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Gordon Biersch

July 7, 2008

Gordon Biersch Sommerfest

I have long been a passionate advocate of excellence in brewing, at least in terms of how I wield my power as a consumer. And while my beer knowledge may not be as robust as I imagine, my gut doesn’t usually lead me astray.

In my many years in Japan, the Gordon Biersch brand easily dipped under my radar, but I became acquainted through a recent supermarket purchase that started with a sale sticker. I bought a case of pilsner and was not disappointed. A flavorful lager indeed, in the German mold.

Little did I know, they do food too – brewpub style, a la TY Harbor (a destination any Tokyo gaijin worth his salt should know). Unfortunately, their food is no match for their beer, as we were to discover on our (my) pre-fourth mission to watch a free show by ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro (more on that in the next post).

On the plus side, Gordon Biersch’s ambience is easily the most inviting of any of the Aloha Tower eateries – save the upscale Chai’s Island Bistro. I mean, it’s either there or Hooters. Mmm, Hooters…

Where was I? Ambience. High ceilings, dark wood, hanging lights, outdoor bar overlooking the bay – for a chain the place really has a nice feel. It is a shame, then, that the food doesn’t aspire to anything beyond chain level. But then, I guess that’s what makes the prices competitive with other Aloha Tower restaurants. A crab shrimp salad with pita was bland, and a macadamia-encrusted mahi-mahi was flavory, but kind of garish.

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