Saturday, August 27, 2016

Episode XLVI: D'Lox (ELP)

Wedding Season!

The whole family was back in El Paso to cap off the 2017 Wedding Season.  One great thing about being home is that there is no shortage of babysitters for the little guy. I love spending time with Danny but it is nice to get out on a date every once and again.

I started looking for Reubens online in El Paso and it was not easy to find one. Lots of the pubs and bars you would hope would have one simply didn’t. So what did I do? I asked my mom.  She told me about D’Lox, a great place where she meets her friends for lunch and she knew first hand that they had a Reuben.  The only difficult part was trying to understand her over the phone saying D’Lox.

Spicy Reuben
“Shaved corn beef & sauerkraut on grilled rye. Served with imported Swiss spicy Reuben sauce.”

Appearance – (4.0/5.0)
Lots of fries and there is a Reuben down there somewhere. These are what I like to call Country Club fries. The El Paso Country Club has these and I can remember eating them in the club house as a kid. They have that extra egg batter on them and are super good.

You can see there is lots going on once you get down to the Reuben,  visible sauce, good cross section of meat, and non-uniform cut sauerkraut. There is only one toothpick and at least it is easy to spot. The bottom half is stabilized by the top half and the toothpick is holding the top together. It seems to be functional but I would just like to think the sauce is enough of a binding agent/adhesive to keep everything together.

Quality of Ingredients – (4.4/5.0)
I was very pleased with the quality of everything on the table, even the lime wedges they brought me for my water. The sauerkraut tasted fresh and was not bitter or too acidic. I don’t think anyone sells Spicy Reuben sauce so I assume they make it in-house.  It wasn’t spicy but still awesome in its own right and seemed to be homemade.  The little pepperoncini pepper had a good snap too. I don’t think anyone makes those so it is a good test to see how much they are willing to spend on pantry items.  

Price – (3.8/5.0)
$12.00! I know this is the Westside of El Paso but it is still El Paso. $12.00 for anything in El Paso that does not have a T-bone in it is expensive.  The portion is generous and it includes lots of fries but it is still steep.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (3.8/5.0)
This is the place in El Paso for ladies who lunch. The décor is warm but I thought the music was just a bit too loud.  As much as I don’t like toothpicks in my food, at least this one really calls your attention to it. It is adorned with a pickle wrapped around a pepper.  If that doesn’t say El Paso deli, I don’t know what does.

I was let down just a bit by the lack of spice. If something is advertised as spicy on the border you expect them to deliver.  This place is relatively new and definitely not around when I was growing up. I like that El Paso keeps growing and adding cool new places.

Taste – (8.9/10.0)
I could tell from the first bite that this was going to be a great Reuben. The only thing that kills me is the soggy buttery bread. This is turning into a theme on this blog. My theory is restauranteurs are trying to mask the flavor of the rye bread to market the Reuben to the masses. I don’t understand it. I found a stray Caraway seed and it was great all by itself. The rye flavor is there but you lose some of it with the butter.

Now the butter can be good to add just a bit of flavor and give the bread a nice color on the grill but that is it. The butter should be a condiment or garnish, not an ingredient. This is not a grill cheese where the butter is pretty much the reason you eat the sandwich.
The shaved corned beef was just tender enough where you could pull it apart but still had enough body to give it great flavor. If you pull up to a Texas meat market, walk away with a huge brisket, and don’t plan on turning it into barbeque, you better have a good plan. I would say the folks at D’Lox did the brisket proud.

Finally, the non-spicy sauce really brought everything together. Sometimes the fat kid inside of me just wants to devour something when it is good. I really have to pace myself, put down the sandwich, take a drink of water, make eye contact with my wife, try to pick out something from the last thing she said and ask a follow-up, then throw in a “is that right?”. You get the idea. This was a good one and I had to remind myself to go slow and enjoy it.

Overall – (24.9/30.0)
Would I order it again? Yes, if I was coming for a weekday lunch AND I would ask the chef to go easy on the butter.  I don’t know if I would order it again if I came for a weekend brunch though. It would be hard to pass up the crab benedict or even the chilaquiles. 

Reubens might be hard to find in ELP but they are great when you do.