Restaurant Date
Oaken Barrel Brewing Company 2003-06-06 C B B+ D B B-
Giacomo's Bread & More 2003-07-16 B- A+ C B+ A B
National Museum of American History 2003-07-17 C+ D C B A C+
Perkins Family Restaurant 2003-08-19 B A B+ B C B
Sharis Restaurant & Pie Bakery 2003-10-09 A+ A A A A+ A
Mrs. Beasley's Restaurant & Lounge 2003-10-11 B B C- B D+ C
Jane's Home Cookin' 2003-10-22 B- B C C B C+
Reggie's Bakery & Catering 2004-03-19 A B C B B A
Indy's Family Restaurant 2004-05-11 B B- C B A B
Cozy Lounge and Restaurant 2004-06-01 C C+ C- B- B C
Friendly's 2004-09-05 B- B B B- A- B
Princess Food Court 2004-09-26 D+ C C C- C D
CJ's Deli & Diner 2004-10-06 C- B- C+ A+ A+ B+
Truant's Taverne 2005-06-05 A A A A- A A
Rathskeller Restaurant 2005-10-19 C B B- B- B- B-
Fredericksburg Brewing Company 2005-10-21 A+ A- A B A A
Billy Gene's Restaurant 2005-10-25 A- A B A B- A
Joe's Shelby Street Diner 2005-11-01 A- A A B+ A- A
Toot's Restaurant 2005-11-25 A- A- B+ B A A-
County Seat Grill 2006-07-17 B+ B+ B B A- B-
Ancient Mariner Tavern 2006-07-19 A A C+ B A+ A
Bourbon Street Distillery 2007-04-24 A- A B A- B+ A
Noshville New York Delicatessen 2007-07-15 A+ B+ B B A A-
Cafe Camille 2008-01-21 C B B B- C B-
Propylaeum Tea Room 2008-01-29 B B B+ A A A
Grindstone Charley's 2008-02-26
Erika's Emerald Diner 2009-07-26 A+ A+ A+ A+ A+ A+
Water Gap Diner 2009-07-27 C B+ C C B B

Oaken Barrel Brewing Company : When I go out, I want to see and be seen. Neither of those happened at the Oaken Barrel, where the darkness enfolded our booth and made me wonder why the heck I'd bothered with pantyhose and high heels. I immediately ordered a Snake Pit Porter to salve my disappointment, and that was the highlight of the evening. I mean, obviously a brewing house is going to have good beer, but it was nice to drink beer that really proved the point. It was excellent, rich and full without too much bitterness, and it was an excellent companion to the reuben sandwich when it came. I was mildly disappointed in the reuben, having eaten at the Oaken Barrel before and thus having fond memories of the food. Maybe they got cocky and thought, "Hey, a sandwich, we can do that with our eyes closed." Whatever it was, there was NO thousand island dressing, which was irritating when it had been billed as being part of the meal. I hate getting partway through and then having to make that decision about whether to finish without or wait for the waitress to fetch me some dressing. I opted for the latter, and it helped. I didn't notice the briny taste Chris mentioned, but that could just be the Porter talking. I found that the amount of red pepper on the sandwich was so miniscule as to be pointless, and I felt that there was perhaps too large a portion of sauerkraut, which ended up making the bottom of the reuben a soggy mess that got all over my hands. Halfway through the reuben my (very good) Porter ran out and I asked for the Razz-Wheat, which they were out of. Instead I wound up with the King Rudi Heifeweizen, a light pilsner/ale type thing. It was good, with a light, clean taste and a haunting lemony twist, but it was far too wimpy to stand up to the reuben. The fries were excellent. I finished my meal with the Chocolate Ambassadeur Cake, which was advertised by the server as being composed of chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate. It lived up to its reputation, and, since it was almost my birthday, I washed it down with another helping of Porter. End result? I left the Oaken Barrel enamoured of their beer, but entirely indifferent to their reuben.

Giacomo's Bread & More : The sandwich wasn't soggy, and I loved the bread. I couldn't taste the meat, though. The sandwich would have had a lower grade on taste if it weren't for the good bread. The restaurant was pleasant--I felt like the dining room had a courtyard feel, and I loved the spare furnishings.

National Museum of American History : The bread was too crunchy, but I liked the rye flavor. It had a lot of meat, but not enough sauerkraut. The ingredients were not spread evenly and kept falling out.

