For our last evening in Alaska, we tried the Glacier Brewhouse, based on some recommendations from Anchorage locals. While the food was good, it didn't live up to the expectations I had based on the personal recommendations and the positive reviews here on Tripadvisor.
First, I'll say that the restaurant is visually quite stunning. The interior is beautiful and well laid-out, with beautiful wood and interesting archetictural elements. It's a very pleasant environment.
Though the food is good, it doesn't live up to the high standards set by the physical appeal of the restaurant. Don't get me wrong, you'll get a good meal, but based on what I had heard, how incredibly busy the place always is, and how stunning the place looks, I expected an OUTSTANDING meal, and it was not that.
As might be expected of an Anchorage restaurant, the menu has a good representation of fish and seafood items, though meat lovers will find plenty that appeals to them as well. The food (especially the seafood) is very fresh, but the preparation isn't particularly creative. The food tastes good, but it's not memorable. In fact, less than a week after eating there, I'm racking my brain to even remember what we chose off the menu for dinner!
The service was, at best, average, and not really in keeping with what one might expect from a restaurant in this class. Our server was not particularly knowledgeable, responsive, or professional, and she wasn't well-equipped to answer questions about the menu choices or to help make a selection. Perhaps she was just new and the other servers are better, but I don't know.
For a brewhouse, I wasn't particularly impressed with the beer either. Alaska seems like a place where beer is taken seriously, and it's one of those places that has a disproportionate number of really good craft breweries/brewpubs, but I didn't think the beer here was up to the standards of other places I had tried in Alaska. Again, it was good, but not quite up to expectations.
This is a popular place where the waits for a table tend to be really long if one doesn't have a reservation, and I think it's something of a default choice among many visitors and residents when thinking of a place to eat in downtown Anchorage. I get the sense they're riding that popularity and slacking on quality a bit, because they can. This place does draw large crowds, of all kinds. It seems that this is a popular dining destination for cruise ship patrons visiting Anchorage. On a different note, the party seated next to us consisted of what seemed to be two "professional women" (and I'm not talking about accountants or lawyers here) and a trashy little guy who seemed to be either their "client" or their "employer," if you know what I mean and I think you do, who were living it up and behaving somewhat inappropriately, which didn't make for the most pleasant dining experience. Not the restaurant's fault of course, but just an illustration that the place seems very popular with most crowds that have a little money to spend, and it seems like they might feel that they don't have to work as hard as other places to earn that money.
As far as the prices go, while this is not a cheap places (few if any nice restaurants in Anchorage are cheap), I was actually somewhat surprised that the prices were not higher. The prices are quite reasonable compared to other upscale Anchorage places, especially considering how much capital the owners must have invested in the place to have such a beautiful restaurant. This may be one of the reasons why the place is as crowded as it is.
In short, I'd consider eating there again the next time I find myself in Anchorage, though it probably wouldn't be my first choice.
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