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Subway puts its own spin on classic Reuben

December 21, 2016

If you live anywhere near an authentic New York-style deli … don’t get your hopes up for Subway’s new Corned Beef Reuben sandwich.

This is Subway’s heartland take on the iconic Broadway sandwich.

Back in the Apple, a Reuben has a mountain of warm, juicy corned beef, an eruption of molten Swiss cheese, an avalanche of sauerkraut and a tsunami of Russian dressing between two slices of grilled rye bread. It’s a geological wonder of flavors and texture and attitude.

Another version has the sandwich being served open face, with even more Swiss for presentation. Don’t be shy, take a photo. The relatives in Tennessee won’t believe it.

The good news about these Reubens: You’re at Subway. You ain’t getting no Reuben in a New York deli for $5.50.

Subway also has a Turkey Reuben, with a double order of white-meat turkey. Same price, a handful of calories less. A Reuben with turkey? Might as well ask for mayo instead of Thousand Island.

A little history: The original Reuben sandwich was invented by Arnold Reuben, owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City, in 1914.

Or … the Reuben was invented by Reuben Kulakofsky at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Neb., in the early 1900s. In fact, March 14 is now celebrated as “Reuben Sandwich Day” in Omaha. There’s not a whole lot going on in Omaha.

If you judge and rate Subway’s Reubens by Subway expectations … they’re absolutely serviceable. They get the job done.

The corned beef is lean, quite possibly too lean. Real deli corned beef is fatty, that’s where the flavor is. The cheese and kraut get a passing grade. Don’t know why Subway went with Thousand Island instead of Russian dressing, but we’re not making a stink over that.

The rye bread … now that’s a problem. Real rye bread has a crunchy crust that bites back. The aroma of sharp rye is distinctive, you can smell it coming out of the kitchen. Subway’s rye bread is soft, no snap to the crust. It’s got a mild rye flavor. It looks and feels like all the other loaves in Subway’s on-premise bread oven.

If you really want to wreck a Reuben, ask the Subway “sandwich technician” to throw on veggies.

Bottom line: Good on Subway for trying new things, but nice try on the Reuben.