Friday, March 29, 2013

Episode VII - Rose & Crown (ATL)

What is a Reuben Ranger to do on a no-meat Good Friday? Find a vegetarian Reuben. Luckily the Rose & Crown Tavern had me covered. I discovered this great little pub last fall when I came for a Broncos Meet Up. It is a neighborhood gem, TVs everywhere and feels like the legitimate pubs I would enjoy back east.

 Bella Reuben
 "Just like the Pub Reuben but a vegetarian version made with sauteed portabella"

Appearance - (4.4/5.0)
Beautiful sandwich but I can't get past the toothpicks. You may remember from Episode I I am terrified of toothpicks in my food. Other irrational phobias of mine include live poultry and revolving doors. Revolving doors are the worst! Have you ever been stuck in one of those things? Ever get your fingers stuck in one of those things? Me neither, but still.

This was a good example of nice profile shot. You can see all of the components of the sandwich from the side shot. The fries on the side are nothing special but do frame the sandwich on the plate. Finally, my obligatory comment on the marbling of the rye, well done!

Quality of Ingredients - (4.4/5.0)
The bread, as nice as it looked, was kind of soggy. It was not toasted well. It's a shame because the other ingredients were all solid. I had trouble finding the Swiss cheese at first. I think it got lost with the sauerkraut. Once I found it I liked it. The bella was very substantive. Some Reuben amateurs may not have even noticed the substitution. It held its own mixed in with a very tangy dressing and a stiff sauerkraut.

Price - (4.8/5.0)
$7.95! Not bad at all. Price is never evaluated in a vacuum on this blog. The pub atmosphere was great, the waitress was easy on the eyes, and there was live music. Can't complain.

Je Ne Sais Quoi - (4.1/5.0)
There were a couple of times I had to remind myself this was a vegetarian sandwich. The mystery and intrigue of the sandwich would have been much higher but it was grounded by the soggy rye.

Taste - (8.8/10.0)
I would like to go into the 9s but the bread just won't let me. The Swiss cheese was largely MIA. The dressing was very smooth and tangy. The menu did not say house-made but it tasted like it. There were a couple of bites where it came all together but was inconsistent throughout the meal.

Overall - (26.5/30.0)
Would I order this again? Yes. But, I would probably share my previous experience with the server and ask that the bread be toasted thoroughly. This place does have a classic pub Reuben and you can bet I will be back to try it.

Here is a picture of Danny Boy checking it out.

Rose & Crown Tavern on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Episode VI - Reuben's Deli (ATL)

The Reuben Ranger was back in action today in downtown Atlanta checking out Reuben's Deli. This place boasts several awards including best rated Reuben on Yelp, a top ten deli in America, and others. I had very high expectations walking in.

Under the HOT STUFF section:
(traditional, turkey, or pastrami) served grilled with kraut (#1 rated on Yelp)

Appearance - (4.0/5.0)
The appearance is pretty good once you unwrapped it from the deli paper. There was another squashed pickle sighting. Overflow is big for me and in this case it was the thousand island dressing that caught my eye flowing out of the sandwich. That is not great. I think cheese is a best thing to be overflowing or piles of tender beef. The marbling on the bread was good but looked artificial. It did have a great buttery grilled look to it though.

Quality of Ingredients - (3.2/5.0)
Yeah, I was surprised by how low this was too. The buttery bread was the bright spot but it was not enough to save the sandwich. The "kraut" was good but the thousand island dressing tasted like it came straight out of a can. I could not tell what was going on with the cheese. I was debating if it was nacho cheese or if they forgot the cheese and it was just the dressing.  Most of all the beef was not tender at all. The menu says they feature Boar's Head products but I have had Boar's Head sandwiches better than this.

Price - (4.6/5.0)
At $7.05 I think this is the cheapest sandwich on the blog so far. It seems like you get what you pay for.

