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Reuben's Deli, West Hartford

  • j

DW and I were out shopping yesterday in West Hartford and decided to try the new deli, Reuben's, that just opened last week on LaSalle Road in West Hartford Center. The place is small and tables close together like a New York deli and we had to wait about 30 minutes for a table (like New York). We both ordered the matzo ball soup. My wife ordered tongue sandwich and I half of the corned beef. I am not sure why but they would not allow her to order half a tongue sandwich so she ordered a whole one. The waitress was unsure if they had tongue so my wife said if not to just make it corned beef.

They brought out a small bowl of half sour pickles which my wife enjoyed a lot even though she prefers sour. After waiting about 15 minutes or so the waitress came back and said they were out of the matzo ball soup. She then strongly suggested chicken noodle so we agreed. We waited another 10 minutes and the soup arrived. It was good (not as good as my wifes) but we were disappointed because we really wanted to try the matzo ball soup. As we ate we heard a waiter tell the next table that the matzo ball soup would be ready in a few minutes.

A couple of minutes later our sandwiches came out so we had to hurry and finish our soup to get to the sandwiches before they got cold. They were out of tongue so they brought my wife corned beef. It would have been nice if they had told my wife for sure that they were out of tongue. The sandwiches were huge. My half was enough for me and I am a big eater. My wife ate about a quarter of hers and then just ate the meat. The corned beef was great. Very lean but a little bit too salty. The cole slaw they served with it was excellent.

We over heard the waitress tell the next table that they were out of chopped liver. A Jewish deli running out of chopped liver and matzo ball soup by 1:00 PM on a Sunday afternoon? We were generally pleased with what we had and despite the problems (which I think they will work out in time) we enjoyed the meal. given that there are no decent Jewish deli's in the Hartford area I think that they will do well. It certainly was crowded and people seemd to enjoy what they were eating. I am anxious to go back in a week or two and try the matzo ball soup and chopped liver. Jay

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  1. Damn, wish I still worked in West Hartford center. Breakfast all day? Potato pancakes? Yes, yes!

    1. Went to Reuben's on Sunday afternoon, about 2:00. I stood in line for about 10 minutes before I could even get to the counter to order. Not because the line was so long, but because they were so frazzled trying to get orders out, they couldn't even take orders for people waiting. There was no direction as to where to stand to order or who was waiting for food, so I waited around and finally left without even trying.
      Since I was seriously craving some matzo ball soup, I decided to give them a second chance and went back around 6:00. Again, waited with no direction as to what to do next, until I finally got the counter girl's attention. She was not very pleasant, nor was she very knowledgeable. I ordered a 1/2 corned beef lean with swiss on rye, and a small matzo ball soup. Now I really like salt... on everything (pizza, burgers, vegetables, etc.). But both my sandwich and soup were SO salty, I could barely eat them. I know that new restaurants have a lot of kinks to work out, so I will chalk the chaotic ordering/waiting up to the new opening. However, the food should be ready to go and taste good. And I'm afraid that my first experience at Reuben's was not worth the $16.

      5 Replies
      1. re: linzerbeth44

        $16??? I know the corned beef sandwich I had was about $8 and I thought the soup was $4. How did it get to be up to $16? Good deli is not cheap but if it was good, it is worth it. Unfortunately there aren't any good deli's in the Hartford area (don't say Rein's is good). This appears to be the best so far. Give them a bit of time to be organized. Jay

        1. re: JayCT

          Got a bottle of water too. Plus tax?

          I will definitely try them again but I will stay away from the corned beef and try something different. I love knishes, so I'm eager to give them a shot there.

        2. re: linzerbeth44


          Sorry, but I do think that Rein's is good. There are sometimes long lines but they move fast. They've never been out of matzoh ball soup or chopped liver.
          I haven't been to Reuben's yet and am sorry to hear negative comments but hope that is just opening jitters and things will get better.

          Looking forward to visiting and seeing for myself.

