Saturday, December 21, 2013

Episode XXIII: Wrecking Bar Brewpub (ATL)

In the early days of the Reuben Ranger the scope of the blog was narrow. Reubens only.  A co-worker told me about the House Pastrami Sandwich at the Wrecking Bar Brewpub and suggested I check it out for the blog. It certainly sounded like it was created in the spirit of a Reuben but it was not called one. I emailed the Wrecking Bar to ask if they ever considered adding a Reuben to the menu and they actually wrote back with a great description of their House Pastrami. It was this series of events that compelled me to add Reuben-inspired sandwiches to the blog. After trying it, I was glad I did.

House Pastrami Sandwich
“Painted Hills brisket, house cured & smoked, baby collards kimchi, Korean chili-garlic mayo & baby Swiss, marbled rye”

Appearance – (4.2/5.0)
Pretty standard presentation of the sandwich itself and the rest of the plate complement it well. The pickle’s crinkle cut really stood out and I was so happy to see a Reuben without toothpicks.  A Reuben sans toothpicks and nobody died, nobody spilled on themselves, and nobody missed them. Bravo!

Quality Of Ingredients – (4.8/5.0)
This sandwich was an excellent combination of quality fundamental ingredients taken to the next level by flawless culinary execution.  They have taken the time to make their own brine and have nailed just the right amount of smoke. Smoke is not an ingredient you hear about on this blog but it was no doubt a foundational ingredient.  All of this comes together to make a phenomenal pastrami. There is more about it in the taste section.  Bottom line is they started with solid ingredients and knew what to do with them.

Price – (4.1/5.0)
$11. My son can count to 11 so it can’t be that high, but anything in double digits better be worth it.  When I reached out to the management, they really detailed the time and effort that goes into creating the dish. I have to admit that it does come out in the taste. The atmosphere was very warm and welcoming. The service was prompt without feeling rushed. Tough to crack a 4.0 at $11 but they did.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (4.0/5.0)
 Oddly enough, my wife and I came away from this experience talking about the fact that our server brought us separate checks. We didn’t know what to think and just laughed about it. That has not happened in the seven years we have been together.
This sandwich may have exposed a flaw in my rating system because it does not score overwhelmingly high in this category. The quality and strengths of the sandwich were front and center. There was not much mystery about what made it so good. One thing different was that it had a spicy element.  That chili-garlic mayo has a slow burn that I enjoyed.

Taste – (9.7/10.0)
Salt, smoke, and fat. Boom! Salt + smoke I think of a great piece of smoked Salmon. Salt + fat, think French fries. Fat + smoke, hmm. What has fat and smoke but not a whole lot of salt… Remember folks, I’m an amateur here.
The meat in this sandwich had a great blend of the three. There may have been just a bit too much salt. I tried my wife’s burger and I thought the same thing. The rye bread, which I have not mentioned yet, played a great supporting role. It let the stars shine but was there to answer the call when necessary.

Overall – (26.8/30.0)
Wow. Would I order it again? Yes! Even at $11. It was not the classic Reuben, but it is one I think every Reuben-lover out there would enjoy.

I also think it is great the manager took time to send me a detailed email about the sandwich. I take this blog seriously and it is nice to see other people do too. Top to bottom great experience and I can’t wait to go back.
Wrecking Bar Brewpub on Urbanspoon

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