Contact Info: 8253 Cooper Creek Blvd., Sarasota, 360-3287. Read our guide to Lee Roy Selmons.Soul Good Pulled Pork, Lee Roy Selmons
Scouting report: An old Selmon family recipe, the popular sandwich is slow-cooked all day and topped with Selmon’s house sauce. The secret is to order cole slaw on top of the dish—the succulent meat paired with the crunch of the slaw between two slices of soft bread makes for one heck of a sandwich. Price: Full size 10.99/Lunch size 8.49
Contact Info: 5231 University Parkway, Sarasota, 351-5999. Click here to see our guide to this restaurant.Reuben THE Great, Jason's Deli
Scouting report: Asked what makes this sandwich stand out, a Jason’s employee said its size. Specifically, the half-pound of meat. “It’s probably our most popular sandwich,” she said. “We get a lot of positive feedback about it.” If you order a Reuben THE Great, prepare to loosen your belt. It has 860 calories. Price: $7.79
Contact Info: 987 South Packinghouse Dr., Sarasota, 371-9358. Click here to see our guide to this restaurant.OPC Cuban Sandwich, J.R.’s Old Packinghouse Cafe
Scouting report: Pork loin, Swiss cheese, spicy mustard and pickle on pressed Cuban bread. The OPC, on its website, declares: “this one has been named Sarasota's best!! you've got to try this one HOT off the press.” An employee says simply, “We sell the (expletive deleted) out of them.” Price: $6.95
New York Style Reuben on Rye, Alpine Steakhouse
Scouting report: Corned beef, Swiss, sauerkraut and 1,000 Island dressing. The recipe might sound ordinary, but what separates this sandwich is the ingredients and how they are prepared, says Mark Rebhan, who has owned the popular Sarasota eatery for 37 years. Start with the corned beef, cooked in-house. Only brisket is used and is carved against the grain. The sauerkraut is homemade and includes bacon, apples and juniper berries. The sauce is also homemade. The rye bread is imported from New York because, Rebhan says, chlorine in the local water adversely affects yeast and prevents the bread from meeting Alpine’s standards. Price: $8.95
Contact Info: 1319 Main Street, Sarasota, 365-0469. Click here to read our guide to this restaurant.Reuben Sandwich, Sports Page Bar and Grill
Scouting report: While Sports Page specializes in some of the best burgers and hotdogs in Sarasota, owner Bob Richards says his reuben sandwich tops the menu in customer satisfaction. “It has a bit of a cult following,” said Richards. The corned beef is cooked each day at the restaurant. Mounds are then piled between pieces of rye bread (from the Longboat Key Bakery). Sandwiches come with a heaping portion of fries. Price: $8-$10
Contact Info: 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, 782-0899, pologrillandbar.comPulled Pork Sandwich, Polo Grill and Bar
Scouting Report: Polo slow cooks its pork for 12 hours, then stacks it with homemade coleslaw and deep-fried pickles to complete its award-winning masterpiece.
Contact Info: 4982 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 925-3955, corkscrewdeli.comDeli Pressed Cuban, Corkscrew Deli
Scouting report: The Corkscrew Deli offers a pressed Cuban sandwich that focuses on the small details. Besides using quality salami and Boar’s Head smoked ham, Corkscrew’s Cuban has high quality dill pickle slices, swiss cheese and a a special mustard--a mixture of spicy mustard, touch of mayo, yellow mustard and garlic. Price: $5.79, $3.99 on Saturdays
Contact Info: 149 Avenida Messina, Siesta Key, 346-0738Brisket Sandwich, Blu Que
Scouting report: Owner Matt Diveley smokes his brisket overnight for 18 hours with a dry rub “that melts in your mouth.” Price: $10
Contact Info: 301 S Pineapple Ave Sarasota, 366-2271, nancysbarbq.com (Photo by Alex Stafford)Pulled Pork Sandwich, Nancy's Bar-B-Q
Scouting report: After selling over 20,000 pulled pork sandwiches, the crew at Nancy’s Bar-B-Q affectionately refers to the sandwich as “The Pulled Pork that Built the House.” Nancy’s version is an “unadorned, fundamental that gave the business its start." The pork is coated in dry rub before it is smoked for 14-15 hours and then pulled and piled on a potato roll. Price: $6.95
Contact Info: 3634 Webber St., Sarasota, 927-6600. Click here to read our guide to this restaurant.Deli Cuban, Jimmy's Sand Trap
Scouting report: Pastrami, corned beef, salami, Swiss cheese, dill pickle, mustard and mayo on hot pressed Cuban bread. Host Jimmy Galanis credits his wife for the recipe, which combines Cuban and New York deli influences. The sandwich is pressed in butter, giving it a rich, crispy taste. Galanis says the Cuban bread, purchased from a bakery in Ybor City, sets this sandwich apart. The Deli Cuban is one of several interesting offerings that make this newer restaurant in a nondescript strip mall on Webber worth a visit. Price: $8.99
Contact Info: 8315 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota, 351-2600. Click here to read our guide to this restaurant.Turkey Reuben, Honey Tree Cafe
Scouting report: Homemade sauce, freshly sliced turkey and made-to-order sauerkraut are some of the reasons this sandwich has found a loyal following. A waitress said the cooks make extra effort to drain the sauerkraut and keep the sandwich from becoming soggy. Diners can also choose the “Demi Moore” version -- with coleslaw instead of kraut. Honey Tree Cafe is a family owned restaurant in its seventh year. Price: $7.59
Contact Info: 2647 Mall Dr., Sarasota, 923-2514Reuben, Ham Heaven and Devil Dogs
Scouting Report: Rocky at Ham Heaven makes his own corned beef, resulting in thick slices of superbly seasoned meat that falls apart under the slightest pressure, the perfect accompaniment to sauerkraut, melted chees and toasted rye.
Contact Info: 1303 N. Washington Blvd., Sarasota, 366-3241; 1440 63rd Ave. E., Bradenton, 751-9287; thecafehavana.comCuban, Cafe Havana
Scouting report: A classic Cuban via Ybor City, featuring roast pork, ham, swiss and pickles pressed between two pieces of crusty Cuban bread.
Contact Info: 8799 Cortez Road W., Bradenton, 795-4898, josesrealcubanfood.comCuban, Jose's Real Cuban Food
Scouting Report: Featured on Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", Jose's has made the most out of a brush with fame by letting people know just how good it's Cuban sandwich is.
Contact Info: 661 Tamiami Trail South, Venice, 483-3137. Click here to read our guide to this restaurant.Chopped Pork Sandwich, Gold Rush
Scouting report: Restaurants closed almost as quickly as they opened before the Gold Rush staked its claim at this Venice island location 11 years ago, and quickly became one of the area’s most successful restaurants. One reason for that success is the Gold Rush’s pork barbecue, which is hickory-smoked for seven hours over a low temperature. The Gold Rush’s homemade BBQ sauce enhances the natural flavors. The Gold Rush considers its brand of BBQ an American blend: tomato based like Memphis, with vinegar flavors of Carolina. Price: $5 lunch, $6.79 dinner
Contact Info: 5900 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 926-7151, simonstogo.comVeggie Reuben, Simon's Coffee House
Scouting Report: It's not always on the menu, but they'll make it if you ask nicely, replacing the corned beef in a typical reuben with sauteed veggies that mesh wonderfully with the sauerkraut and melted Swiss.
Sandwich Showdown: Reubens, Cubans & Barbecue Bracket
/ Wednesday, March 14, 2012