The Yarde House, or what was formerly known to South Hadley residents as "Woodbridges" is one of the best new places to eat in town. Located at 3 Hadley St., South Hadley Mass., The Yarde House offers highly improved and revamped menus, atmosphere and decor. With offerings from all different types of cuisines, the Yarde House is a great place to eat at any time of the year. The warm, dim-lit interior is nice for a cool fall or winter day and during those warm summer nights you can enjoy your meal and a glass of wine at one of their outdoor tables on the patio which has a border of lamps around its fence, creating a great ambiance.
For a starter, try the crispy calamari ($8.99). It's served up in a creative way, the classic marinara nowhere to be seen (although I'm sure they'd bring you some if you asked for it). Tossed with olive oil, garlic, cherry peppers, capers, scallions, and shaved Parmesan cheese, it has a slightly spicy, slightly sweet flavor, and the breading is just right...not too thick and not too greasy. For a twist on an old classic, try the southwest chicken spring rolls ($8.99). They're wonton wrappers filled with spiced chicken, black beans, cheddar cheese, spinach and red pepper and they're lightly fried and served with a creamy avocado dipping sauce. The spring rolls do have a kick, but the avocado sauce smooths everything out and together, they're a great pair.
For sandwiches, my favorite is a toss-up between the chicken panini and the roasted portabella sandwich ($8.99 each). The panini comes on a nice, soft ciabatta, like any good panini should. They spread it with a sundried tomato pesto and fill it with a roasted chicken breast topped with basil, fresh mozzarella and roasted tomato. It's a vamped-up version of an Italian classic and the flavors go really well together. The portabella is great because it eats like a burger but without all the fat and, oh yeah, the meat. They take a huge portabello mushroom, marinate it in balsamic, top it with fresh mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and mesclun mix, and put it on a crunchy (but not too crunchy) rustic roll (because we all know there's nothing worse than biting into a sandwich and cutting up the entire roof of your mouth). The mushroom is tender and juicy and the flavors of the toppings really go well with it. Your choice of Saloon Slaw or french fries (or sweet potato fries for 99 cents extra) completes both sandwiches for a pretty fair price.
If you're interested in something a little bit more dinner entree and less lunch, you have to try their mac-n-cheese ($13.99). It's farfalle pasta tossed in a chipotle and cheddar Béchamel sauce with chopped bacon and diced tomato. The chipotle and the bacon give the dish a slightly smoky flavor and the tomatoes add a nice touch of sweetness that really enhances the savory quality of the dish. Don't bother with the vegetable pasta though ($11.99). The veggies are bland and the "light" tomato sauce is basically just diced tomatoes and very little seasoning.
The Yarde House is a great place to go if you're looking for great variety at reasonable prices. Since the restaurant makeover, it has become one of my favorite spots in South Hadley, and I know many locals who agree.
*All of The Yarde House's menus are available at the link above.