When you’re passing through Marathon, which most likely you are unless you’re a fisherman, the lobster reuben is like a siren song pulling you off Route 1. Tucked just off the main drag, this little oceanside eatery's signature creation is by far their most poplar, having sold over 71,000 of them since they opened over 40 years ago.
I placed my order at the window after a short wait in line, which was good timing because the lunch crowd arrived right after. At the window, after putting in my order, I was asked for my favorite car model and color–was this some sort of make-a-wish thing? Were they conducting a contest? No, it turns out the car question is just an amusing variation on taking your name so you can pick up your order when called. It also makes for some interesting looks around the marina-front picnic tables when some one gets up for at the call for the "pink Ferrari" or, in my case, the "yellow cab."
The reuben was everything you’d expect from the classic sandwich: kraut, Thousand Island dressing, heavily buttered rye toast and melted Swiss. But instead of salted, cured beef, the sustenance came in lobster form. While the meat was generously portioned—probably about the equivalent of a pound and a quarter or pound and a half of lobster (Caribbean, mind you)—to be honest, some of the tender, sweet flavor I love about lobster was lost in the grease and competing flavors. I'm a lobster purist. If it’s up to me, it’s butter only or if it’s in a lobster roll, maybe a dab of mayo. With pastrami or corned beef, you get a savory meat kick to enhance the smooth Swiss, the tinge of rye, the sourness of the kraut, and the sweet dressing. With lobster meat, it just gets buried. Obviously, we weren’t going to pass up a the chance to devour an icon of the Keys, but next time, it might just be stone crab and a mahi sandwich. We’ll save the lobster for when we can taste it.