Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Review: Coin Haus

Why the dog, you ask? The better question is why not?
Coin Haus isn't about food. In fact, it's so not about food that nearly half the menu comes from its next-door neighbor, Bo-Beau. Instead, this inventive concept from the ubiquitous Cohn Group revolves around two other staples of life: beer and arcade games.

The centerpiece of Coin Haus is a safety-orange shipping container housing fifty (yes, fifty) self-serve taps—mostly beer, but also a few wines and even cocktails. Each tap has a screen with a description of the drink and the price per ounce. Just grab a glass, place your tab-tracking card on the screen, and pour.

The system is clever and seamless—it's like small plates, but for beer. (Small glasses?) We sampled probably fifteen different drinks between the two of us. Some of the highlights, bearing in mind that I'm not necessarily a beer snob (er, connoisseur):

  • Karl Strauss' peanut butter cup porter had a good peanut butter scent and wasn't as bitter as I've found a lot of porters to be.
  • The chocolate coffee stout was pleasantly bittersweet with a coffee aftertaste.
  • I usually enjoy the berry flavors of lambics, but their blueberry lambic was mouth-puckeringly sour and had an unpleasant aftertaste reminiscent of a barnyard.
  • I tried one of their three featured cocktails, the Sabe bourbon cinnamon maple old fashioned. It was oddly carbonated and had a very sweet foretaste with the cinnamon coming on later and the maple almost an afterthought. Aggressively festive but good in small enough doses.
  • Superfood Coffee Co.'s Norwegian Cold Brew was very tasty, creamy and not too strong—maybe even a little fruity.

The range of games is relatively small compared to a full arcade, but they do have a healthy selection of essentials like Frogger, Joust and Contra. They were a blast to play—sometimes literally: I tried out the legendary light gun shooter Duck Hunt for the first time ever. We played two-player Super Mario Bros—significantly harder on an arcade setup! We even snuck in a round of foosball (which, in case you're wondering, I dominated).

They're, uh... not much to look at. But good!
Since this is a food blog, I should probably mention the food at some point. (Novel, I know!) The fried chicken sliders (courtesy of Bo-Beau) were absolutely delicious—and not just delicious "for a pub." They nailed the essential crispy exterior, while the chicken itself was steamy and moist. It was all slathered in a tangy and herbaceous sauce that I wished there was even more of.

Amy's reuben on rye was just adequate, probably because it was made in-house and not next door. The sandwich was crisply thin-pressed with some good salty pastrami, but it literally came with a packet of Newman's Own thousand island dressing and a bag of Lay's. Pretty underwhelming to say the least.

If you want to eat well here, you definitely need to order off the Bo-Beau section of the menu—or maybe even just eat at Bo-Beau first and come for drinks and games after. But though the food is a bit of an afterthought, it's almost justifiable when the other attractions are this entertaining.

Score: 8 out of 10 (Superior)

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