Saturday, April 5, 2014

Episode XXVI: Ri Ra (ATL)

One of the greatest things about Atlanta is that it’s an ACC city. I mean that in the literal sense because we have Georgia Tech, although you would never know it walking around town.  SEC polos, hats, license plates, and doggie t-shirts outnumber the ACC gear by probably 3:1.  As a UVA graduate I appreciate having Tech here because that means I get to see my Hoos frequently.  This beautiful spring Saturday brought the UVA Men’s Tennis team to town and I wanted to see if I could get a Reuben before the match. 
Props to RiRa and their PR team because when I typed in “Pub Midtown Atlanta” they are the first thing that popped up. I checked their menu and sure enough, they had a Reuben.

Publican Reuben
“house brined corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss, Marie Rose, grilled rye”

Appearance – (4.5/5.0)
Bravo! Just a little bit of effort on the presentation goes a long way. I like the long plate and the bread has an appealing brown crisp edge. Grilled rye can quickly turn into burned rye but this looks like they got it just right. This side shot looks even better with all of the Swiss coming out but wait! They missed a crumb.  

I have seen enough cooking shows to know that someone back there is supposed to take a napkin and clean the edge of the plate before it goes out.

Quality Of Ingredients – (4.6/5.0)
The house brined corned beef was no joke. The bartender told me they brine it for 36 hours in-house.  I know I have lauded other rye with a nice marble pattern but a good marble does not always mean good bread. This rye was absent the marble but did have the visible Caraway seeds. It was quality bread that was grilled well and held its own. The Marie rose tasted like it was made from scratch from high quality ingredients.  What goes into a Marie Rose sauce? I couldn’t tell you, but I like it.

Price – (4.0/5.0)
An even ten bucks for this Reuben and I think that is fair. The sandwich size is about right for that price and there were more fries than I could eat. What I did not like was six bucks for a pint of Stella. That made me feel like I was back in Boston.  I did appreciate the EPL games they had showing at the bar; however,  they do not have Gol TV much to the disappointment of a German couple at the bar hoping to catch a Bundesliga game.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (4.2/5.0)
This was kind of a strange place to be at ~11:30 AM on a Saturday morning. The bar had a few soccer fans and the rest of the place was packed with what looked like a young Asian business professionals networking event.  Couple that with the dim Irish pub lighting and it was interesting for sure.  I would love to come back to this place on a weekend night. You cannot beat the location right in the heart of midtown and it is big enough where you could get a good size group. Actually, $6 pints may push this to the last stop of the night where you just order a club soda before you call Uber and enjoy the crazy people around you.

Taste – (9.4/10.0)
The beef in this Reuben looked like it could have gone into a brisket sandwich back home in Texas. It was not thin deli slices but rather big rustic cuts of meat. It still had the classic corned beef taste but the bigger cuts really let the meaty flavor come through.  I think the bigger chunks also keep more of the natural juices in the meat. The Swiss cheese was plentiful and great but the Marie Rose sauce was subtle. It was a little pleasant surprise each time you would get a taste.

Overall – (26.7/30.0)
Would I order it again? Yes. This was a solo trip so I don’t have anything else to immediately compare it to. The rest of the menu did look great but if there is a solid Reuben then there is little incentive to try anything else. The first time I go to anyplace that has a Reuben I will try it. If it is not good then I will explore other opportunities the next time. The risk to reward ratio for a repeat Reuben is optimal.

On a certain level this is what the Reuben Ranger is all about, mitigating risk for Reuben lovers.  Ordering a Reuben has a high opportunity cost because if you are somewhere that serves a Reuben you are foregoing either a burger or a club sandwich of some kind.  This risk is magnified by the fact that Reubens can really be hit or miss. The coefficient of variation on a Reuben has to be bigger than that of a pub burger. If I can help my readers avoid costly mistakes or even better realize gains with a reduced risk profile then I am doing my job. I am here to serve you.
Ri Ra Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

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