Perkins Family Restaurant : This Reuben was, I felt, exquisitely adequate. It wasn't bad; there were large portions of the individual ingredients; but the sandwich as a whole did not make my taste buds soar. One notable thing was that the sauerkraut, while plentiful, did not seem to have much taste, which, of course, threw off all the other notes in the Reuben. Also, and this is just me being finicky, but I really prefer to have the Thousand Island already on the sandwich. I had trouble separating the layers to smear the sauce on, and then the sandwich got all gloppy. It was nice to have pitchers of iced tea and water at our disposal, but I'm afraid that the gesture ended up seeming more along the lines of not having to bother with us than thinking of our comfort. I was also put off when the waitress accused us all of being pokey drinkers. I will drink at my own pace, thank you, not some industrially-mandated rate. This all makes me sound very grumpy, I know, but I was less than enthused about the service. I was afraid I would be reduced to chewing the rinds of the lemons in my water to ward off starvation! All around, this was an acceptable Reuben, but I plan to continue searching for true Reuben nirvana.

Sharis Restaurant & Pie Bakery : Very bold--a distinct Reuben. The corned beef was a little tough, but it may be because it was 'real', not nasty luncheon meat. The bread was a tad crunchy, but yum! The pickle was excellent, and the server offered a choice whether to include lemon with the iced tea. If you're driving through Twin Falls, you should eat here whether the Reuben is available or not!

Mrs. Beasley's Restaurant & Lounge : The bread was flavorful, but it tore up my mouth--too crusty! The meat had a good taste, but it was very chewy. Mellow Swiss cheese. Very dry, even with the added thousand island. I had a local brew, Black Butte Porter, which was good but... a little mild. Quite adequate. The dining room was subdued and nothing special, but the ladies' room was extremely nice.

Jane's Home Cookin' : This sandwich might have been slightly better than average had the cook not apparently up-ended a container of cooking grease over it. This was the most greasy Reuben I've ever eaten! The bread was wimpy, but in its defense, the grease factor would have sabotaged all but the heartiest of ryes. The corned beef patty was a new one on me, but it was decent beef; it also had the quality of--well, to put it delicately--sticking with you the rest of the day. Good coffee, and hot chocolate thick enough to make a straw stand up. The coconut cream pie gets a D-: too much crust which was much too dark, and it looked like someone had sat upon it. While this was not the greasiest spoon that we have ever encountered in our travels, it was not the Ritz, either. The interior was plain, and never before have we been scrutinized so closely upon entering a room. Conversations ground to a halt for a heartbeat or so as we took our seats at a nearby table. This was the first time that either Chris or Katherine had seen a table replete with a cup full of clean spoons.

Reggie's Bakery & Catering : The bread was delicious! It was a little sweet; I could have stood it tasting a bit more of rye, but it was serviceable. I knocked points off because, while others at the very same table received a pickle spear with their sandwich, I did not. Okay, technically I could have asked for one, but there was a long line and in the end the wimpy-looking green wedge wasn't worth the hassle...but it's the principle of the thing! Where's the consistency?? But to continue with the sandwich...it was quite moist and flavorful, and though others experienced over-toastedness and slightly chewy meat, mine was pert-near perfect on both counts. The bread was nice and thick, which made it not too soggy, but I do think that contributed to the uneven and over-eager toasting on some sandwiches. The presentation would ordinarily get a B for being uninspired were it not for the aforementioned pickle fiasco, which scored it a full letter grade lower. Atmosphere I put at a B. Compared to other places, it was probably less than average, but you can tell at a glance from outside that you're not going into the Ritz, so there wasn't really a letdown. Seating was at a premium. A few words to the wise: bring your own chair and be sure to powder your nose before you leave the house, as the Ladies' lounge is unlovely and must be reached via a labrynthine, dark, and very cluttered hallway. One wrong turn and you'll be washing dishes til the cows come home.

Indy's Family Restaurant : I found the meat to have an odd texture and mine didn't seem incredibly "tasty." There was a dearth of sauerkraut...the key here is, if I can't taste the kraut, you need to bring more out! The dressing was quite sweet, and the bread didn't seem overly "rye." This was not a bad sandwich. It was overall quite pleasant, but it just didn't have the controlled argument of ingredients that I prize in a Reuben. It was like the sauerkraut had called a truce with the beef and the thousand island was singing that it would like to buy the world a Coke. The overall outstanding element was the service. Our waitress was fast, polite, and happy to join in the usual Reuben Tuesday mayhem. I would definitely go to Indy's again--but I might not order the Reuben.

