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Jun 22, 2008 02:08 PM

[MSP] Grilled tempeh reuben at French Meadow?

I recently tried the tempeh reuben at French Meadow in Minneapolis and thought it was quite nice. I was especially intrigued by their tempeh because it had a good texture--soft, but not mushy.

Does anyone know if they make their own tempeh in-house or do something special with it or use a special kind of tempeh? I recently tried frying my own tempeh (using a recipe out of Peter Berley's Flexitarian Table) and it was disastrously awful, hard as a brick, even after a good half hour. I just wondered what might be unique about French Meadow's, if, in fact, it is unique.


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  1. I'm not sure what you mean about tempeh being 'hard as a brick', unless it was frozen.
    Normally it's more firm than tofu but that's what makes it more appealing to people looking for a 'meaty' texture. My problem with it is that I don't like the basic flavor of it- seems like to make it successful, one has to put a lot of tamari on it/marinate it, and then fry it/brown it to disguise the beany flavor. I do usually like it when used on a reuben, but haven't had the French Meadow one to comment. Maybe you should contact the restaurant and ask them about it.
    and ps- you probably like sauerkraut if you like reubens- try the 'Powerkraut' sauerkraut
    sold at the Wedge, in the fridge area with pickles and lunchmeats. Locally made, hand
    chopped, totally yummy.

    1. Are you asking if French Meadow made the tempeh itself from scratch - starting with soybeans and inoculating them? Since they proof bread it would be a good environment to ferment the tempeh, so I'd guess that they do make it from scratch.

      What kind of tempeh did you start out with? There are so many different flavors and brands, refrigerated and frozen. I've never been pleased with frozen tempeh as I find it a little too solid but some of the vacuum packed, flavored tempeh is tasty though a little salty to my tastebuds.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MplsM ary

        Sorry for the confusion, yes, my question is: do they make their own tempeh from scratch, starting with soy beans, etc.?

        And my follow-up question is, is the tempeh in their grilled tempeh reuben pretty much the typical texture of tempeh and/or is it unusual because they do something unique to it?

        I used White Way original soy that (I think) I purchased from Whole Foods fridge case and even after slicing into pieces and simmering with sauerkraut for a long time, (a half hour, I think) it had a very firm texture, as hard and firm as say, a granola bar, but not crunchy. There was little give when you bit into it, whereas, when I bit into the French Meadow tempeh, the soybeans kind of smooshed. I preferred French Meadows...

        Here's my post on what I was doing with the tempeh on the home cooking board.


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Don't give up on tempeh though I'd be frustrated too if that was the texture I'd gotten after simmering for half an hour. Even straight from the package it shouldn't be THAT stiff.

          Give Turtle Island (of Tofurkey fame) a whirl as they pre-steam the tempeh before packaging. Also, slice the tempeh fairly thin (1/4 in) before cooking.

      2. Since we are talking tempeh sandwiches, Tracy's Bar, has an outstanding tempeh sandwich. Highly recommended bar food.

        Tracy's Saloon
        2207 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

        6 Replies
        1. re: churchka

          Hey, neat! Canyou describe the sandwich a little more (in terms of what's on it) and also the texture of the tempeh?

          Thank you!


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Per their website, "soy sauce-infused spiced tempeh slices, pepperjack cheese, sauteed peppers and onions."

            The tempeh is more firm than tofu, but not hard. It is a nice chewy bite. It has a lot of peppers and onion which are really good, IMO, and it is served on toast, IIRC.

          2. re: churchka

            Town Talk Diner also has a very well received tempeh sandwich. I've never ordered it but it's been recommended to me by several people. The menu description says it has Monterrey jack cheese, tomato, avocado, alfalfa sprouts and soy scallion mayo on sunflower wheat toast.

            My memory of the texture of tempeh is that it is a step firmer and tougher than firm tofu, with more of a skin that you have to bite through. My only recollection of having it is in vegan Asian dishes where there was heavy sauce so I can't speak to the flavor of it by itself. I definitely do not think it should have been hard as a brick.

            1. re: katebauer

              I had the same problems TDQ did when cooking with tempeh. It was awful. But I"ve had several tempeh reubens that have been totally different texturewise, and wonderful (leading me to think I liked tempeh when, in fact, I may not).

              Most awesome tempeh reuben I've had has been at the Trempeleau Hotel in Trempeleau, Wis., just above LaCrosse. But here in the Twin Cities I've had a good one at ...the name is escaping me and I can't find it by searching. That cafe at the corner of Marshall and Cleveland in St. Paul...with newly extended hours.

              So why does tempeh taste different when made as a reuben?

              1. re: jeanmt

                jeanmt, are you referring to Trotter's Cafe, which is around the corner from Izzy's?