          1. re: davidmb

            Reins is to a real deal Deli as Dominos is to real deal pizza. They just closed down in West Springfield because they're just not good. Do yourself a favor and take a pilgrimage to Katz Deli in Manhattan. Thats the top of the mountain, my friend.

            1. re: foodwallguy

              The West Springfield one was SOOoooo Baaaaaad. Talk about poor service and being out of everything...

        3. When I first moved to West Hartford 30 years ago, I asked a passerby in the center of town if he knew the nearest place where I could get a good pastrami sandwich. He replied "New York City." Now there is Reuben's Deli. It is not as good as Katz's in lower Manhattan, but it did satisfy my craving. The pastrami was juicy and warm. It did not have the big NY pastrami flavor, but it was pretty good.

          1. So, I gave it a second shot. Went back yesterday around 11:00 am, beating the lunchtime rush. There was one person ahead of me in line. I ordered a turkey sandwich with bacon and provolone cheese, while my boyfriend ordered a corned beef reuben with fries. So far, so good. Order took about 10 minutes to make (and cost $25.00). We began to leave and the counter guy called us back because we were missing the fries... great catch we thought, so we then left. Got home to eat and guess what... NO REUBEN in the bag, and no bacon on the turkey sandwich (but it had mayo which i did NOT order). Went back and it was extremely busy. Had to wait 10 minutes to even get to the counter to get the order fixed. Waited another 10 minutes for them to remake the sandwich and make a reuben. And then they didn't even replace the fries, so we had cold soggy fries (and a VERY small order for what they charge). Reuben's really needs to get it down. They have zero organization behind the counter. The person taking orders should not be the same person bagging them. There should be a separate expediter putting orders in bags and making sure the orders are complete. And when an order comes back in because it's wrong, you do everything in your power to make sure it is right and enjoyable the second time. The food tasted better this time (although boyfriend agreed that the corned beef was too salty and the fries were cold and soggy), but they really need to get the issues worked out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: linzerbeth44

              That why professional critics give a place a few months before doing a review. Every new restaurant needs time to get their act together, and I don't think it's very fair to judge them before they hit their stride.

            2. I had a corned beef sandwich on rye there today. The rye was good, but the corned beef was spongey, yes spongey.

              6 Replies
              1. re: aldente1

                I looked up Reuben's on Chowhound today to see what others were saying. I have to say that I have been there a number of times and today will be my last. Each time I go there is a significant problem with the food, the service, the management. There are significant menu problems, namely they are clueless as to what makes a good deli. They use a prefab turkey, not a breast off the bone, for sandwiches. Their matzoh balls can be used for paper weights. Today, I ordered chicken noodle soup and it tasted like celery water. A woman at the next table ordered a chopped liver sandwich that was runny. (!) I once ordered a chicken caesar salad -- and they put baby corn in there! (that was the waitress who didn't know how to punch in an order) It goes on and on.

                The manager is always kind, offering to replace whatever disaster they presented, but NEVER gratis. Today, I ended up eating half of my husband's sandwich (roast beef that tasted processed on a stale bun) so we could eat together.

                Talking to the waitress, I said that the kitchen needs better recipes to prepare Jewish style deli. Her response: "There aren't many Jewish cooks."


                Oh. Did I mention that a roast beef sandwich costs $11 and they charge 75¢ for cheese? Prices are high for such poor food quality and terrible dining experiences. I like to see restaurants succeed and I was happy to see Reuben's crowded at lunchtime, but I do think they need to do much better to survive.

                Reuben's Deli
                West Hartford, West Hartford, CT

                  1. re: chowmensch

                    I love good deli food and live in West Hartford and thanks to chowhound I've never hit Reuben's because you folks will not steer me wrong.

                    Might I recommend Pastrami on Wry in Manchester for an excellent sandwich. (see I will go out of town to avoid eating at Reuben's)

                    1. re: masha bousha

                      Oh, that Reuben! And that potato salad! Need to rush over there right now. Nice that I can be there in 10 minutes.

