How starved are Gilbert residents for restaurants? Look no further than the month-old Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant at SanTan Village for an answer.
Would you believe a 30-minute wait on a Monday night? How about up to 90 minutes on weekends?
Mind you, this isn’t Pizzeria Bianco, where long waits are routine but pay off with what one New York Times food writer called “maybe the best pizza in America.”
This is Gordon Biersch, the Tennessee-based chain — it also has restaurants in Tempe and Scottsdale — better known for its handcrafted lagers than its New American menu.
Part of the reason for the wait is the confusion at the door. After putting in our name at the hostess stand, we’re told that “the wait is about 20 minutes, but we have open seating so if you see an available table you can grab it.”
Huh? I assume she means only the packed bar area, which takes up about one-third of the large space. But a steady stream of new arrivals ends up wandering through the dining area, looking confused and unsure.
We decide to play it safe and wait for our name to be called, and after about 30 minutes we’re seated in a section where four other booths are empty, despite the line at the door.
The restaurant’s acoustics seem to amplify the crowd noise. It’s so loud we can barely hear each other at our table (a matter not helped by the screaming baby in the booth
We decide to start with the chef’s sampler ($14.95), a trio of chicken appetizers.
Southwest egg rolls are crunchy and delicious, while shrimp-and-chicken potstickers are so-so. A big disappointment, though, are the glazed chicken wings, which are stone-cold.
Steak medallions and crab-stuffed shrimp ($22.95), one of the house specialities, is another mixed bag. The aged beef is tender and tasty, but the crab stuffing has a very “fishy” taste. Gorgonzola potato wedges look and taste like plain potato wedges.
Sweet and spicy cashew Asian stir fry ($14.95), another house speciality, is a large bowl of chicken and vegetables in a thin sauce that’s neither sweet nor spicy. If there’s a difference between “jasmine rice” and plain white rice, I don’t taste it.
Our final entree, goat cheese ravioli topped with spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts ($15.50), is bland and dry despite the menu’s mention of a brown butter sauce. Even our dessert, chocolate peanut butter pie with an Oreo crust ($6.25), is curiously lacking in flavor.
The good news for Gilbert residents is more restaurants are coming soon to SanTan Village, including the Keg Steakhouse, Kona Grill and Brio Tuscan Grille.
Until then, they’ll have to continue to watch their wait.
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
Where: 2218 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert (other locations in Tempe and Scottsdale)
Open: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Prices: Appetizers $5.95-$11.75, salads $4.95-$13.95, pizzas $10.95-$12.25, sandwiches $8.95-$11.50, entrees $11.95-$26.95, desserts $6.25
Information: (480) 722-0883 or www.gordonbiersch.com