Eat This

The Reuben Chronicles: When Sauerkraut and Bacon Unite

Every time I see a Reuben sandwich on a menu my pupils dilate a bit. I know I shouldn't eat them as much as I do, and I've gotten pretty good at resisting lesser specimens, but there are a few finer points of sandwich craftsmanship I can't turn down no matter how many hamburgers I devoured the week before.

If there's one thing the Dallas culinary scene could use a bit more of, especially with respect to bar food, it's hand-crafted ingredients. So when I saw "house kraut" on The Common Table's menu description for a Reuben and the waitress confirmed that they actually made the sauerkraut in the kitchen, I told her I'd have one as quick as she could get it to me. Seven and a half hours later my sandwich arrived. (Ravenous hunger might have distorted by sense of time somewhat.)

OK it was more like 10 minutes, but I was really hungry. I skipped breakfast that morning and I swear, Dr. Koslow, I had a salad lightly dressed with oil and vinegar the night before. Such a string of events can cause a fever in addicts like me ,and I needed that greasy sandwich now.

And it turns out the wait was worth it.

The kraut in question isn't just made in house, but it's blessed in a sautée pan with the sacrament of bacon fat as well. The cooks toss in some sweet onions and cook the mixture down until everything is soft. Not like jam, the cabbage and onions still offer some texture, but the resistance has been cooked out of them -- they've given in.

I'd tell you more about my Reuben but the whole thing disappeared in a blur. With my sandwich in front of me my time perception shifted in the other direction and the whole thing disappeared in an instant. I know there was a lot of cheese -- a bit too much, it was a bit of a gusher -- and the bread could have been sliced a bit more thickly. Other than that I'm relatively certain it was one of the better Reuben specimens I've encountered in a while.

If you're at The Common Table to try a new local beer, you've found your sandwich.

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz