Block Table and Tap – El Paso, Texas
4172 North Mesa Street
Block Table and Tap – El Paso, TexasJun 07
A gastropub, in the simplest of layman’s terms, is a drinking establishment at which the standard bar food served doesn’t suck. Ok, so that was a bit crass but to ME, a gastropub is a place where I can get a tasty draft beer, preferably a craft brew, and consume food that I actually desire and enjoy rather than merely stomach for lack of options like at a typical bar (i.e. frozen, deprived chicken wings and stale nachos). In the rising age of the U.S. gastropub, the recently opened Block Table and Tap in El Paso epitomizes what I look for in such an establishment. While Block strives to be first and foremost a bar, it will surely be their enticing, eclectic menu and delicious sharable eats that set Block apart in this city.
Although their official “grand opening” is not until June 16th, 2013, a group of friends and I went to scope out Block last night to see just what had become of the space that previously housed the disappointing Square Cow bar and restaurant. To our relief, Square Cow’s cheesy faux cow hide stools and tacky green plastic chairs had been replaced with tastefully simple furniture, additional group seating, and a bright, modern bar. Perhaps Block’s best features are the two spacious outdoor patios and the retractable glass doors and windows that when opened, give the whole place a breezy, contemporary beer garden feel. Although they may not offer the highly extensive craft brew repertoire of their neighbor The Hoppy Monk, the 30+ selections on tap and considerable list of bottled options should satisfy any beer drinker. For the cocktail-inclined, Block’s hand crafted concoctions featuring fresh ingredients muddled to perfection are sure to please.
After settling on your beverage of choice, I challenge you to pick just one item from Block’s “Food We Make” menu (trust me, it is not actually possible). You cannot go wrong with any of the tapas style appetizers, but I recommend trying the “Devils on Horseback” blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, “Drunken Mussels” steamed in white ale and the “Block Board” of meats and cheeses. Any of the three mac and cheese varieties are a sure bet, particularly the lobster mac which far from skimps on those juicy morsels of lobster goodness. The salt and pepper calamari and accompanying sriracha dipping sauce are worth trying, but I wished there were crispy as described. The lobster rolls, while flavorful and bright with citrus, were overshadowed by the overly bready and dry roll itself, but still refreshing in the El Paso heat. For something a bit more substantial, try the tasty Moroccan Lamb Burger which remained fresh and light tasting despite the hefty ground lamb burger. Finish off your smörgåsbord of samplings with one of Block’s tempting desserts and a swash of hefeweizen and enjoy the cool summer breeze that sweeps through the bar. I am curious to see how Block fairs as a nightspot, but with its 2:00 AM closing time 7 days a week and outdoor patios, I’d be willing to bet it catches on quickly.
Now I just need to figure out how soon I can get back to Block to indulge in the rest of the menu!
Block Table & Tap
4172 North Mesa Street
El Paso, Texas