McKays Taphouse: A Sampling – February 13 2013

I made sure to visit McKays when it had first opened up on Lee Boulevard in Richland a little over a year ago. I thought it was a nice little place that held promise. You could go get a beer (one of over a hundred) and get some good food. But to be honest, nothing had wowed me so I didn’t ever go out of my way to get back there.

Now fast forward eight months since that last time I was there. Things have changed… and they have changed for the better. McKays Taphouse has committed to creating dishes with locally sourced ingredients as well as using Northwest grown beef that has no added hormones or antibiotics. The beef is packed fresh in Portland and is ever frozen. They prep as much of their food in-house and find locally sourced product for their foods. Now let me tell you what they shared with us.

Feta Bruschetta
The Feta Bruschetta was a great way to start the tasting. This appetizer is unlike any other you will find in the Tri-Cities. The focaccia bread was perfectly grilled, the feta cheese was creamy, and the fire roasted tomatoes were delicious. Below all of this flavor was a perfect balsamic vinegar and olive oil that totally set the whole appetizer off.

To top this delicious appetizer off, they paired it with the Angry Orchard Cider. The light crispness of this cider really made this appetizer one of the most delicious I’ve had in quite a while.

Macho Nachos
If I had to put a number on it, I would say these nachos make the top 3 list of where to find the best nachos in the Tri-Cities. McKays doesn’t skimp on anything. The Macho Nachos are packed with jalapenos, red onions, olives, green onion, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, grilled chicken, pulled pork, and their Andouille sausage. On top of all that, it’s smothered with their homemade chili.

McKays decided to pair the nachos with Georgetown Brewing Company’s Lucille India Pale Ale. This beer’s floral and citrusy notes really complimented the nachos in an unexpected way.

Bacon Bully
The Bacon Bully is a simply built, yet very delicious bacon burger. It consists of a half-pound of grass fed beef that really shines in flavor. On top of all this is 6 strips of bacon, cheddar cheese, red onions, lettuce, and tomato. What really stuck out about this burger was the flavor of the beef. You can really tell this is quality beef because the flavor really shines through. If you are craving a bacon burger and not quite sure where to go, you need to check out the Bacon Bully.

The Bacon Bully was paired with Hilliard’s Czech Style Pilsner. The light, crisp flavor of the beer really made this burger come alive.

Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork
This was absolutely one of the favorites among the table and especially mine. The Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich was packed with all sorts of flavor. McKays’ pulled pork is prepared with the Snoqualmie Root Beer they keep on tap. The root beer really created a sweet but savory flavor you can’t find anywhere else in the Tri-Cities. Also, this sandwich is topped with a homemade coleslaw that was out of this world. The slaw brought a tanginess that really complimented the sweet and savory of the pork.
This pulled pork sandwich was just awesome. I really don’t know how else I can put it. What really puts this over the top was it being paired with the Pike Place Kilt Lifter Ruby Scotch Ale.

Fat Kid Candy Burger
You’re first thought after you’ve been handed this pile of deliciousness is, “I thought I ordered a burger?” You did, it just happens to be hiding under a ton of other food. This open-faced burger is ridiculous. It is three meals rolled into one. You have a half pound of delicious ground beef, a healthy serving of chili, and then a serious helping of their creamy homemade mac and cheese. On top of all of this food, we enjoyed the Fat Kid Candy Burger with the North Coast Old Rasputin. This was truly awesome.

Bacon Mac & Cheese
This one is pretty self explanatory. We have bacon. We have mac and cheese. Who could try to top a more perfect pairing of foods? McKays puts together a solid dish of their homemade mac and cheese and some delicious bacon. There was enough gooey cheese and crispy bacon to make anyone happy. McKays made a great choice by pairing Great Divide’s Claymore Wee Heavy Scotch Ale with this dish.

Blackened Salmon Filet
For those of you who really do enjoy a little more healthier fare, McKays’ Blackened Salmon Filet is delicious. They serve up a healthy portion of wild-caught salmon that has been blackened perfectly. To be perfectly honest, there was a little debate about how “blackened” a blackened salmon should be. This was determined to be blackened, but slightly on the lighter side. If you really prefer you salmon very blackened, I’m sure you could put in the request. All of this aside, I think you will really enjoy the flavor of the rub combined with the flavor of the salmon.

Vegan Black Bean Cilantro
McKays was serving up two different kinds of soup for us this day. The first was their Vegan Black Bean Cilantro soup. This was a simple soup that was full of flavor. I was really impressed by how well the flavor of the cilantro came out. I usually don’t go out of my way to eat Vegan, but I would certainly order this again.

Cioppino Seafood Stew
The second soup McKays served up was their Cioppino Seafood Stew. The word “cioppino” means to “chip in”. So, by nature, this soup is made of whatever is already in the kitchen. If you order this one time, you can probably expect there to be a difference when you order it a second time. This iteration of cioppino was made with salmon, shrimp, black beans, red wine, zucchini, potatoes, onions, and bell peppers. Needless to say, this stew had some serious flavor.

Last Words
This review was a really fun one to do. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it was to sit down with some cool people to eat food that is prepared with a lot of love. I know McKays started off a little rocky, but what would you expect from a brand new, non-chain restaurant.