11) I would not have.

I only had the fish & chips once and it was the best fish & chips I have ever eaten in Old Town. A crispy batter, delicate, moist fish inside, and perfectly-cooked fries. (Like Neomeze in this space before it, King's Row's fries are some of my favorite in town.) So why did I only try it once? Well, I was with a friend at the bar one day, told him how fantastic the fish & chips were, then watched him receive an order that looked embarrassingly awful. Which he said they were. So I never placed another order myself. Kind of silly, perhaps. Whatever.

I had lunch at the bar with my buddy Andy one time and he had that day's special: the lobster roll. It came topped with cheese. I have never seen a lobster roll topped with cheese before. I thought it looked horrible. Andy, who is one of the most optimistic people I have ever met, simply said "It's very rich."

I had the "Highland Park Pulled Pork Sandwich" that day - carnitas braised with Coke and OJ, with a chipotle-pomegranate barbecue sauce. It was was absolutely delicious, although the messiest sandwich I have eaten in years. (A small price to pay for how good it was.)

The "turkey pastrami" sandwich was supposed to come with cole slaw and I wish it had, because this was one of the driest sandwiches I have ever eaten. It's not on the current menu, however.

I was dining with Murph that day, so, like a mother instinctively cutting her child's steak, I immediately grabbed his ketchup and put it on my plate when it was served. Just the sight of it could have been enough to make him sick. True, he's not my child, he's acually five years older than I, but it was still for the best.

Murph had the pulled pork sandwich that day and also loved it.

On another occasion I ordered the quattro formaggi pizza. Like the tandoori pizza earlier, this was just fine during happy hour but if I had paid full price for it I would have felt ripped off.

So that's the rundown. I don't think I would ever make King's Row a regular dining destination (although from all these photos, it kind of looks like I did), and on a couple of occasions when it was crowded I did not enjoy myself, but for a weekday lunch or a drink on the patio during happy hour, it's one of the most pleasant places in town.


Michelle said...

Comprehensive! Some of it looks really good though.

Anonymous said...


Banana Wonder said...

I like the idea of braising meat in both OJ and coke.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that i really enjoy your blog, you take some very nice shots. I am excited to see what you have to say about some east coast establishments- It will be like BIGGIE VS TUPAC but for food!

Mike N. said...

I just had to google 'Yogahop' to figure out what the heck it was. Kind of sounds like a modern day Jazzercise...