Reuben Rabble

Winnipeg's Best Reuben Sandwich - Results

November 12, 2010

The Reuben sandwich seems to have a bit of a bad boy reputation. In fact, the sandwich was quite tasty and in only one case was the sauerkraut a bit too strong. Most of the sandwiches we tried had a great flavour balance and were served hot off the grill. There was less variation among the Reubens compared to the Clubhouse. The Clubhouses we tried would sometimes have deli ham instead of bacon, or sliced turkey instead of roast and many liberties were taken with the triple decker ingredients. The Reuben came down to good quality corned beef and a nice flavour balance between the meat, sauerkraut, cheese and sauce. I’d say it’s more difficult for a kitchen to produce a good Reuben than a good Clubhouse.

Seven professional Reuben eaters came together to visit ten restaurants. We tried to compare apples to apples so only rated the sandwich, ignoring price, service and comfort. We also tried to remain objective so averaged the ratings of multiple reviewers and weighted the sandwich attributes. 

Gold: Bailey’s Restaurant and Lounge. The sandwich was fantastic. The Reuben was made with perfectly toasted pumpernickel and came nice and hot. There was lots of corned beef with great flavour and a soft “bite”. Bailey’s is famous for its elegant décor and the service was fantastic, and yet the price was quite reasonable. It was head and shoulders above the rest of the Reubens.

Silver: Paladin Restaurant (RIP). The sandwich was huge and yummy with lots of cheese and tasty, tender meat. The Reuben was juicy but crisp. The sauce was tasty and overall the sandwich had a nice flavour balance. We had our own room at the Paladin (the bar) which was fun and the service was great. The sandwich was very inexpensive.

Bronze: Pony Corral. I know - who would’ve guessed? The corned beef was shaved and quite tender and came with Swiss cheese on both sides. The bread was grilled nicely but not hard. The sauerkraut was mild and the sandwich had a well balanced flavour. It was by far the most expensive Reuben.

Honourable mention: Luda’s Deli. The sandwich was made with traditional Pumpernickel and was nice and cheesy with no one flavour overpowering the other and was very filling. Luda’s slipped in some mustard which was a nice surprise.




Runners Up

The Nook. The picture looks a little weird because it was dark and I used the flash. As we've come to expect from The Nook, the sandwich had a massive amount of meat and was a good deal at $8.40 for a platter with fries and a pickle. The service was great and the sandwich came steaming hot with the bread almost deep fried (good!) There was lots of corned beef but somehow it was a little hard (although easy enough to bite through) and not a lot of flavour. It was hard to taste the other ingredients - sauerkraut, cheese and “special dressing” - there was a tang to the sandwich though.

Danny's All-Day Breakfast. The Reuben was super inexpensive and tasty, but the small amount of meat made it a fairly middle of the road sandwich. The sauerkraut and mozzarella cheese were quite nice though, and the sandwich had a fairly balanced flavour. The Reuben sauce didn't really add anything. It was a great value at $6.65 including a pile of hash browns and was prepared very quickly.

Alexis Grill (closed). The Reuben was good and very inexpensive at $5.25. The corned beef was very tasty, but in a ball in the middle of the sandwich and a smidge chewy. The Thousand Island dressing was a little heavy and some of the Reuben Rabble liked the tangy sauerkraut and some didn’t. It was grilled nicely and a decent sized sandwich.

Seine River Café. The sandwich itself was tasty - until you hit the processed cheese! It’s amazing how much that flavour comes through even with all the other ingredients. We could see right away there was going to be an issue with soggy bottoms but quickly devised a solution to lay the Reuben across french-fry “spacers” to allow good air circulation around the grilled sandwich.

Oakwood Café. It was a good sandwich and came as a platter. The platter options were plentiful - fries, potato salad, choice of soup(s) or chili, and for $2 more you could get a salad, fruit or Poutine. The sandwich underwhelmed a bit, it wasn't big and little light on the corned beef. There was lots of 1,000 Island, a nice thick slice of tasty Mozzarella, and perhaps too much sauerkraut. I could hardly taste the corned beef on mine, although what was there was quite tender. It came with a pickle spear on the side. The service was fast and friendly.

Oscar's Deli. The Reuben was pleasant enough, but the ungrilled pumpernickel made it a run-of-the-mill sandwich. The sauce was beet-horseradish which I thought was quite tasty. The corned beef was tender, but in a ball in the middle of the sandwich. The sauerkraut and cheese had nice flavour if you got them on their own.

2 comments:

  1. I think you need to give Oscar's a second chance. I had their Reuben for lunch today and it was divine! It was grilled and exquisite! Maybe they've changed up their recipe. I agree, I'd be disappointed with an un-grilled Reuben. My friend and I are in the middle of our own Reuben tour right now. We're going to give Bailey's a try next week!

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  2. Thanks for the tip Jolene. Oscar's is close to work so I'd better wander over and try the new-and-improved grilled Reuben!

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