Lucky's Cafe - Cleveland OH

Lucky's Cafe is a small cafe in a neighborhood undergoing gentrification in Cleveland.  There are a number of art galleries in the neighborhood which is full of Orthodox churches, lodge halls and small row houses.

Lucky's is proudly part of the farm to table movement which emphasizes local, seasonal foods.  It has also been featured on FoodTV's Diner's Drive-in's and Dives.

When I was eating there I was tempted to try the beef stew since this really has been a winter for beef stew, but I heard that that the reuben here was awesome so I had to try it.  It came with potato salad but the waitress suggested the couscous so I went that route.  I also had the "Sunshine Tea" which was unsweetened iced tea, with some herbal tea components.

The Reuben was incredible.  All of the components were house made, the sauerkraut, corned beef and dressing and bread.  The attention to detail really showed.  The bread was snappy and crisp and crunchy, the beef was hot and flavorful.

My only real complaint was that there wasn't quite enough of the Russian Dressing, but with it off to the side I could have easily asked for more.

5 out of 5 stars


The Distillery - Victor NY

There was a funky taste/smell in the sandwich someplace. Odd from something loaded with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, but still it was there. This is indicative of the overarching problem that the sandwich was tasteless. The sauerkraut was bland the pastrami was bland and tasteless and processed. 

There was nothing great about the sandwich the bread was marbled and meh. The cheese was meh. The dressing was probably Kraft so they couldn't screw that up. 

The only redeeming feature was that the bread wasn't soggy. The chips weren't even good. 

2 of 5


The Blue Tavern -- Ruckersville, VA

VThe Blue Tavern/Blue Ridge Cafe/Blue Ridge Catering is located in Ruckersville, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's a cute little restaurant with painted murals on the walls. 
I ordered a reuben and crispy fries
with coffee to drink. The fries were okay and the reuben was pretty good. The bread was thick and not at all soggy. It could have been grilled a bit more though. There was a good amount of thick sliced corn beef. The sauerkraut was a bit bland and underrepresented. There dressing was a bit skimpy in places as well. 
It was a satisfying sandwich but unbalanced. 3.5 out of 5


Bear Appetit - Jim Thorpe, PA

We were in Jim Thorpe to see the Tartan Terrors play a New Years Eve show. The Tartan Terrors are a Celtic music comedy group that I first encountered at the Pennsyvania Renaisance Faire. They mix serious and funny songs along with pieces of comedy and dance. They put on an incredible show. The doors for the show opened at 8:30 and we got into town about 7:30. Many of the shops were closed but window shopping revealed a lot of fun, funky stores. We stopped in Bear Appetit for a late supper. I had the reuben and sweet potato fries.
Look at that! Real corned beef! It was a little dry and crunchy but the flavor was incredible. It was so deliciously salty. It was an explosion of flavor. 

The corned beef while awesome overpowered the rest of the sandwich and the bread could have been grilled a little longer. 

I had gone in only intending to get a snack. I ordered a reuben only intending to eat half. I ate the whole thing and didn't regret a bite. 

4 out of 5


The Arena -State College, PA

I came to the Arena tonight to watch friends sing in a competition "State College Idol". I ordered a Yurngling and looked through the menu. The I saw the Reuben. I realized that I haven't had one since my adventure this summer. It turns out I picked a great place to have one. 

I admit it. I love the bread. That is one of the most important things to me in any sandwich. This one had a nice seeded rye and was grilled marvelously. It tasted of butter and was nice and crisp. The pastrami was flavorful and well cooked. The sauerkraut had a good flavor and texture and there was a reasonable amount of dressing on it. I have absolutely nothing to complain about with it. 5/5


Governors' Pub - Bellefonte PA

The Governors' Pub had been recommended to me before and when I saw this sign out front I knew I had to try it.  It got it's name from all of the Governors of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who came from Bellefonte(Five! plus two for other states).

Two words.  Homemade Sauerkraut.  They slice and brine it themselves which gives a firm feel and gives them control over the flavor.  My personal preference is for a stronger flavor but I was thrilled to have fresh kraut.

The bread was a thick cut marble rye which lightly grilled and had slightly doughy taste.  The swiss was well melted and very tasty.  There was a bit less pastrami than I was used to but it seemed an adequate amount.

The fries were truly outstanding and they came with vinegar and ketchup, they were indeed fresh cut and seasoned.  There was a good beer menu and some top notch desserts.  I had the bread pudding which was excellent.

Reuben was 4 out of 5.


Otto's Pub and Brewery -- State College, PA

I stopped by Otto's with some friends from roller derby for Firkin Friday were they have a special conditioned ale on tap. Getting there half an hour after it was tapped means I missed out. I did get a sip and the vanilla raspberry beer tasted very much like Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries.

The reuben came to me undercooked on one side and slightly overcooked on the other. The bread wasn't soggy at all.  The pastrami was a bit bland but all together it was a good sandwich.

4 out of 5.