Winner: Brooklyn Seoul
Restaurant: Rogue Sandwich Co., Springhill, Fla.
Food cost: $2.10
Creator: Mike Webster, owner
Ingredients: Steamed pastrami, kimchi, Baby Swiss, gojuchang-infused housemade Russian dressing on marbled rye.
What makes it special: It’s a classic Reuben with a Korean twist. Rogue Sandwich Co. is in a retirement community with a lot of former New Yorkers just outside Tampa. Mike Webster, who owns the sandwich shop with his wife, sells a lot of Reubens. As a special, he created the Brooklyn Seoul variation, using pastrami from Brooklyn, N.Y., and kimchi made at a local Korean market (The Lee Brothers), along with a gojuchang-spiked dressing.
The flavors worked so well together, Webster put it on the permanent menu. It was a tough sell at first — Webster said he had to talk his guests into stepping away from the traditional Reuben to try it. Soon, it became one of the top sellers.
“We’re about 45 minutes outside Tampa, so at first people would say, ‘What’s kimchi?’ Once I got people to try it, though, they’d see how well the flavors play off each other,” he said. “I did that thing where I told them, if they didn’t like it, I’d buy it. But I’ve never bought one.”