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Feb 4, 2008 08:27 PM

Kenny and Zuke's Reuben Sandwich

Full disclosure before I begin...I work in the restaurant buisness in Portland. But I will never knowingly post on any restaurant where either myself, or any associate of mine, has or is working. Sorry, can't see into the furture.

Been a while since I've had good computer access, and access to Chowhound. But, now that I've moved, and have access to a good computer, it is great to be back!!!! So, after an all to long sabbatical into the world of the Luddite, it is great to be able to post again.

On the recommedation of a couple of people who's chowsense I trust, I went last week to Kenny and Zuke's Deli (11th and SW Stark) for the reuben sandwich. Great friggin reuben!

Before posting, I checked out previous posts on K & Z's, and some posters commented that the pastrami was dry. Not on the day I went. Still hand cut, ( about 1/4 inch thick slices) but moist. IMHO, the secret to a great reuben is the sum of the balance of meat + saurkraut + swiss cheese + russian dressing + grilled rye. And Kennys has the equation nailed. They serve their rye thick enough to hold up to the load of the pastrami, and the moisture of the kraut and dressing, and they grill it to a golden brown. Pastrami to kraut ratio is perferct, so that the cabbage condiment is a compliment to, rather than a competitor of, the main player. And the melted cheese and thin spread of dressing brought this sandwich to a great cresendio.

Don't be put off by the 11+ dollar price of this sandwich. With the pickle, and your choice of potato salad or cole slaw, ( I chose the potato potatoes, dill, and a light dressing...great!) it is easy to make lunch and a light supper out of this.

Easily one of the top three reubens I've had on the West Coast.


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  1. While I think K&Z still has some consistency issues to work out (the dryness of the pastrami on one day versus another), when it's on, it's right up there with Langers. The reuben absolutely is the best representation of their pastrami for all the reasons you mentioned, and it's my favorite sammich on the menu, though I really have a fondness for the pastrami hash (I still need to try out that great looking pastrami burger; I hear also about a burger "off menu" that has chicken liver in it which is right up my alley).

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. I thought a reuben was made with corned beef. Is the pastrami reuben a K&Z novelty, or is this a common deli item?

        5 Replies
        1. re: MichaelG

          You could have it either way. I've even heard of turkey reubens. (I think reuben refers more to the presence of Russian dressing and sauerkraut.)

          Not to say that K&Z is without their novelty items, like pastrami & fries covered in Russian dressing (I think it's part of their late-night happy hour menu).

          1. re: SauceSupreme

            A post about whether Reubens have coleslaw or sauerkraut has been split to the General Topics board:


          2. re: MichaelG

            Although it sounds delicious, I agree that a traditional Reuben is corned beef.
            Just as a traditional Martini should be gin not vodka, especially flavored vodka.

            1. re: MichaelG

              As far as I know, a reuben made with pastrami should rightfully be called a Rachel, but hardly anyone keeps them straight. Most places now seem to use pastrami instead of corned beef.

              Personally, I don't much care what it's called as long as it's good!

              1. re: Freida

                See, to me a "Rachel" is a rueben with Turkey instead of corned beef.

                Very different.

            2. I love reubens! Make mine with corn beef and either german rye or dark rye. The dressing makes all the difference... little best foods mayo, ketchup, sweet relish, and touch of horseradish.

              My mouth waters just thinking of it.