Dan Gordon’s puts an emphasis on the three staples of a true American diet: beer, barbecue and bourbon. As a newcomer to the bustling downtown Palo Alto restaurant scene, Dan Gordon’s balances sophistication with a socially conscious spin, luring in hipsters, techies and everything in between to its communal eat-and-drink space.

The restaurant officially opened its doors in March as part of a collaboration between Gordon Biersch Brewery co-founder Dan Gordon and Palo Alto restaurateur Steve Sinchek. The duo set out with a mission to serve comfort food made with locally sourced, organic ingredients. A list of the restaurant’s partner farms sits above the kitchen and includes local favorites like Dirty Girl Produce, Gizdich Ranch and Mary’s Organic Chicken.

We were seated comfortably near one of the many flat screen TVs and munched on a bowl of Cajun seasoned popcorn while waiting on our drinks. I ordered the seven-beer sampler ($15) for a taste of the newest beers in the expansive drink menu, which also includes local wines and rare whiskeys on tap. Two brews that stood out were the IPA, a hoppy but balanced West Coast style ale, and the Wildcide hard cider, which was refreshing without being overwhelmingly sweet.

For starters, we decided on the roasted coastal cauliflower ($10). It came decorated with golden raisins and neat slices of caramelized orange. Seasoned and roasted just right, what really made the dish stand out was the brown butter sauce—we ended up dipping everything else we ate in it, too.

I ordered the strawberry rustic panzanella salad with miso vinaigrette ($13) while my dining partner went with a classic two-meat combo platter with St. Louis ribs and Sonoma range turkey breast ($24). Dan Gordon’s isn’t exactly the most vegetarian-friendly place—“Hey vegetarians, stop eating my food’s food!” is written out in large chalk letters above the dining area—but the salad was tasty and fresh, although the dressing was more like a glaze than vinaigrette. The ribs and turkey breast were both expertly cooked, thanks in part to the 750-pound oak-fired smoker on the premises. It had just enough smoky mesquite flavor to pair with the homemade habañero barbecue sauce.

In between bites, we cleansed our palettes with Gordon’s famous garlic fries ($8), alternating between three house-made barbecue sauces. The rest of the menu boasts upscale and unique takes on traditional bar food like brisket poutine ($12), chili mac n’ cheese ($13) and house-smoked wings with pickled crudité ($14).

Dan Gordon’s
640 Emerson St, Palo Alto.
650.324.1960. dangordons.com