Cozy Lounge and Restaurant : This meal was heavy. My Reuben was greasy, and though there appeared to be cheese on both top and bottom, the bread on the bottom was soggy. I don't know whether this was partially because the sandwich sat for a good five minutes on the serving tray before it was delivered to me. Also, my Reuben seemed very salty, with not much sauerkraut taste. The meat was of decent quality, though. Though Thousand Island was advertised in the menu, there wasn't a drop of dressing on the sandwich. The waitress never seemed to be around, so I didn't get to ask for more dressing. The waitress would get a C- for service, but the guys who were refilling drinks brought the average to a B. The presentation was...pretty much like I'd serve it at home. Plate, sandwich, bowl of cole slaw. No artsy stuff here. I expected more. And speaking of cole slaw, it, too, was heavy. The taste at first bite was good, but then the tongue realized exactly how mayonnaise-y the dressing was and it was slow going after that. That was a shame, because it would have been a dynamite cole slaw had it had half the mayo in the dressing. Overall, I doubt that I would head to to Cozy again anytime soon.

Friendly's : My initial impression of Friendly's was that it was--friendly, that is. The host was smiling and affable as he showed us to our table and took our drink orders. Our server sounded as though she had grown up in some European country. Italy? France? Germany? I couldn't tell, but she had a marked accent and odd quirks of grammar that gave her away. She was brusque, resulting in a small reduction in rating, but not rude, resulting in a decent tip. The Reuben itself...ah. Well, the best description of it would be that it was a Reuben as interpreted by a '50s housewife who had to serve it to very picky eaters, one of whom didn't like rye, one who didn't care overmuch for sauerkraut, and one that couldn't stand Thousand Island dressing. Inotherwords, it was inoffensive, but bland, much like the main character of my current Work in Progress. The cheese was good. The bread was not overly rye, which was disappointing to me, as I am a rye fan. The Thousand Island dressing was there, but it was seen and not tasted. The sauerkraut and the meat were a centrally-located wad, making the sandwich difficult to eat and leaving basically cheese toast around the edges. I had it with the fries, which were reasonable: nothing special, either good or bad. The ice cream, however, was DIVINE. If you find yourself in Columbus with a yen for food, I'd skip the Reuben and head straight for dessert. You won't be disappointed.

Princess Food Court : The "marbled rye" just wasn't marbled enough...it was more like rye made with swirls of opposing polarity, as their sole focus, once on my plate, was to segregate themselves. Between burning my mouth on too-hot too-spicy pastrami, trying to hold the bread together, and trying not to pucker my face at the too-sour sauerkraut, this was not a really pleasant Reuben experience for me. There was cheese on the sandwich--I moevd around the strips of bread several times just to check, because I kept hoping that the knowledge that it was there would make me able to magically taste it. No such luck. The peppery pastrami just stomped on any other flavors there might have been. The bits of bread were soggy, but not with 1,000 Island dressing, which was barely apparent. Sort of like 1 or maybe 2 Island dressing. The pickle was kinda nasty, too, though the black olives were a nice touch. It was sort of pathetic, though...like they were saying, "Okay, you know, we really have no idea how to make this attractive. I don't know, maybe...let's throuw a couple of olives on there or something." The only, and I mean only, saving grace was that we had ordered all-you-could-drink pineapple juice. The juice was good. If I had it to do over again, I would have ordered one of the all-beef-block-an-artery hot dogs and the pineapple juice and not wasted my time with the sandwich.

CJ's Deli & Diner : I liked this place, and I really wanted to like their Reuben. The staff was very friendly, and I am partial to handwritten menus, which they had. It stretched the entire restaurant length and had tons of variety, everything from breakfast to desserts. They even offered a service where they would prep food and then you could take it home and cook it yourself. They tried really hard. They also had the best children's menu I saw on any of the Hawaiian islands, bar none. The Reuben was a disappointment. The bread was very dry and not overly rye. I couldn't taste the cheese or the sauerkraut, though the beef itself was very good. I thought that they had put some sort of mustard on the sandwich, but further investigation revealed that the mustard flavor was part of whatever the dressing was. The cole slaw that I got with my sandwich was far better than the sandwich itself. The slaw had the standard ingredients plus raisins, which IMHO was a stroke of genius. It was unexpected, but delightfully so. The lemonade (which I shared with my fellow reviewer) was good, but too sweet and not lemony enough for me. I probably wouldn't have paid $2.50 for it. On the whole, I wished we had discovered the place sooner on our trip so we could have eaten there more times...skipping the Reuben, natch.