Je Ne Sais Quoi - (4.0/5.0)
I think the deli atmosphere really boosted sandwich. Unwrapping the sandwich adds suspense, you don't know what to expect. The big reveal would make anyone crack a smile. The deli itself has some charm  even as it was quiet on a Saturday afternoon. You can tell the place must be packed during the week for lunch. The staff was friendly and I even spoke to the owner.

Taste - (7.6/10.0)
Maybe I should go back during the week. I think I may have gotten the leftovers from the Friday lunch hour. I had read so many good things about this place and yet I was not impressed. As noted above, the ingredients themselves were not great and the sum of the parts was less than the whole.

Overall - (23.4/30.0)
Mediocre. I really thought a place called the Reuben Deli would have a better product to offer. My wife took a bit and was also unimpressed. In their defense, the turkey and pastrami sandwich she had was awesome.

Reuben's Deli on Urbanspoon Reuben's Deli

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Episode V - McCray's (ATL)

BAM! The Reuben Ranger is doing two reviews tonight from  McCray's West Village Tavern.  

Turkey Reuben
"Corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese with thousand island dressing on toasted marble rye"
(This is not a mistake on my part.  The menu has the same description for the Turkey Reuben as it did for the Classic one. Rest assured that when it came turkey had replaced the corned beef)

Some of you may be thinking, "A Turkey Reuben?!?". The Reuben Ranger will not discriminate against cousins or variations of the Reuben. The Reuben Ranger will also not be afraid to try a Reuben anywhere. (Yes, I will get around to reviewing the Arby's Reuben) But I digress...

Appearance - (4.8/5.0)
As you might expect, the marble on this rye was just as good as its classic cousin. Is it just me or does the marble look inverted from the classic. This looks like white with brown marbling. The classic was the opposite. The slaw on the side is nice and looks clean. More importantly, this pickle was not forgotten and makes for a nice garnish.

Quality of Ingredients - (3.9/5.0)
The bread was toasted slightly better for the turkey. The Swiss on this one was also lacking but the dressing was right on. The turkey here was the big disappointment. It was soggy and could not stand up to the rest of the sandwich.

Price - (3.9/5.0)
Same as the classic at $9.95, not cheap considering nothing came with it. I usually spend my Sundays during football season at this place watching big games. In those circumstance I can stomach a $10 sandwich because it is my price of admission. A weekend night with a slow waiter and only WBC baseball to watch, ehhh...

Je Ne Sais Quoi - (4.1/5.0)
This rye was even better than the other one. I really do think they flipped it. There is no buried pickle to depress the score but the plate is almost too clean. No mystery when everything seems exactly as it is supposed to.

Taste - (7.9/10.0)
This is one was ok. I cannot go above an 8 with the meat not being up to par. The slaw you see on the side was great. It has mustard seeds and some kind of tang it to. If I spend more than a sentence on the side then it cannot be a good thing for the sandwich.

Overall - (24.6/30.0)
It was not horrible but given the fact that the same place has a solid Classic Reuben, I will probably not order this one again.

McCray's West Village Tavern on Urbanspoon McCray's West Village Tavern

Episode IV - McCray's (ATL)

The Reuben Ranger is back in Atlanta for a visit to my neighborhood pub McCray's West Village Tavern.  This place is right across the street from my apartment has been good to me since I moved to town. 

Classic Reuben
"Corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese with thousand island dressing on toasted marble rye"

Appearance - (4.6/5.0)
As always it starts with the bread and this rye was great. I don't know how you marble rye but this one looked almost too good. It made me dizzy just looking at it. The fries also did a nice job of framing the sandwich. The poor pickle with kinda squashed down there...

Quality of Ingredients - (4.1/5.0)
The bread was nice but not quite as toasted as I like it. The sauerkraut was excellent, probably the best on this blog so far. The corned beef just was not tender enough for me.  The Swiss was not bad but there was not enough of it and along the same lines, they were kind of shy with the dressing.

