Thursday, July 4, 2013

Episode XV: Meehan's Public House (ATL)

The rain held out just long enough in Atlanta this year to get in the Peachtree Road Race. It was my first time running so I was happy to get my Fourth of July off to a good start. I did not want to complain about the rain the rest of afternoon so I thought I would go get a Reuben. Meehan’s Public House in Vinings it is.
A Reuben on the Fourth? You bet! It may not seem American but it is. There are competing accounts of where the Reuben originated, but both claim it happened here in the U.S.A.  So Happy Birthday America!
Meehan’s Corned Beef Reuben
“Heywood’s corned beef, Swiss Cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, on marble rye”

Appearance – (4.6/5.0)
Very nice. Fans of the blog know I do not like toothpicks and I may have said that a Reuben with toothpicks would never score above a 4.0, but allow me to explain. It is not that I don’t like toothpicks in my food; it is that I am scared of forgetting about them and piercing my gums! Small toothpicks are dangerous and are asking for trouble. Sometimes they try to mitigate this danger by putting those sparkly tips on the end. I am not impressed. The line cook that puts those things in must feel like a matador. He probably goes up on his toes before sticking the banderillas into the sandwich. Anyways, the larger than life toothpicks are easily indentified and removed. I think I was at a greater risk of poking my eye out than piercing my gums.
You can tell there was some thought put into this solid presentation; both sides of the sandwich are showcased. This is the color profile you are supposed to see in a Reuben.  (Don’t be shy about zooming in with your smart phone on this one) The color of the corned beef is classic and you can make out each of the other components. No visible marble on the rye but you can make out the caraway seeds.

Quality Of Ingredients – (3.9/5.0)

The corned beef was very tender, a bit salty, but it was a quality product. The other components were hard to find but good when you found them. The Swiss cheese was melty, but I think it may have lost some of its depth of flavor in the change of state. The sauerkraut was above average but I did not give it much thought after the first bite. I honestly cannot remember much about the Russian dressing… I guess that means it was just average.

Price – (3.0/5.0)
Whoa man, whoa! $12 for a Reuben? Really? I mean I realize we are in swanky Vinings here but $12 is a bit much. I saw that on the menu and the whole time I was waiting for my food I was looking around trying to figure out how I would justify $12. I worked in real-estate finance in a previous life and I almost got out my old Excel real estate pro-forma to model the P&L for this place and see if I could back solve to a $12 Reuben.  They are literally charging more than they do at the airport.
What else could you buy in metro-Atlanta for $12? You could buy 12 bags of Animal Crackers at Target.  It is not like there was trivia, live music or something else to offset the price either. The best tasting beer is the one that is free.  Knowing the steep price did slightly inhibit the experience for me from that point on.

Update: Meehan's got back to me about this price. The reason it is so expensive is that the corned beef and bread is locally sourced. The Chef puts lots of time and effort to make this a great sandwich.  I appreciate them getting back to me and the love they put into their Reuben. As a result, I have adjusted this score up to a 3.0 from the original 1.9.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (3.8/5.0)
Once it did come and I got over the fact that it was $12, I was pleased. This Reuben had a great smell as it came to the table, something I do not remember writing about for others on the blog. The sweet potato fries gave it a color backdrop on which to shine. I also loved the generous portion of corned beef (still not $12 worth).  There were some bites that were just a mouthful of beef.  Mmmm…
Taste – (8.6/10.0)
Simply put, this was an excellent Reuben. It was just a tad bit too salty to get a 9.0. That is a shame too because sometimes restaurants just use salt to help along a mediocre dish.  There was no need for that here. More than anything I think it was just good execution of what a Reuben should be. The last two blog posts have been of Reuben wanna-be failures. I really wanted to find a good one to get back up on the horse.
I would have liked more of a kick from the Russian dressing and perhaps more Swiss cheese.  There were some bites that did not have either.  The bread was nice, could have been more toasted but had good flavor.

Overall – (23.9/30.0)
The big question is would I order it again? No, not for that price. What can I say, I am a finance guy and I’m cheap. I really liked the place, the servers were nice and Danny was having fun people watching. I would go back to have a pint at the bar ($5.50 for a pint of Sam Adams) but I will just eat somewhere else. 
Our au pair, Heidy, joined us and it was her first Reuben!

Meehan's Public House on Urbanspoon Meehan's Public House, Vinings

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