Truant's Taverne : First, I just have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the Truant's Taverne. I have certain preconceptions about establishments that festoon their buildings with signs reading, "Welcome, Bikers!" Fortunately, the Taverne did not fulfill my fears. My first impression was that the servers were very friendly, and both this experience and one later on supported that impression. The Reuben itself was delightful. If anything, it could have had a touch more sauerkraut, but I see no reason to belabor my personal tastes. It was thoroughly respectable and I would be proud to invite anyone to share the experience. The sandwich also came with really good fries and a wonderful pickle spear. I ordered a Long Trail Blackberry Wheat beer to drink, and I have to say that if I could find that beer here in Indy, I would consider letting it rub shoulders with my Guinness in the fridge. I highly recommend both the beer and the sandwich if you are in North Woodstock, whether you are a biker or just an average Joe.

Rathskeller Restaurant : While the food was delivered quickly, no one seemed to rush. The turkey was disappointing. The server was not overly friendly and it was disconcerting to be deposited in a chair and immediately be asked for a drink order before one even knows what is available. The peach bread pudding was very good, with real whipped cream, yum!

Fredericksburg Brewing Company : They gave me a huge wad of sauerkraut, making a very moist sandwich. The place was loud, and the servers were friendly. I loved the real corned beef. The cole slaw was heaven in a dish. Their Pioneer Porter was very nice--bold but not aggressive.

Billy Gene's Restaurant : A moist Reuben despite the lack of dressing, but it still needed it, I thought. A good solid wall of flavor. The bread could have been more 'rye'. The service was friendly but inaccurate.

Joe's Shelby Street Diner : In the menu, it was just a reuben, but on the 'Specials' board it was a 'giant reuben,' and I must say that the latter designation won out in the flesh. This was like the mammoth Reuben that we all thought had been extinct since the Ice Age. It was served on a real plate that had been coated with waxed paper, perhaps to protect the plate from the resultant gore of plunging a steak knife to the hilt into the heart of the sandwich. The sandwich exuded...nay, wallowed in...sauerkraut. The kraut covered the sandwich, threaded its way through the bread, and spilled out to drape about the sandwich in graceful folds. The sandwich did not come with thousand island dressing, and it cried out for the moisture and tang. Sadly, the proffered packets of T. Marzetti's dressing didn't do the trick. It wasn't sweet enough, and seemed to add a peppery, metallic note to the sandwich. I can only describe the meat as "a wad of corned beef." It was plentiful but not necessarily evenly spread out, resulting in lumps here and there of more corned beef than cabbage. When I finished the sandwich, I had at least a cup of sauerkraut lingering on my plate. I ignored it and gave my full attention to the splendid onion rings. Overall, the food was very good (if very kraut-heavy). The setting, though, was cramped. I was awfully glad that I was married to the guy sitting next to me, since I had to sit almost in his lap the entire time. As it was, I had to play kneesies with his coworker a couple of times. Now, yes, you could think that this would lend the setting an air of jollity and cameraderie. Be that as it may, I'm awfully fond of not playing kneesies. Also, the last thing any less-than-trim gal wants to see staring at her in the powder room is a portrait of Marilyn "You'll-Never-Look-Like-Me, Fattie" Monroe.

Toot's Restaurant : The meat was thin, but tender. The sauerkraut was not noticeable. The cheese was good, and the bread was toasted perfectly! Very buttery--nice rye. The onion rings were nicely battered, but too wide and not very tasty.

County Seat Grill : The Reuben had a lot of sauerkraut taste. The bread was grilled perfectly--not too tough. The sandwich was not very tall, but flavorful. The cole slaw side item was a little to vinegary, but the homemade potato chips were SO GOOD!

