Saturday, June 10, 2017

Episode LIV: Treasure Island Supper Club (DAY)

Have you ever been to a supper club? Do you know anyone who still even uses the word supper? The Reuben seems to be a generational thing but you may have to go back another generation to find the supper club crew. Well the supper club scene is alive and well in Dayton, OH. The Treasure Island Supper Club is in the shadows of the shuttered manufacturing plants of Dayton. The old car factory next door and a refrigerator plant down the street remind you of another time.

The Treasure Island Supper Club is an unassuming building on the outside but as soon as you walk in there is a vibe about this place. It is dimly lit, low ceiling, Vegas style lounge. (For my Atlanta fans, this place is just like Johnny's Hideaway without the dance floor). We were there with my wife’s family and sure enough one of her aunts saw an old friend at the bar. This is a place where regulars have their own table. The servers know your order. It would be strange if you didn’t see someone you know. The only thing the people here love more than coming is bringing an out of town guest to experience the magic.

Oh, and they have a Reuben.

Reuben Sandwich
“corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on Rye”

Appearance – (3.6/5.0)
Evenly toasted bread, big pickle, there is nothing crazy going on here. The chips are really what struck me. Part of the conversation at the table was that they feature local chips. These look like Lay’s to me, they tasted like Lay’s too. There is plenty of cheese but you can tell it was melted but then cooled and solidified. That is not a great sign. 

Quality of Ingredients – (3.9/5.0)
The solidified cheese was not bad and the sauerkraut was surprisingly mild. Usually when I have an old world Reuben or a Reuben served by/for the old world crowd, the sauerkraut is intense.  The first ingredient that is substituted out when a Reuben is re-imagined is the kraut. You can throw in coleslaw or even just a milder, less acidic sauerkraut. The Corned Beef was tender and not too salty, checks the box.

Price – (4.7/5.0)                                                      
$7.95! There we go!  This is a good deal. The portion itself was not huge but you get unlimited crackers and you are paying for the atmosphere. Rents in this part of town have to be pretty low so I am glad they are passing it on to the customers.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (4.7/5.0)
The JNSQ is really the value proposition of this place. The food is simple and honest. You come for the crackers, stay for the corn fritters, come back for the people.  This place has survived generations and economic cycles. It is not going anywhere.

Taste – (8.5/10.0)
The solidified cheese was hard to get past. I think what happened is that they wanted to bring everyone’s food out at the same time. It was a big group and most groups at this place are. Have you ever ordered an appetizer as your entrée and they ask if you want them to bring that out first? Maybe they should do that with the Reuben. The rest of the sandwich was also not quite up to temperature. The bread was toasted just right and the Reuben as a whole was ok.

Overall – (25.4/30.0)
Would I order it again? No. There was lots of other really good food on the table. Did I mention the corn fritter? I am really happy I had the chance to go. I could tell this place was special to all of my in-laws and it makes me happy that they go out of their way to share it with me. I will be back in Ohio soon.

“If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” - WILBUR WRIGHT

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