Great Reuben sandwiches force you to meet them on their terms. As your teeth sink through toasted rye, there’s a bright smack of sauerkraut and a bit of heat and sweetness from Thousand Island dressing. Those two then lend a bit of acid and fat to the thin slices of corned beef piled underneath. The sandwich components aren’t meant to hide the meat, just nestle down alongside it underneath a warm blanket of Swiss cheese.
Since I’m a sucker for a nice nap and a sandwich — or a sandwich that can transition me gently to a nap — a Reuben has never been a hard sale. And there’s a unique version that’s hiding just off menu at Planet Sub locations around town. The Tempeh Reuben [thanks to Steven Webb of Red-Headed Philosopher Coffee for the tip] is a filling commitment for vegetarians and carnivores. Start with the 6-inch — you’ll understand why halfway through your foil-wrapped lunch.
The tart kraut and the slightly sweet Thousand Island dressing punch up the 5-grain tempeh slices, which have that nutty earthiness akin to toasted quinoa. The Swiss cheese, the only other ingredient, adds a bit of subtle creaminess, but it’s more of a background note. The bread is wheat, not marbled rye, and the dressing is a package of Ken’s Thousand Island, but after that you won’t be quibbling much. And, frankly, the dressing on the side means you don’t have a soggy sandwich if you’re taking this mother on the road.
For those who just can’t quit meat, it’s Turkey Tuesday at Planet Sub, which means that 6-inch turkey subs are just $2.50.