Tomato Reuben

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Alo Café’s tomato Reuben satisfies vegetarians’ longing for juicy corned beef or pastrami.

Every now and then, former meat eaters long for dishes they once swooned over. I’m talking about you, Reuben sandwich, with your damnably juicy and seductive slices of lean corned beef or pastrami.

Thankfully, Valley vegetarians have a delicious and nearby surrogate: Alo Cafe’s tomato Reuben ($10), a meat-free crowd-pleaser layered with slabs of juicy tomatoes in place of deli meat, a tangled knot of tart sauerkraut and a layer of nutty, melted Swiss cheese. Also on board: a substantial dollop of house-made Thousand Island dressing, which owner Steve Martinez boasts has no preservatives or unpronounceable ingredients. The sandwich is griddled with clarified butter until golden brown on both sides, producing a crunchy exterior and an added level of texture. Bite through the layers and prepare for Thousand Island dressing and tomato juice to ooze out the sides and dribble down your chin.

It comes with a choice of potato chips or a healthy serving of coleslaw laced with celery seeds and vinegar, a light and refreshing departure from the mayonnaise-laden cabbage salads often cozied up to deli sandwiches.

Martinez has created numerous meat-free recipes for his brunch-focused restaurant because he wants vegetarians to also have “delicious” menu choices at his Old Town spot. “Everything I buy is fresh and top quality,” he says. “I just do things that taste good.”

6960 E. First St., Scottsdale

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