All of the talk about the fried vegan Reuben sandwich contest for the upcoming Texas Veggie State Fair got me craving a Reuben, but not deep fried. I had two issues: 1. I want it now and not in October and 2. I didn’t want to cook it myself. How many options are out there in Dallas restaurants? Not too many, but I found one at Black Friar Pub on McKinney Ave that fit the bill.
Normally, I hit Black Friar for serious beer drinking with the guys AFTER dinner. This night I decided to try out the food options WHILE drinking.
The Reuben is on the menu as the Vegetarian Reuben. The “meat” of the sandwich is grilled Portobello mushroom. This is different from traditional veggie Reuben’s, but you just can’t expect seitan from a mainstream pub on McKinney Ave (or most anywhere, actually). The rest of the build is red kraut, vegan Russian dressing and marbled rye bread. The change requests you need to ask for are: no butter for the mushroom and bread grilling and no Swiss cheese.
The cheese is a no brainer, but the no butter for the cooking is just to be safe (most don’t think about it when they’re taking your order or cooking your food). The Portobello is chopped and enveloped with delicious red kraut. The kraut is not overly tart and tangy variety that you are probably used to, so don’t be afraid to try it if you’re not a kraut fan. There was just enough dressing to keep everything together, normally a cheese function, and moisten the dry grilled bread a bit. This reuben was big enough to satisfy my hunger and tasty enough to satisfy my craving.
One of the best things about ordering this sandwich, aside from it being super yummy, is the fact that you get to chose Lentil Soup as a side. I think they say it’s vegetarian because they don’t know it’s vegan, but I double checked that there was no dairy involved. The vegetable stock base is littered with tender lentils, sweet carrot cubes, soft potato and spices which have yet to be disclosed. Hearty enough to be a meal on its own, the lentil soup will definitely fortify your system for some serious beer drinking and even a shot or two.
The bar got packed, and I had several shots of whiskey, before I could manage to get the complete low down on the Veggie Burger. It’s billed as a house made black bean burger, which bodes well for vegan consumption, but verify with the staff that it is egg and cheese free (commonly used as a binder) before you commit.
The fabulous bartender Kenneth offered me New Belgium Hoptober. It’s a great October beer with a little step up on the hop, which I quite enjoy. I think, if you like a little hop, you should take Kenneth’s recommendation and down one…or two….or as many as you can safely handle.