Posted by Clive on Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Downtown Yakima has a few gems when it comes to dining options. One of those is most certainly Barrel House. I stumbled upon the Barrel House several years ago as the result of a recommendation by a winemaker I'd met in the Rattlesnake Hills. When the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to introduce The Oregon Wine Blog to the Barrel House based on fond memories.
My first impression made me a little nervous. Our party of ten was there on a Monday and there wasn't a soul in the place. We had made reservations and the waitress/bartender showed us to our seats. The Barrel House has an impressive selection of Yakima Valley and Washington wines and the prices are really unbeatable; the mark up is a negligible $5 to $10 dollars a bottle. That's an incredible bargain.
I got us started by ordering the Kana Masterpiece 2007, Portteus Malbec 2005, and McKinley Springs 2004 Cabernet. We also asked for the Boudreaux Cellars 2005 Cabernet to be decanted for dinner.
Our meal started out with a variety of appetizers and salads and we were soon on to the main course. My initial nervousness went away as soon as the waitress asked me how I'd like my duck done. This is generally a sign that people know what they're doing.
Between the ten of us we had a variety of entrees; duck with a crispy skin, a beautifully displayed pork shank, scallops that melted in your mouth and perfectly done steak. The food was excellent, and what was truly amazing was that Tim did all of this on his own. I mean that literally - there was one guy in the kitchen; no sous chef; no help. All of our plates came at once, they were all hot, and they were all tender. The duck had perfect balance between the crisp skin with the tender breast. We had to order another bottle of wine as well, and went with the Thurston Wolfe 06 Petite Sirah. None of us had room for dessert.
We thanked Tim for one hell of a meal, and asked about the crowd. He had told us that it was slower through the winter, but that over the weekend they would be slammed. There are a handful of really nice restaurants in Yakima and Barrel House certainly heads up that list. The entrees are a little expensive, but the wine prices are beyond reasonable. If you're in town, I recommend this be your first choice for dinner in Yakima.