I hadn't dined in Pasadena in awhile so when I received a media invitation to check out brunch at King's Row, Pasadena's newest Gastropub, I jumped at the chance. At the time I went, it was only the second week that King's Row had brunch available so there were still some adjustments happening to the menu items.
One of the first things I learned when I arrived was that the kitchen was headed by Chef Thomas Jesse, who is Filipino-Mexican. As a Filipina myself, I was looking forward to see what delicious dishes I was going to enjoy under Chef Jesse's helm.
Before my friend and I placed our food order, we both enjoyed sangrias, white for me and red for her.
Then the food started coming out with the first one being the Queso Fundido, a traditional cheese baked with chorizo,potatoes, poblano peppers and topped with a fried egg served with corn tortillas. I've had my share of queso fundido, but this was a first with a fried egg. What do I say about that? Pure genius! I loved the how yolk worked well with the richness of the cheese.
Next came the Country Fried Steak with Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes. The sausages were nicely seasoned and while I enjoyed the battered crispness of the Country Fried Steak, there was one problem with it. Basically, half of the steak was too salty; yet, the other half was fine. What was strange is that a fellow blogger at a neighboring table said that her Country Fried Steak was the same way. Without that seasoning issue, the Country Fried Steak with the gravy would have been a more enthusiastic thumbs up.
The next dish we tried was the Duck Confit Hash with eggs, applewood bacon, onions, polenta, duck fat hash browns and maple-bourbon sauce. I definitely appreciated that the hash browns were cooked in the duck fat and generally, I was fine with this dish, but I could have easily gone without the maple-bourbon sauce. That sauce would have been better on pancakes or waffles. It added a sweet element to this savory dish that I didn't care for, but then my friend enjoyed it. So there you go.
With a burger on the menu, it was a must-order and it was mostly a positive vibes when it came to the Dry Aged Burger with a bacon-onion confit, tillamook white cheddar, St Agur bleu, garlic aioli and homemade roll. One big hit was the bun which is a housemade focaccia bread. That bun was amazing. It was light, fluffy and delicately seasoned with herbs.
I enjoyed the pungency of the blue cheese and how it paired well with the soft sharpness of the white cheddar and how the burger was cooked to a perfect medium. The one miss had to do with the bacon-onion confit which was a little too salty. Perhaps if it was toned down, the burger would be better with it as opposed to without it.
We also had a taste of the Fish and Chips, which were beer battered fish with house cut chips, mushy peas and house tartar sauce. It was a solid dish and I fell in love with the mushy peas.
Our final dish was the Bananas Foster Griddle Cakes. I'm not really much of a pancake or waffle kind of gal when it comes to breakfast and these griddle cakes did nothing to change that for me. The bananas just topped one of the griddle cakes, which left the other two on the dry side and crying for syrup. That maple-bourbon syrup would have definitely done the job.
As I mentioned earlier, at the time of my visit which was in May, King's Row had only been serving brunch for a couple of weeks. At the time I felt that tweaks needed to be made and perhaps, they have been already taken care of or maybe, menu items have been added or removed since then. Regardless, I thought the food was pretty good thanks to Chef Jesse and I'd definitely make a return visit for brunch or even dinner at a later time.
King's Row Gastropub
20 E Colorado Blvd Ste 102