Well...the bread was good

Saturday night I was heading to a party at a big house in historic Glendale. Beautiful home, great friends...fun time! Party didn't start until 8 so I figured - let's grab a bite first. Now while we love the Friendly Stop - you know me - I'm always wanting to try someplace new! So - we decided on Bracker's Tavern.

Bracker's is actually the upstairs pub within the Iron Horse. Glendale resident Robin Thomas purchased the Iron Horse and renovated it and reopened it late last summer. The Iron Horse is downstairs and is "fancy" - Bracker's is a bit more casual and has a bit more affordable menu.

The decor is art deco but it doesn't really go together. There are beautiful wood beams which lend to a "tavern" approach - while the furniture, art and such are all more 80s combined with art deco. It's like a cast member of Dynasty went wild. It doesn't really meld together that well.

We started out with the bread...mmm mmm good!

Seasoned flat bread actually had flavor!

There was warm rolls, crispy flatbread with chili powder and sesame seeds and butter that wasn't hard and frozen. So this was a good start...

Next up we ordered soup. My friend got the Roasted Red Pepper Bisque. It was smooth and pureed. Said friend had ordered that before and really enjoyed it. For the other two of us, the waitress offered up a Caribbean "stew" - she said it had oysters, clams and shrimp as well as a jerk seasoning. So here we go:

Caribbean seafood "stew"

I think of stew as being chunky and thick - this was like stew in a blender. I'm guessing they're just fond of blenders. I liked the flavor - there were like 3 small pieces of clam that I could distinguish - and the color wasn't appetizing. My friend on the other hand - hated it. She asked before how much "jerk" seasoning was in it because she wasn't fond of it. There was a lot more than the waitress let on...and again - she really didn't like the pureed nature of the soup. It just wasn't stew. She ate a few bites and set it aside...it was obvious she didn't like it.

Next up - the main courses...I'll start with the best first...the same jerk seasoning hating friend (haha) got a burger. It looked and tasted great. She also ordered sweet potato fries and I have to say - they tasted more like sweet potato than most of these that I taste. I think the thickness helped there.

Burger & Sweet Potato fries

My red pepper bisque friend is a vegetarian. She was happy with all of the options to choose from. She chose to get the mushroom ravioli appetizer:

Mushroom ravioli appetizer

This was a mixed bag...the filling was very flavorful and the sauce was tasty. Not sure it needed the pool of oil you see around the edge. But the pasta itself - it was really tough - the edges of the ravioli were very wide and just not cooked long enough. The temperature was also a bit cooler than desired. So flavor was good - but the temp and texture...not so good.

Lastly - my own personal disaster - okay disaster is a strong word. I ordered the Roasted Chicken and Smoked Gouda Quesadilla. Looks can be deceiving:

Disappointment on a plate

The plate looks good doesn't it?! Yeah - not so much. There was NO cheese in this - I mean - maybe in theory cheese started out in this - but when you ate it - it wasn't there. I opened a few pieces and there was just none there. QUESA = CHEESE! But that wasn't the worst part - there was a notable red "sauce" under the entire quesadilla. It was basically tabasco sauce. I like spicy - but I like a flavor to the spice - not just HOT. It was inedible.

So - here's where it just goes downhill quickly - the waitress comes back and asks how everything is. I said "Well this isn't good - it's very spicy." She said "yes it is". I said, "Well that wasn't on the menu." (It literally just says the chicken/gouda - nothing else). She said, "Yes it's spicy" and walked away. There was no questioning if I wanted something else or if they could remake it for me - just walked away.

So we sat and finished our meal - I didn't eat any more of mine. The waitress doesn't come back for a very long time. When she did - it was to clear plates. She took the other two people's plates because they were empty. Mine - she left. Then a few minutes later - she brought me back a refill. (I'd been empty for at least 20 minutes - while sitting there and not eating.) After returning again, I said "Um - I'm finished". She took the plate without a word of asking if she could get me anything else. I sort of wanted to see what would happen - rather than asking for something else. I was anxious to find out if I would get charged for something I clearly voiced was not edible.

We had a $25 gift certificate from Restaurant.com - it was for $25 off $35. We presented this to the waitress and she said handed us our check and said we didn't order enough. Typically it's $25 off $50 - but we pointed out that this was off $35. She begrudgingly took the certificate and then told us she couldn't readjust our check. We needed to pay and then the $25 would be applied.

When we got the bill - my appetizer was still on it.

So - after the $25 it was $18 for our 3 meals. Then my friends forgot to pay me for their portions - complete mishap and they'll pay me back - but it was kind of funny to realize that I had just paid $18 for a pureed stew.

It was very very disappointing. The quality of service was just really poor as well as my quesadilla being inedible. The stew was just odd - I liked the flavor - but that isn't stew!

This was a bit long - but its just one of those things that I wanted to explain. And in the end, I won't go back. I have a $10 coupon from Restaurant.com and I figure I'll just give it to friends that live in the area since they'll go back.

So next time you're in Glendale - just go to Cock & Bull or the Friendly Stop where you know what you'll get.

I'm giving Bracker's a 2 star on the Food Hussy scale...
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  1. quesadillas must have cheese! and that stew looks yucky.

  2. You were there when the old Chef's menu was there and he was terrible. Thankfully he is gone.
    The new Chef Nathaniel Blanford has a wonderful new menu. Also a lot of the old staff from the old owners are gone, probably the one you had. The staff I have experienced there are very nice & accommodating. You definitely need to give them another shot. The Truffle fries in Brackers Tavern are to die for!!

  3. I went after a Friday night wine tasting at Piazza Discepoli (the wine tasting receipt gets you 10% off food at the Iron Horse that night). The decor is still odd, but the new chef has really helped turn around the menu. Also, our service was good, so I asked the waiter how long he'd been there. He said 2 months, so maybe they've also worked on that. Anyway, I'm no expert, but I really enjoyed it.