                  2. re: mallomarmom

                    Not many Jewish cooks?? In West Hartford?? - Maybe they're all Accountants or Lawyers - but somebody must be available to make decent chopped liver, matzoh balls, etc. - I grew up in West Hartford Center/Bishops Corner area, you used to be able to find the "basics" - sigh, too many "fancy folks"

                    1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                      You don't have to be Jewish to cook Jewish-style food. You just have to know food! Or, get good recipes from people who do know.... Reuben's, sadly, is clueless in the kitchen.

                1. Gee, and I thought P.O.W. was my own little secret!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: thos

                    I'll add that Corey Wry's Catsup and Mustard is also a fun place with consistently creative, delicious, reasonably priced food. A new favorite!

                    1. re: mallomarmom

                      I love that place too. I usually end up getting a sandwich there too rather than a burger. The rye bread is off the hook.

                    2. We tried Reuben's once. The potato pancakes were gross, mealy and way too salty. An egg white and cheese sandwich on wheat toast was amazing.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ratbuddy

                        Reuben's is just not particularly good...I've been a couple of times, but I would always go to the Fernwood over Reuben's if I want a decent sandwich.

                        Fernwood Restaurant
                        1113 New Britain Ave, Hartford, CT 06110

                        1. re: JDog12

                          Ditto. The Fernwood, on New Britain Avenue, is a "best-kept secret." Do not try anything that's too involved; however, for simple comfort food and sandwiches they're great. I think Fridays they make corned beef and it's just delightful. In particular, it's a great favorite of older diners (nothing too strong-flavored and huge portions). Best to ask whether or not they're offering Karaoke, however. I had to endure the shrieking for awhile one night and now ask (call 'em). The bar's friendly and comfortable with an assortment of locals that're cute and fun to watch.

                          Fernwood Restaurant
                          1113 New Britain Ave, Hartford, CT 06110

                      2. I work in WH and have been there twice. I just can't get over how overpriced they are. Lunch should not cost 16 dollars for a sandwhich chips and a water. Its ok tasting but not 16 dollars worth of good when I can go to GINZA in bloomfield and get two rolls and a soup for 9 bucks. To many other good places around to be that bad and that expensive.

                        1. We were very disappointed with Reuben's/ We went on a weekday morning The place was practically empty at 10 am and still we had to wait a long time for service, and the waitress was just uninterested in her job. The breakfast was so-so...nothing special about it at all. We will not be going back.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: judyd

                            My wife and I dined at Reuben's this past Sunday and each ordered 1/2 corned beef sandwich and paid the $1 extra for the potato salad upgrade. The good news is the potato salad was much better (less mayo) than on a previous visit. The bad news is the sandwich was prepared with less than 1/2 the corned beef as on our previous visit. Also, when I checked the bill I realized the waitress upgraded our corned beef to lean without consulting with us thus costing us an additional $1 each. We won't be returning.

                            1. re: westie

                              It seems like Reuben’s is in trouble. I’ve noticed that they have cut back their hours... and when I hear about smaller meat portions, it’s a bad sign.
                              I hate to see a restaurant fail -- especially a deli! -- but I also feel that they had a wonderful niche in West Hartford, but wouldn’t make the necessary investment to get fabulous meats and more “authentic” recipes.
                              Sally & Bob’s on N. Main has excellent corned beef, made on the premises... and is a fraction of the price.

                              1. re: mallomarmom

                                Is Sally and Bob's that tiny place in an office building just north of Farmington Ave?

                                Farmington Ave Restaurant
                                960 Farmington Ave, Berlin, CT 06037

                                1. re: thos

                                  Sure is, across from the end of Brace Road if I remember right.

                                  1. re: ratbuddy

                                    Yes, you’re both right. Was there again on Thursday for lunch and had a fresh turkey on rye, Russian dressing and all... and it was the best I’ve had in a long, long time. Good sized portion -- took half home! Go, and enjoy... and report back. Hope you have a good experience.

                                    1. re: mallomarmom

                                      Oh, just to clarify: Sally and Bob's is only open for breakfast and lunch.

                                      1. re: mallomarmom

                                        thanks mallomarmom. Been passing there for 37 years and never tried. Now I plan to.