Ancient Mariner Tavern : The name kind of said it all, as far as the interior went. The decor was, as one would expect, maritime in nature. I did not, therefore, expect our waitress to be tricked out in goth/punk attire with what looked like a cheap knock-off of Ugg boots. Despite my misgivings, though, she was one of the best waitresses I've had in a long time, happily (voluntarily) running next door to fetch chocolate syrup to make the Youngest Boy chocolate milk. Definitely above and beyond. Oh, and the Reuben was nice, too.

Bourbon Street Distillery : The outside seating was a really nice experience, though it was a bit windy and cold (but I suppose the restaurant can't help the weather). The Reuben was quite good--plenty of ingredients and I thought it had a nice, if not pungent, flavor. The big disappointment was the chips--certainly not worth the price of admission. I'd come back for the Reuben (and sometime when I don't have to drive, so I could try one of their beers), but I'd skip the chips and pack a sweater.

Noshville New York Delicatessen : I ordered their Rachel, which is much the same as the Reuben, except with pastrami. The pastrami was like a meaty, juicy heaven. The thousand island was a little sweet for me, and the sauerkraut a touch bland. However, the bread was toasted perfectly!

Cafe Camille : The Cafe Camille sounds posh, and looking in the window one can see France-inspired clothing and fashion prints; once inside, though, the cafe is just another greasy spoon, complete with mismatched coffee mugs already on the tables. The atmosphere was a little like going into Aunt Martha's attic to see what treasures she might have--or, rather, like batty old Aunt Martha decided to serve coffee in her attic. While I didn't see actual dust, the place sort of resonated with the need for a good dusting. What Camille had going for it was the local flavor, of which we got an earful as we listened to a long-and-loud-winded conversation regarding elections local and national and what was quite possible some juicy local gossip, only we couldn't blow our cover by actually stopping all conversation and craning our necks to hear the scoop. Oh, the sandwich. It was a sandwich, and it fit the basic description of a Reuben: rye bread? Check. Some form of corned beef? Check. And so on. The bread was really thin, and I couldn't taste any caraway. The sandwich was heavy on the kraut, which I found delightful, and the dressing was superb. At the time, I found the Reuben a bit greasy. Three hours later, I found myself revising that description to 'greasy enough to cause it to haunt me and the husband for the rest of the day.' I'll try to be delicate: you don't want to eat the Camille's Reuben and then be stuck in a car with anyone for the rest of the day. You have been warned.

Propylaeum Tea Room : This was a delightful change from the last Reuben I ate (at Cafe Camille). I'll be honest, the Reuben didn't wow me. I prefer a thicker, chewier bread. The sandwich became soggy because I (FOOL!) forgot to turn the sandwich over while I ate the first half. I'm a sauerkraut lover, so I was disappointed in the amount of kraut. With the style of bread, I'm not sure how you'd wedge more on there, but the taste really didn't stand out. The dressing tasted great, but I wished there were more of it. As for the turkey, I heard a lot of people raving, but it was a bit thick for me (I didn't ding points for it, I'm just stating a preference) and it didn't really add much--not enough difference in taste, somehow. Overall, it was a pleasant sandwich, but nothing to write home about. The atmosphere, though, was really nice. It was a very welcoming (okay, a BIT girly) tearoom, and I loved the tea. Black tea but not cheap tea, and it was brewed perfectly. Also, points for serving it in real china cups and saucers. Our waitress was really nice, and she seemed impressed with the Reuben group (and hey, a little pretending we're all secretly famous is an ego boost few could resist). Of course, there were also the complementary cinnamon rolls handed around after lunch--I know Mitch wasn't the only one whose Reuben-rating acumen may have been compromised. I am already making plans to take my mother-in-law on a downtown excursion this spring and the Propylaeum Tearoom is already on the itinerary. I may not order the Reuben, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Erika's Emerald Diner : The bread was perfectly toasted, the flavors were lopsided but plenty of cheese. The beef was fabulous, but mild--the possible reason for the lopsidedness. The French fries! Oh my word!

Water Gap Diner : There was plenty of cheese, but too sloppy to be picked up. Rye bread?? It tasted like wheat but I wouldn't swear to it. It had the mother lode of kraut. Real corned beef, but sort of tough. The dressing was rather mayonnaisey and suspiciously orange. They have average frozen-type onion rings and good coffee. The dining room is like a museum of bad art-worthy paintings: the one with the balloons is a must-see. Overall, it's what I expect from a run-down diner.