Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kings Row: A great gastropub and brunch spot in Pasadena

Pasadena has always been that faraway land where the temperature is 10 degrees hotter than the Westside. I hardly venture over unless something is absolutely worth it, like meeting Michael Voltaggio *drool*. So when my friends invited me over for a housewarming party in Pasadena, we decided to make a weekend trip out of it by booking a hotel room for the night (we're not big on drinking-and-driving).

I don't know much about the restaurants and bars in the area, but I quickly found a newish gastropub that opened up in Old Town.

The restaurant has a few dining areas - the bar, the dining room and the outside patio. We grabbed seats at the bar which has high ceilings, numerous plantation fans (thank goodness!), exposed brick walls and ample light from the rooftop glass ceiling. Love the space!

They have a vast selection of craft beers.

We opted for the Allagash White and a floral Saison.

The lunch menu is broken out into salads, sandwiches and pub fare. I was hoping for more appetizer/starter options for sharing. I also didn't see any sides.

Pulled Pork sandwich
A rather delicious burger which was comprised of juicy and tender pulled pork that was slathered with pomegranate BBQ sauce. The sauce was just right - not too sweet or too messy. The burger was topped with crispy onions and served with fries.

Merguez Corndog
I was a bit disappointed with the corndog. I love lamb but I found the merguez sausage to be extremely gamy. I did however enjoy the root beer batter which had an interesting texture (almost like cornmeal) and had a slight sweet flavor.

The next day, we went in search of our usual weekend tradition - mimosa brunch. Coincidentally enough, a quick search online for bottomless mimosas led us back to Kings Row. By the way, the website says that they open at 10.30am on Sundays. They actually opened at 11am. Apparently they have a "Country Line Sunday Brunch" with live music and whiskey. We got there too early for this (phew. not a big fan of country music).

The brunch menu actually looks better with more appetizing items such as the shepherds pie, duck egg benedict and french toast made with homemade pound cake.

Bloody Marys and mimosa are $3 each, while all you can drink mimosas are served in carafes for $12.

Crack Mac with gouda, parmesan, white chocolate and truffle

I really liked the golden cheesy crust on the mac and cheese. I also appreciated that the cheeses were mild - no gorgonzola or stinky cheeses here. Unfortunately the truffle flavor was not noticeable and the mac and cheese lacked flavor. It needed additional salt or some spice like jalapeno.

Ham & Cheese Omelet
This was almost like a meatlovers omelet with three meat ingredients (continental brat, bacon and black forest ham). The meats added lots of flavor and meatiness to the omelet. My favorite was the breakfast potatoes which looked ordinary but had a crispy exterior and were soft in the inside.

Chicken & Waffles
This dish was outstanding. Every element on the plate was delicious. The chicken was juicy even though it was white meat. I enjoyed the buttermilk breading which was nicely seasoned and crispy. I thought the two pieces of chicken were also a generous portion. The buckwheat waffle was also very good. One of my favorite parts of the dish was the mixture of maple syrup with stewed kale, bacon bits and a sweet corn emulsion which were layered on top of the waffle. Absolutely flavorful with a nice balance of sweet and savory.

I really enjoyed our meals at Kings Pub, especially brunch. I was impressed with the quality of the ingredients which are sourced locally. They even served fresh homemade strawberry and blueberry jam. And most importantly, they have a great mimosa deal! This is definitely the type of place that I'd return for either a lunch of pubfare, or a brunch with mimosas.

Hits: ambiance, beer selection, pulled pork sammie, chix & waffles, mimosas
Misses: bland mac, gamy corn dog
Rating: ***1/2

Kings Row Gastropub
20 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 793-3010


Eddie Lin said...

Glad you enjoyed it! Definitely a fan of Kings Row too!

Marie said...

Ooh! I'm always looking for new brunch spots to try. I will have to try Kings Row soon!

Gastronomer said...

Thanks for the review, Stuffy! This place is in the nabe and I should really stop by soon!