I didn't read the menu description overly closely before ordering my Reuben. But when tasting it, it didn't take long to notice that there was something unusual about it. It seemed somewhat sweeter than normal. I think that the 1000 Island dressing was a little sweeter than I was used to, and there was a lot of it--but not so much that it made the sandwich soggy or overpowered the other ingredients.
The rye bread was grilled just right, with just the right amount of firmness to keep the ingredients inside without feeling greasy or getting soggy. The corned beef was not a super thick layer like some Reubens, but it was completely appropriate. There were pieces of corned beef falling out of the sandwich onto the plate, which was a good sign. The beef had a good flavor with deep overtones.
Each bite of the sandwich was nicely balanced and it had a nice juicy flavor. At first, I had attributed this to the dressing, but then, after reading the menu description again, I determined what I think may be the unorthodox secret to the deliciousness of the Reuben at the Philips Avenue Diner: the caramelized onions!
I don't think that in all of the Reubens I've eaten from different restaurants around the country that I've ever run into a Reuben that boasted caramelized onions. But something about the bitterness of the sauerkraut mixing with the sweetness of the caramelized onions made this a heavenly sandwich that I really want to try again. I'm going to have to remember the caramelized onions and see if I can add that to the Reubens I make at home. This sandwich comes highly recommended!
I ordered the sweet potato fries, for a $1 upcharge, and they were good. They came with a ranch dipping sauce, but I gave that to Katherine for her traditional style fries. Also, the pickle spear was just the right size and had a good dill flavor.