Sunday, September 6, 2009
TRUEBEN: Vegan Reuben at the Remedy Diner (Raleigh, NC)
Veggie Reuben. Marinated tempeh grilled on buttered rye topped with avocado, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, dill pickles, and melted swiss. 8.95 Make vegan for 2.50 extra.
They were out of vegan cheese, so I got it sans cheese, and paid 1.25 extra for vegan dressing. I didn't mind they were out of cheese---in fact, prior to ordering I was wondering why it cost so much to veganize, and was contemplating asking for no cheese if that was the only change. I found it surprising that they bother having a vegan and a non-vegan dressing, and that they charge so much for a vegan one. B. and I are not big fans of vegan cheese anyway, so if we were in charge of the menu, we'd eliminate non-vegan dressing (can you really tell the difference?) and the vegan cheese option.
Still, this is North Carolina, and it is very nice to have a restaurant with such extensive vegan options, and one which makes veganization so easy and worry-free, even if it comes with a high price tag. The Reuben was already one of the most expensive sandwiches on the menu; for example, the Vegan Chicken Salad was only 7.50 and about the same amount of food.
As for the sandwich itself, I was neither disappointed nor impressed. It was a familiar, flavorful sandwich. The dressing was mostly Veganaise, somewhat creamy, and the avocado, as always, was welcome. Though the Remedy Diner will add a pickle spear on the side upon request, no extra charge, the Reuben actually has sliced dill pickles on it, in addition to the kraut, which I liked. The tempeh was marinated. Though not overly flavorful, it was sliced into smaller pieces, which B. and I have come to prefer over the uniform slab. The bread was a light caraway rye, extremely thin and crispy, but still servicable. All in all, it reminded me of many sandwiches I've had in Portland, albeit with a heftier price tag.
The Remedy Diner is a restaurant I may return to, or would if I lived in Raleigh, if not for the sandwiches and make-your-own salads, then for the beer on tap and the vegan key lime and coconut cream pies. But I would be much more enticed if they revised their pricing structure. $1.25 for a single slice of vegan cheese, and another $1.25 for egg-free dressing, when sandwiches that appear to be mostly cheese (like the Cheese Foccacia sandwich) are only $1.25 extra to veganize, doesn't seem to make much sense.
All in all, B. and I give this a solid 3. For a vegan visiting Raleigh, it's worth a try, and I must promote any establishment where a vegan can order with peace of mind (though this restaurant also has extensive, traditional "omni" diner food for your pastrami-loving friends). The location right in downtown is convenient for museum-going, people-watching or a night out. Plus, the atmosphere was kind of hip and the service was nice, and they have $1.50 cans of PBR. Hell, it was almost as if we were dining in Portland (except for the nice service, of course).
The Remedy Diner
137 E. Hargett St.
Marinated tempeh reuben, with corn chips and house Pico de Gallo on the side.