Monday, November 21, 2011


Location: 5148 N Clark
Cost: $30 per person

I've wanted to go to Hopleaf for a really long time. Considering how many beer snobs I have for friends, you'd think this would be an easy task, but things just kept getting in the way. Finally, I was able to lock down my friends Arif and KVG to dinner plans. With empty bellies and good intentions we took the short trip north to Andersonville.

Everything I'd read ahead of time said that Hopleaf was some logistic nightmare, but that's not how we found it. We had a 45 minute wait on a Saturday night at 8PM. This was plenty of time for us to put down a round and start on the second. If you don't know already, they have one of the best beer lists in town. There were multiple places to sit and drink while waiting for tables too (we chose the downstairs bar).

We got sat in this little upstairs area that was a little quieter than the rest of the bustling restaurant. Our server was efficient, but I thought she could've given better guidance through the menu. The cost was pretty variable. They have sandwiches around $10 and entrees from $15-25. Portions were large enough to make these low prices look even better.

The Food
We got things started with a set of their famous Mussels. The waitress sold us on the ham and navy bean version instead of the belgian style which was a huge mistake. The beans were grainy and dry, and I didn't think the ham added much of anything. The message here is to go for the classic mussels. They came with some great fries though. They were a little soggy and had a fantastic aioli sauce for dipping. Our other appetizer was the Rabbit Confit Salad which had a nice savory quality and would've been a great dish if the greens weren't so mushy.

The Rabbit Confit Salad

The Mussels with Ham and Navy Beans

 The French Fries (came with the Mussels)

For the main course KVG got the Pork Chop, Arif got the Brisket Sandwich, and I got the Duck Leg Confit. Each dish was a big hit, but I think the brisket sandwich went over the best with everyone. My duck had a really crispy skin and was served over a bed of lentils and roasted veggies. The brisket was nicely marbled throughout and was prepared on the rarer side of things. KVG really loved her pork chop, but neither Arif nor I tried it.

The Pork Chop

The Brisket Sandwich

 The Duck Leg Confit

For dessert we got the bread pudding. It was a little more substantial than any of us were expecting. By that I mean it was a little too dense for our taste, but it was a reasonable texture that others might find to be just fine. It had just the right amount of sweetness, and the cold creamy topping went well with the warm bread.

The Bread Pudding

I usually take issue with hipster locales, but I'll let this one slide. First of all, the beer selection is really expansive at Hopleaf (and it's not too pricey). The food was pretty superb, and I really want to go back and get the Belgian style mussels. You could easily get one of their many delicious sandwiches, an appetizer, and a few beers for around $30. I'm giving them 4 out of 5 Pearls.

Hopleaf on Urbanspoon


  1. The portions look very hearty too so in addition to great variety of beer and decent food (I am drooling at those french fries) the restaurant seems to offer good value for money.