Sunday, November 20, 2016

Episode XLVIII: Subway (DFW)

The Reuben is having a moment right now courtesy of Subway. They tried launching it a few months ago and I tried two different locations and was unsuccessful each time. The first one was “out” and the next week when I tried another location the promotion had ended.  Arby’s tried to push the Reuben a few years ago and I reviewed it in Episode X, but the Subway commercials are ubiquitous. 
My phone started blowing up with messages from friends, family, and fans (ok, so maybe it was just my dad) asking when I was going to try it. I couldn’t let my fan(s) down and decided to give it a go.

Corned Beef Reuben
“Corned Beef, Bavarian Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, Thousand Island on Rye bread”

Appearance – (3.2/5.0)
Safe to say it doesn’t look like the commercial. I should have asked for double meat and told the lady to make it look like the commercial. This is the “new” Rye bread but you can’t really tell. It is not marbled and the caraway seeds are too small.  Once Danny took the bag of Doritos off my plate it just looked strange sitting next to the side order of banana peppers.

Quality of Ingredients – (3.9/5.0)
I was suspicious going into this review. I know Subway has spent lots of money trying to rebrand with local produce and the new logo, but I still wasn’t sure, especially about the sauerkraut. You may remember the last Reuben had some issues with the sauerkraut. Well, turns out it was not bad. I don’t know what Bavarian style sauerkraut is, but I like it. That seems like something that would be hard to replicate in so many Subway shops around the world. It is such a volatile ingredient.
The Rye was actually pretty good once you got past the lack of visual cues.
The corned beef was also not bad either. What I appreciated is that it was not too salty and seemed to have some good body to it. I thought it would be as flimsy as the thin cut turkey but it wasn’t.

Price – (3.9/5.0)
The sandwich itself was $5.75 but you throw in chips and you are closer to $7.25. Most of the other places I try include fries or a side dish so to keep the comparison fair, we will go with $7.25. Given the small portion size I don’t think it is a great value.  Not to mention, I was in a Subway in Coppell. You are not exactly paying for ambiance.  There are two minimum-wage teenagers providing labor under high efficiency light bulbs.

Also, most of the time after a Reuben, I don’t have to eat the rest of the day.  That was not the case here. This Reuben was just like a normal meat so the cost per calorie was high.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (3.6/5.0)
The JNSQ is low here but it didn’t have to be. There is a great little donut shop just down the road that I go to almost every Saturday to get donuts with Danny. It is not much to talk about. It is literally a mom-and-pop operation with one table. What I love about it, beside the donuts, it that their windows are filled with the posters of all the local high school teams. It gives the place a real small-town feel. Subway didn’t have that. It was more of a planned corporate environment.

Taste – (9.3/10.0)
Despite low scores up to this point, this was one of the better tasting Reubens out there. It really was not bad at all and there are a few reasons why. 

First off, the bread was toasted and was not covered in butter. The butter problem was really starting to feel like an epidemic. This is probably why I wasn’t so weighed down after the meal. The absence of butter really let the Rye flavor come out and I really liked that. Second, the balance of ingredients was right on. This is a benefit of a corporate environment.  You can have anyone behind that counter and it should come out the same every time so kudos to Subway for good operational execution. Third, the temperature was just right. They toasted the bread and melted the cheese perfectly. Look at this shot.

There were no unforced errors and no toothpicks!

Overall – (23.9/30.0)
Would I order it again? Yes.  Really? Yes, I would. I thought I would need to pack in the banana peppers to save it but it wasn’t necessary.  I had those for dessert.

This is another good introduction Reuben. I have so many people tell me they have never had a Reuben. This is a good place to start. If your deli/pub can’t beat this then they should probably rethink having the Reuben on the menu.

Thank you to Subway to helping push the Reuben to the forefront of pop culture.

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