Price - (3.9/5.0)
We like to see Reubens under $10 on this blog but the circumstances always matter. This one was $9.95. That is not cheap. To break into the 4s on price a not cheap sandwich must be accompanied by something else special. A pub OTP during the week does not count.

Je Ne Sais Quoi - (4.1/5.0)
The rye really did put me in a trance. Look at it. I don't really like pickles but I could not help but feel sorry for it. I think that is keeping the JNSQ score from climbing higher on the scale.

Taste - (8.5/10.0)
This is a quality sandwich. It would say it met my expectations but did not blow my socks off. The sum of the parts was not greater than the whole. Each individual part was nice and the fries were great as well.

Overall - (25.2/30.0)
I liked it. It is right next door and I know I will be ordering it again. 
Here is a picture of my mom trying it.

McCray's West Village Tavern on Urbanspoon McCray's West Village Tavern

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Episode III - Lir (BOS)

The Reuben Ranger heads north to Boston to check Lir on Boylston St. This place was a favorite of mine when I lived here.

Reuben Sandwich
"Corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese & Russian dressing on Rye bread."

Appearance - (2.4/5.0)
There was nothing special looking about this plate when it came out. There was no visible marble on the rye instead there were grill marks as if the sandwich had been flattened. The bread was not as toasty as the grill marks would suggest.

Quality of Ingredients -  (2.9/5.0)
The menu description above did not cite anything as homeade and I believe it.  None of the ingredients were poor quality, everything was just average.

Price - (4.6/5.0)
This Reuben was $8.95.  Anything under $9 in the Back Bay of Boston is a good deal. I also enjoyed the people watching on Boylston St that came with eating it.

Je Ne Sais Quoi - (2.2/5.0)
No mystery or intrigue with this sandwich. Although it was entertaining listening to the divorce lawyer and her client next to us.  I originally thought they were on a date...  Overhearing that mess and enjoying Boylston and the Back Bay were the only contributors to the intangibles.

Taste - (7.5/10.0)
Average. It was a Reuben but did not feel any love in it.

Overall -  (19.6/30.0)
Disappointed by this Reuben.  I had ordered there before and I remember it being much better. There will be some duds on this Reuben adventure.

It was great to be back in Boston and shout out to my college roommate, Pat Thomson, for putting me up for the night.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Episode II - Porter Beer Bar (ATL)

Porter Beer Bar in Little 5 Points neighborhood of Atlanta is the latest stop.

"Corned beef, house-made sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, marbled rye"
Looks like a traditional sandwich coming.

Appearance - (4.1/5.0)
The sandwich itself did not have a wow factor and I think it is because the marbled rye was not really, well marbled. I did like the melted cheese coming out of it though. When the plate came out the fries stole the show. Which is great but this is a sandwich blog.

Quality of Ingredients - (4.0/5.0)
Have to go back to the bread on this one. Not a lot of though went into it. It was not toasted well enough. The cheese was great and there was plenty of it. The Russian dressing was excellent but it was on the side for some reason. I ended up dipping the fries in it.

The house-made sauerkraut was solid but I would not have known it was house-made.  How do you even make sauerkraut?  Finally the corned beef was awesome, very tender.

Price - (4.0/5.0)
This one put me back $9.95.  The fries saved it from getting a lower score.  The bar was nice but pushing $10 is not a good thing.

Je Ne Sais Quoi - (3.8/5/0)
The overflowing cheese was a great touch but again I found myself distracted by the fries. The atmosphere of the bar was very cool without being hip.  It seemed like lots of folks from the neighborhood and a place where you would run into a friend.

Taste - (8.7/10.0)
I liked it, was not raving but it was good.  The individual ingredients were good but they did not come together as I thought they would.  I think it is because the dressing that usually literally and figuratively holds the sandwich together was on the side.

Overall - (24.6/30.0)
Not bad. I am not sure if I would order it again there.  The burgers my friends had looked really good.

The Porter Beer Bar on Urbanspoon