Friday, July 10, 2009

TRUEBEN: Darth Reuben at the Georgetown Liquor Company, Seattle, WA

I first heard about the Georgetown Liquor Company, a bar in South Seattle with many vegan and vegetarian options, through a review in The Stranger, Seattle's alternative weekly. The sandwich sounded awesome -- the first time I'd heard of someone utilizing the "artisan" fake meat Field Roast in a reuben (but of course, not the first time the combo had occurred to me). The review praised the vegetarian version, and noted that it was available with vegan cheese. B. and I dropped in on the place on our way up to Canada -- it reminded me of a smaller, dive-ier Backspace. They had a few arcade games, a pin ball machine, and three or four game systems hooked up to TVs for patrons to use. It's essentially a dark, hip bar with a pretty large food menu. We split the Darth Reuben and the house vegan burger over a couple of Pabst.

The Darth Reuben (all the sandwiches reference sci-fi movies or TV shows) is Roasted Tomato Field Roast and kraut on marble rye with "remoulade" and cheese (sub vegan). It's 10 bucks, kinda pricey in my book, but probably normal for Seattle. You can choose a cup of soup, salad or chips and salsa as a side -- a cup of soup alone runs 4.50, chips 3, so maybe this justifies the price. And the sandwich is large. I certainly wasn't disappointed with the portions. (The veggie burger was smaller -- maybe this is why they felt compelled to add a pickle spear on the side. No pickle with the reuben, though.).

The sandwich looked fantastic, and with the extremely dark lighting in the bar, I'm surprised the pictures turned out as well as they did. Though it took the bartender a few moments to take our order and then bring us our beers, the sandwiches came out very quickly. In my mind, the bread was probably the best aspect of the sandwich. It was a square marble rye yet thick cut and crusty -- an artisan marble rye? It was thick and crispy with hints of caraway. I was as pleased with the Field Roast, as I expected I would be. Flavorful with a dense, meaty texture, it's a great stand in for corned beef -- maybe a little too dense and chewy. The only thing about the sandwich I wasn't so sure of was the dressing. It was plentiful and not bad, but much sweeter and tangier than I am used to. It reminded me of Kraft's California dressing. B. also was iffy on the dressing. He liked the bread, but he wanted more kraut to balance the Field Roast. I didn't expect to complain about too much Field Roast, as many places will skimp on stuff like this, but I found myself agreeing. More kraut would have balanced the sandwich a bit more. B. also thought this vegan cheese here was not as good as that at Liquid Earth -- so far we haven't been too excited about vegan cheese on reubens, as usually it is barely detectable and completely bland. Liquid Earth somehow managed to offer a melty vegan cheese that really added to the sandwich.

Though B. seemed less than impressed -- truthfully, I think the Liquid Earth tofu reuben is the only sandwich that trumps tempeh in his book -- I thought this was a hearty, flavorful and creative sandwich, and so I give it at least a 3. In any case, Georgetown Liquor Company is worth a stop for any vegan on their way north from Portland -- the enticing menu, with truly a wealth of vegan options, is excuse enough, if not the booze.

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