Arby’s Corned Beef Reuben – is it any good?

Arby's Corned Beef Reuben - interior close up

This is “a Reuben sandwich inspired by the New York standard”, goes the ambitious tagline from Arby’s. I’d eyed it at a distance for quite some time, but never dared risk an order. On one hand some of Arby’s regional sandwich creations like the gyro have been solid; on the other, there’s a lot that can wrong here.

I thew caution to the wind this when testing the new Boneless Wings and decided to check it out/. First up, the ingredients, Arby’s ticks all the boxes here, the sandwich comes with:

  • Corned Beef
  • Big Eye Swiss
  • Sauerkraut
  • Thousand Island
  • Marble Rye Bread

There’s no denying the fact that Arby’s have put together a handsome looking sandwich. For a fast food attempt at the iconic sandwich, it certainly looks the part:

Arby's Corned Beef Reuben - top down
Arby’s Corned Beef Reuben – top down
Arby's Corned Beef Reuben - interior
Arby’s Corned Beef Reuben – interior
Arby's Corned Beef Reuben - meat close up
Arby’s Corned Beef Reuben – meat close up
Arby's Corned Beef Reuben - interior close up
Arby’s Corned Beef Reuben – interior close up
Arby's Corned Beef Reuben - corned beef
Arby’s Corned Beef Reuben – corned beef

As with most reubens, prepare to get messy here, have napkins at the ready for the cascading Thousand Island and shredded kraut. Don’t were your fancy clothes while handling this one.

The first item to note, is the bread, and sadly the first of a couple of let downs. While the Marble Rye might pass a visual inspection, the flavors are heavily muted. The ordinarily deeply flavored bread, powered by potent caraway, is incredibly bland. The same goes for the sauerkraut too. It’s a watered down version of the real deal. There’s some minor punch and briny pickle, but the topping from Arby’s fails to embrace the real joy of a good kraut, a smack of fermented funk to the palate.

Given the minimized flavors of the bread and kraut it’s clear that Arby’s goal here is to present a reuben-lite, a facsimile of the real thing that’s has all the brash, bold edges smoothed off. There’s nothing *terrible* about the kraut and bread, but nor is there anything notable.

Onto the meat then, which is ho-hum. There’s plenty of it no doubt, and while the taste (while again turned down a few notches) is acceptable – for my tastes there was too much fattiness around the edges. The corned beef also has that slightly rubbery plasticy texture, and not the crumbly flaky savoriness of the high end stuff. But hey, we’re talking fast food here.

It goes without saying you will want to eat this one quickly. The assembled ingredients quickly start to erode the rye. Within 5-10 minutes you’ll have a slippery, mushy mess.

It’s fun to see Arby’s tackle unique dishes, there’s a lot to commend; I mean how many chicken sandwiches do we really need? This isn’t a terrible sandwich by any means, it’s just one that’s turned down the volume from 11, all the way to 1.

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Hi there, I'm Stuart, nice to meet you. I'm a food writer of more than 15+ years experience writing about food and drink in all its forms, fine dining through the to the grocery store. I've also got a secret obsession with fast food too. You can find my writing at places like Gastronomic SLC, Visit Salt Lake, The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah Stories, Utah Now Online and many others.