Since he first opened its doors in January of 2013, Ryan Kunsch has turned Sarbez! into an icon of the quirky and creative side of St. Augustine. They may be known to many as a Flagler-frequented bar and music venue, but there’s actually much more going on behind those colorful walls than cool bands and craft beers. Ryan did recently add an arcade to the Sarbez! scene – featuring a plethora of both vintage games and a few more modern additions – but that’s actually not what we’re currently raving over. No, our current obsession is the spot’s utterly delicious grilled cheese menu.
Sporting unconventional names like “Hashton Kutcher” and “This Is Why I’m Hot,” this grilled cheese menu is perfect for any palate – whether that palate is chowing down on dinner with the family or ordering their grilled cheese late night. Since this column lets us highlight some of our favorite vegetarian dishes, though, we bypassed the bacon, ham, and sausage-laden sandwiches and instead zeroed in on the Tempeh Reuben. It’s a vegetarian-friendly version of a classic sandwich and, trust us, you won’t miss the original.
Like the original, the Tempeh Reuben starts off with two slices of whole grain bread (that, when grilled, is crispy but still soft perfection). On these bread slices, they stack Swiss cheese, tempeh, sauerkraut, and just a little Sarbez! Sauce! for good measure. The sauerkraut is bursting with flavor and gives an overall tangy, sour note to the whole sandwich. The flavor, which could have been overwhelming, is countered by savory tempeh, mildly sweet Swiss, and the distinctive signature sauce. And like many classic sandwich dishes, this grilled cheese is paired with a hefty portion of chips and a pickle. Full disclosure – one sandwich might just not be enough to satisfy the cravings that it will trigger.
The just ever-so-slightly unusual makeup of the Tempeh Reuben perfectly encapsulates the feeling that Sarbez! gives you. It’s classic but quirky, with a heavy dose of personality, and a whole lot of deliciousness. It’s a sandwich – and a grilled cheese spot – that you’ll keep coming back to again and again.