Saturday, August 21, 2010
Tempeh Reuben, The Plant Cafe, San Francisco, CA
Though the Plant Cafe is perhaps most famous in veg circles for their house-made Plant Burger, I'd heard good things about their Reuben as well. At 9 bucks, the Reuben is easy to veganize (they just leave off the cheese).
My first impression was that the sandwich was light yet creamy at the same time--like a toned down version of the hearty, messy, unapologetic reuben, rather the tempeh reuben you would serve at tea. Definitely not very messy, and the portions weren't very large, but I thought the flavor balance was good. I found the sandwich had a surprising hint of olive flavor---maybe it was the kraut or they use olive oil in the vegan Thousand Islands. The sandwich was a light caraway rye, crunchy and warm. The side salad was generous and the complementary "pickle" was actually some slices of cucumber that I assume they brine in the store, nestled atop the salad. They tasted of dill and were not bad at all. The tempeh was understated, not bland but not memorable.
B. was not impressed. He said he would give it a 2.5. He found the sandwich too dry and observed that the kraut was not evenly distributed. He also didn't like the addition of a slice of tomato, commenting that it dominated the sandwich. I didn't mind the tomato, or the lettuce, but again, the effect was a sandwich pretty different than what we've come to expect. I think we both liked the Plant Burger better.
The Plant Cafe is a pretty nice dining option for the Financial District, if you don't mind the expense. The menu is extensive, very vegetarian and vegan-friendly, and the staff are warm and cheerful. The food is consistently fresh and flavorful (and I think all organic). Next time I'll go for one of their salads or bowls, though.
The Plant Cafe
101 California Street (actually at the corner of Pine and Front)
The Cafe is only open for lunch (and is often crowded, though service is quick). There is also a Plant Cafe restaurant on the Embarcadero which is open later.