I stopped here on a recent Sunday afternoon with my friend for lunch and did not leave disappointed. Rather, I left satisified and full, a good thing. First of all, it's a chain. But, if my first experience here is any indication, it's going to be a successful chain. BJ's Restaurant apparently started out in California, then later added a brewhouse, and now they serve a lot of their own brews. I tried two and they were both good. The first one I tried was the Jeremiah's Red, an Irish-style red ale. It was pretty good though maybe just a tad too sweet for my taste, but definitely a good beer. The second I tried was the Piranha Pale Ale--I liked this on very, very much. I am a fan of pale ales and especially IPAs, and this was right on the mark for my taste. But of course, I was here for lunch, so on to the food.
My friend Tommy and I started with an appetizer, the California Club flatbread pizza. This was a hit! It was a nice and thin flatbread, cooked perfectly, topped with grilled chicken, applewood-smoked bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella, drizzled with roasted garlic aioli and toppe with some fresh diced avocado. Yumm, we both agreed that it was a real hit. The toppings were flavorful and distinct, yet did not overpower the nice and crisp crust. I could eat one or two of these myself. The portion was not huge which made it a perfect appetizer for two, eight slices of yummy goodness.
I ordered a salad to go with my meal, but I made a mistake, I should have asked for the dressing on the side. Oh well. The salad arrive and was nice and fresh iceber lettuce with some carrots, cheese, tomato, and cucumbers. The dressing was a raspberry-walnut viniagrette. I'm pretty much a minimalist when it comes to dressing, so there was too much for me, but your mileage may very. The salad was very tasty. One thing that really impressed me was the croutons--they were exceedingly crisp, the practically exploded in my mouth when I bit into one, and that was a good thing. I liked my salad, can you tell??
For my appetizer, I ordered the Fish Tacos. I love a good fish taco, but sometimes they are just messy and flavorless. These were exceptional, perhaps the best fish tacos I've ever had! A long strip of halibut had been breaded with panko bread crumbs, then lightly fried, placed on a tortilla and topped with chipotle mayonnaise, Santa Fe dressing, napa cabbage, carrots, red onion, and cilatro. It was served with some tortilla chips, and avocado cream sauce, and a fire-roasted tomato salsa. When served, they were very fresh. The fish was still hot and very tender and cooked perfectly, the veggies cold and crisp. I loved the flavor of this dish. The chips and cream/salsa were a nice touch, though I found the fire-roasted tomato salso to be too thin, it didn't really want to stick to the chips. I did pour just a bit on my fish taco and that jazzed them up even further. I loved this dish, it was excellent, as good as any I've ever had!
My friend Tommy ordered the California Burger. It was a half-pound angus buger topped with avocado, roasted green chilies, pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayonnaise dressing. It was served with potato wedges. The sandwich itslef was very good, served on toasted thick bread. The burger was cooked medium-well, but was still plenty tender and juicy, a testament to good technique. I had a taste, and this sandwich was awesome--and huge. He took home half of it to save for another time. The only real misstep we experienced was that someone who was not-our-waitress brought out the food. Right after that, Tommy wanted some ketchup for his potato wedges, but we had to wait a bit to flag our waitress down. Not a big deal.
Overall, I had no complaints at all about the food here. I'd go back in a heartbeat and take friends and/or family here to eat. The prices were reasonable, the beer variety good, and the food tasty. We arrive about 2 PM on a Sunday to find them still quite busy from the lunch rush. They are a pretty new place, but my gut instinct tells me that if they continue to pay attention to the details and give good fresh and well cooked food promptly at a good price, they'll develop quite a following and be around for a long time. We both agreed that we'd like to come back and sample some of the other menu items, everything looked very good. Definitely good eats!