Ghazi wrote:Oh my Sweetness. . .the meaty yet obscenely tender Montreal Brisket Sandwich at Hopleaf was other-worldly. Easily the most tender brisket i've ever placed on this gluttonous tongue (Which was a pleasant surprise considering some LTHers said theirs was dry or gristly)...
Yeah, I was one of those. I'm on record (earlier in this very same thread -- you only have to back up a coupla posts) as dissing the Montreal-style brisket. danimalarkey responded in fact. Since then, I've done a complete 180º and have been ordering it regularly, nearly to the exclusion of everything else on the menu (although I opt for the platter over the sandwich). Brisket, as I have learned from this forum, is a capricious dish, highly subject to variances of temperature, cut, and cooking time. Having said that, whoever it is in the Hopleaf kitchen that has been tasked with making it, has just graduated with honors, and entered the secret Holy Brotherhood of Exalted Pitmasters and Smokehouse Tenders. Wow.
It was sublimely tender with layers of smoky spiciness that lingered on the tongue. I had it last night with Bell's Best Brown Ale which turned out to be an excellent pairing. Ghazi got it right, at least for me: that was the best brisket I had in my life.
Time to eat some crow with that brisket: this about-face is entirely typical of my 14-year love-hate relationship with the Hopleaf. Along with others on this board and its predecessor forum, I have slagged the Hopleaf in the past for brusque service. Well, guess what. Now, I'm on a first-name basis with all
of the barstaff who have on occasion, poured me a free beer, and who I have, rightly, tipped generously in return. My frequent patronage has not earned me any special privileges -- I have to wait along with the rest of the madding crowd for a seat at the bar. But I find myself returning to the Hopleaf every few weeks for two basic reasons: good food and good beer.
Ghazi wrote:I wasnt crazy about the frittes, but the MacnCheese with Stilton cheese was outstanding.
Word. The Stilton Mac 'n Chee is my go-to order when I'm not feeling very hungry. I favor it over the version served at Kuma's, in that it is drier,
which accentuates the creaminess of the Stilton. I usually have it with either a Ommegang Hennepin or a Leffe Blonde, both of which are permanent tap fixtures. One issue their Mac 'n Chee suffers from is the amount of time it spends under the broiler. The way I prefer it is with little peaks of brown, caramelized carbonization amidst a sparse field of chives, which makes for a highly striking visual presentation. At other times, it has come out a uniform light golden color, which although pretty, signals that it is underdone. I've debated with myself whether to send it back when it arrives that way, but haven't worked up the nerve (the servers have me trained too well I guess).
makemedinner wrote:Unintentionally beer night turned into date night on the Goose Island Bourbon County release night...
I had that as well after a Surly Furious, a Lagunitas Imperial Red, and two Bell's Best Browns. After so much tasty beer, you would think that a Goose Island offering would make little impact on an alcohol-addled brain, but it did in fact, make a spectacular one. Given it's absurdly high ABV (18%), I initially dismissed it as being a trendy improvisation on the part of GI, but this was the first stout I tasted where the vaunted chocolate notes that most brewers boast of were profound and up-front. I might as well have been drinking a chocolate liqueur it was so rich. A nice way to end the evening, though they could have been more generous -- it was served in an 8 oz. goblet.