Saturday, March 22, 2014

Episode XXV: Manuel's Tavern (ATL)

Episode XXV was more than a week in the making. We tried to go out for a Reuben on March 15th and struck out at several places.  I have started calling ahead now because some places have a Reuben on their website menu but will not have it when you order it. This is unacceptable. Manuel's Tavern in Poncey-Highlands came to the rescue. 

I have been in Atlanta for about two years now and I have not been to all of the places but I have at least heard of most. I had never heard of Manuel’s. It had great reviews online and I was craving a Reuben.

“Turkey or corned beef on grilled marbled rye with sauerkraut and Swiss. 1000 island on the side."

Appearance – (3.1/5.0)
Not much of a wow factor with this one. I think the Chef would be disappointed to know that my server presented the dish with the sandwich on the far side. It seems distant and you cannot see all of the goodness that is inside. So I helped him out a bit.

There, that’s better. You can also see the marbling on the rye from this angle and the overflowing cheese is almost enough to distract you from the toothpicks.

Quality Of Ingredients – (4.3/5.0)
Good stuff on this one. The sandwich was prepared in what I like to call the Philly cheesesteak style. This makes it harder to really get a grasp of each individual ingredient. The one exception is the 1000 island. I was surprised when the sandwich came and I saw that on the side. I did not remember ordering it that way and I didn’t.  Looking back at the menu it is advertised that way.  Super tasty. I asked our server if it was homemade and he said yes, but he did not seem too sure of his answer.  The rye held its own despite being on the burned side of “grilled”.

Price – (4.7/5.0)
The price point of $8.25 is about right for the portion size but what gives it such a high score is everything that came with it, not the least of which is plentiful free parking. This place has two adjacent lots that are reserved just for Manuel’s.  Furthermore, each table has not one, not two, but three ketchup bottles ready to go.  We sat in one of the large dining rooms and most of the TVs were on one of the NCAA tournament games. The one directly in front of us was on commercial.  Two minutes later I realized it was still on the same thigh/butt toning infomercial. I was starting to feel guilty watching all of these healthy people tone their lower body while my lazy ass was drinking a beer and preparing to dominate a Reuben. Our server changed the channel to the game and all was right in the world.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (4.2/5.0)
This is a great not-so-little neighborhood bar. We got there after the brunch but before the lunch crowd. It was quiet but you can tell the place gets packed. The 1000 island on the side threw me.  Sometimes I get worried I am going to run out of things to write about Reubens and little things like that keep me going. If anyone from Manuel’s is reading this can you let me know if the 1000 is actually homemade?

Taste – (9.0/10.0)
One advantage of having the 1000 island on the side is you can make sure you get some on each bite. The portion they give you is big enough to put a lot on each bite if you want. It tastes great but it is heavy. There was more than enough butter on the bread and that plus the richness of the 1000 island can be too much. After a few 1000 island bites I cleansed by palate with fries and ketchup then I was ready to go back in. Tender beef and lots of good melted Swiss made it easy to enjoy without piling on the 1000 island.

Overall – (25.3/30.0)
I would say this score accurately reflects the experience.  Manuel’s is close by and I can see myself going there again for sure. My wife got the pulled pork and it was not the best, very porky (Good thing I don’t write a BBQ blog huh?). Other than that they have a good beer selection and even craft sodas.  The wife really did like her Root Beer.
Would I order it again? Yes.

Well done Manny.
Manuel's Tavern on Urbanspoon

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