Saturday, January 9, 2016

Epiosde XL: The Hoppy Monk (ELP)

Welcome to Episode XL of the Reuben Ranger. Not only do we now get to use the Roman numeral L, but we can also - well… I guess that is the only thing that is changing. 40!

I was back in El Paso for a quick weekend trip and I knew I wanted to try out The Hoppy Monk. I had been to the location in San Antonio for drinks but the original is in El Paso. There is not much going on in El Paso, and the fact that we have a hip microbrew pub is a big deal. El Paso is not the place I left 14 years ago, it’s way better.

“boar’s head corned beef + fried pickles + house made caraway beer mustard & russian dressing + jewish rye + swiss cheese + sauerkraut”

Appearance – (4.5/5.0)
Wow.  This is a towering sandwich with those two little toothpicks so close together. It reminded me of the John Hancock Center in Chicago.

As much as I complain about toothpicks, sometimes you can argue that they are functional. This Reuben was not cut in half which means the toothpicks really are useless and a public health hazard.  Maybe the Reuben is so tall the toothpicks are just keeping the bread centered and secured on top. If that were the case then one would do. 

The rest of the presentation is smooth. I like the chic newspaper fries, very bistro. The visible green seasoning on the fries give the whole plate a fresh feel. The thick cut corned beef almost looks like bacon! You also get a flash of melted cheese just below the lip of the top bread. 

Quality Of Ingredients – (4.6/5.0)
I was really pleased with the ingredients that went into this Reuben. I read lots of reviews online before going, and one theme was how pleasantly surprised people were with the quality of the food. Everyone knows the beer selection is ridiculous but the quality of the food brings the whole place to another level.

When you talk about a Reuben it starts with the corned beef. I have to look into how you can source Boar’s Head corned beef because that can sometimes be a major letdown.  Remember Episode VI? Some places that advertise Boar’s Head serve it as uniform cold cuts. This was not the case here.  This was thick cut, non-uniform pieces of meat. Can you buy the whole brisket from Boar’s Head? I would think they would have some kind of brand control over when and how places use their name in the product.

Whatever they used, it was great!

Price – (4.0/5.0)
$11.  I remember going out to dinner at Bella Napoli in El Paso as a little kid and the entrees were $5.95. In my mind, anything over that, especially in El Paso, is expensive. I should probably snap out of that thinking.  Double digits in El Paso is not cheap, so it needs to have something to justify that price.  In this case, I think $11 is a good value. The place was hoppying (See what I did there) the whole time we were there.  It can’t be cheap to keep so many beers in stock.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (4.5/5.0)
This Reuben was something special. I think it was the snow white sauerkraut. It really put me in a daze. Also, without getting too much into taste, it was not as heavy as you would think by looking at it. I felt like I could just keep eating even as I was almost done with it.

The atmosphere of the place also helped. I was there with my Dad watching the NFL playoffs. I emailed ahead that day to make sure they had TVs. There are snobby micro-brew places out there that make a point of not having TVs because the beer should be enough to entertain you. Yeah, I am not that kind of beer drinker and I am glad the Hoppy Monk is not that type of place.

Taste – (9.6/10.0)
When you tell people that you write a Reuben blog, and they realize that you aren’t joking, they always ask, “So where is the best one?”  Up until now I usually mention The ATL Chop House or Candler Park Market.

This one is right up there in the conversation. Wow. It wasn’t too salty; it had great body and bite. It was the whole package. This is where I know I’m an amateur because I can’t really articulate how good it was. Trust me, it is one of the best out there.

Overall – (27.2/30.0)
Would I order it again? Yes!  I will forgive them for the toothpicks. I even hear there is a Lengua Reuben at the San Antonio location! I can’t wait to check that one out.

Thank you to everyone was has supported the Reuben Ranger thus far. Here’s to another 40!
The Hoppy Monk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1 comment:

  1. I was simply amazed at the architecture of this absolutely beautiful venue!! The environment was unbelievable. I was fortunate enough to visit event venue Chicago like this, we found awesome things one after another after another.