Beer Journal

A quasi-daily examination of beer and things related to beer.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Eats: Ripe

Ripe Eatery (910 Redd Road, El Paso, Texas) is owned by Dallas brother sister combo Adam Lampinstein and Becky Atkins; he's the exec-chef and she's the business manager. The familial air extends to both the menu and the dining itself, making it a perfect destination for myself, my wife Annette and our daughter.

I wouldn't call Ripe a "family friendly" restaurant so much as it's a restaurant that's suitable for family dining. There's only one TV in the small bar area, the decor is modern/practical and the set up is compacted in a small space without feeling crowded. When sitting at one of the tables or, as we did, in the parameter half-booths, the experience mimics that of a diner or small cafe.

But where Ripe really makes a mark is with its menu. Annette enjoyed a chicken salad sandwich, prepared as is it traditionally done these days, on to fat slices of wheat bread, with shoestring fries on the side. Our daughter had some perfectly seasoned scrabbled eggs and a couple slices of bacon. I outwhataburgred them both with "Eggs Caprese", one of Ripe's three takes on Benedict (they also have traditional and salmon versions). In between the poached egg and English muffin I found basil pesto, roasted tomato and softly melted mozzarella. Not completely visionary at its premise, but Ripe's house hollandaise is the aristocracy of the sauce - smooth as silk with a taste of lemon - and the entire meal came together perfectly. Not even a single hashbrown remained on my plate.

Of course, as per this journal's description, I enjoyed a couple beers with my meal. (Dad's still part of the family, right?) I started with a brunch staple: Hoegaarden, because it's light, crisp and won't overpower delicate eggs. For dessert, I opened up another old favorite, Brooklyn Brown Ale. Just wafting this brew reminded my of my favored pockets of New York, it's sweeter than most pub browns, which is not a descriptor you expect to hear from anything originating from the named borough.

For those of you with young children that would enjoy a dinner out without having to sit through the typical chain places, Ripe is a perfect brunch destination. I'll update this listing after going there for dinner, but I can easily see Ripe making a seamless transition to adult-only nighttime eatery.


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