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Rant on Reuben Sandwiches [moved from Boston board]

teezeetoo Sep 15, 2010 01:31 PM

the deli piece in the globe made me see red for a moment, and I don't mean in a good way. To test a jewish deli on a reuben is like testing a fine chinese restaurant on its lasagna. Reubens are the devil's own invention, having nothing to do with any standard jewish deli and imported from heaven knows where into non-kosher jewish delis where they remain a blot on good sense and balance. who adds bad swiss cheese to good corned beef? Adds more fat to a fine fatty meat? yech......As to the article itself, if you don't make your own chopped liver, try the Butcheries or Michael's Deli. As to chicken soup and matzoh balls, the only one I eat other than my own is New England Soup Factory. Why someone who knows nothing about food or delis gets to write about them will remain beyond my understanding. No Reubens!! No Rachels!

Michael's Deli
256 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

  1. StriperGuy Sep 15, 2010 01:43 PM

    The only fault I find in your comment is that you pay any attention whatsoever to anything written in the Boston Glob (misspelling intentional).

    1. trufflehound Sep 15, 2010 01:51 PM

      Since there are no good deli's, let's at least enjoy a reuben.

      1. g
        Gordough Sep 15, 2010 02:16 PM

        "who adds bad swiss cheese to good corned beef?"

        Stand at any counter that serves top notch pastrami and watch how many people ask for cheese on their pastrami sandwich.

        Is this all that different from folks who like cheese (usually Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese) on a good cut of beef? Personally I enjoy a Rachel over a Rubin. To each their own I say.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Gordough
          teezeetoo Sep 15, 2010 02:31 PM

          forgive me, but jewish delis were all, once upon a time, kosher. no cheese on the meat. none. ever. so, yes, crossover has happened: delis (but never kosher ones) looked to lure people with "fusion" deli. Fine. if you like it, eat it and may you find a good one. But it is insulting to write an article on "jewish" delis and test their excellence on a "reuben." what a joke.

          1. re: teezeetoo
            Jenny Ondioline Sep 15, 2010 02:34 PM

            I get why you're upset, but clearly, that ship has sailed: not all Jewish delis are kosher. Not all people who eat at Jewish delis keep kosher, even if they're Jewish. So, nu?

            1. re: Jenny Ondioline
              teezeetoo Sep 15, 2010 02:54 PM

              nothing wrong with general gau's chicken, chow mein, or egg foo young. would you test for the best chinese restaurants by making these your standards for review? I'm not at all a purist: have no idea what is authentic in most cuisines. I just can't help feeling that the lovely Adelman's at Adelman's deli on 13th avenue in Brooklyn, and my father, would be deeply offended at using a Reuben as a measure of their skill or taste. neither of them would have touched one with a long wooden spoon.

              1. re: teezeetoo
                Veggo Sep 15, 2010 07:15 PM

                You are not in Brooklyn any more. In many areas of the U.S., one cannot even get a reuben.

                1. re: Veggo
                  Passadumkeg Sep 15, 2010 07:24 PM

                  Veg, my boss here in Grants, said the reuben at the 1St Street Cafe was the best he'd ever eaten. He's a native New Mexican. I'm gonna wait until I'm really hard up(or blitzed) before trying one.

                2. re: teezeetoo
                  Servorg Oct 4, 2010 07:32 AM

                  I'll have some sympathy for you the first time someone pulls a gun on you and forces you to eat a Reuben against your will. Otherwise, live and let eat.

                3. re: Jenny Ondioline
                  opinionatedchef Sep 26, 2010 10:38 AM

                  you know, that is a great expression. i appreciate your bringing it to my attention again. and i'm gonna use it too!

            2. MC Slim JB Sep 15, 2010 03:09 PM

              Ha! Love to see impassioned Chowhounds getting all incensed!

              It would be simpler to just say that Boston remains a giant sucking black hole for high-quality traditional Jewish deli, but you can't get 800 words out of that.


              3 Replies
              1. re: MC Slim JB
                lergnom Sep 15, 2010 03:41 PM

                Real deli is dying. The only hope is a still young artisan deli movement. I'm somewhat surprised that even in the kashrut world there is little artisan deli.

                1. re: lergnom
                  childofthestorm Sep 18, 2010 05:43 PM

                  Worth noting that one of the young artisan delis, Kenny & Zuke's in Portland, serves a killer Reuben that I am compelled to order every time I visit. But another one, Caplansky's in my hometown of Toronto, refuses to, with the same passionate argument of the OP.

                  1. re: childofthestorm
                    Veggo Sep 18, 2010 05:55 PM

                    I don't think the OP has ever had a reuben. His rant is the dilution of kosher.

              2. b
                baldbert Sep 15, 2010 06:05 PM

                Russian Dressing? Need I say more?

                2 Replies
                1. re: baldbert
                  Perilagu Khan Sep 16, 2010 07:22 AM

                  You said a mouthful. And a most upleasant one. I loathe the stuff.

                  1. re: baldbert
                    teezeetoo Sep 16, 2010 07:27 AM

                    let me see: bad swiss cheese, russian dressing, and fatty meat on generally poor quality rye bread, with some canned sauerkraut: sounds like an ersatz "jewish-style" big mac to me. great corned beef, good mustard, good rye bread, good pickle on the side: sounds like a deli sandwich.

                  2. FastTalkingHighTrousers Sep 15, 2010 06:54 PM

                    Reuben's have been popular in jewish NYC delis since around 1920 so it seems like a relevant sandwich choice to me ...
                    ... not that the Globe food section is a legit authority on anything at all.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: FastTalkingHighTrousers
                      StriperGuy Sep 16, 2010 08:26 AM

                      "Reuben's have been popular in jewish NYC delis since around 1920." I grew up in Manhattan, and I ate a lot of Deli, and I never HEARD of a Reuben until straying out into the suburban crappy pseudo delis in the late 1980s.

                      1. re: StriperGuy
                        FastTalkingHighTrousers Sep 16, 2010 08:41 AM

                        I can see how they'd be hard to find for people that tend to mix food and religion but ...seriously? Just go to Katz's or Carnegie or literally any other deli that will let meat and cheese live together in delicious harmony.

                        1. re: FastTalkingHighTrousers
                          StriperGuy Sep 16, 2010 08:58 AM

                          I don't think you could have gotten a Reuben at Katz 20 years ago. Today for sure.

                          1. re: StriperGuy
                            c oliver Sep 16, 2010 04:39 PM

                            I've only been to Katz once and I'd have never desecrated that gorgeous pastrami with cheese or anything else. Well, some mustard.

                            1. re: c oliver
                              Veggo Sep 16, 2010 04:52 PM

                              I'm not kosher but pastrami and chopped liver on seeded rye is my most bestest superlative favorite sandwich. Pickle on the side.

                              1. re: c oliver
                                BobB Sep 17, 2010 01:54 PM

                                Mustard does not desecrate, it anoints.

                                1. re: BobB
                                  Perilagu Khan Sep 17, 2010 01:59 PM

                                  Indeed. When Pope Poupontius IV was annointed in 1419, it was done with a dab of Dijon on the forehead.

                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                    opinionatedchef Sep 26, 2010 10:43 AM

                                    YOU are funny! th you.

                              2. re: StriperGuy
                                MVNYC Sep 17, 2010 12:32 PM

                                I remember getting swiss cheese on my tongue sandwiches in the 1980's at Katz' so I would imagine you could have gotten a Reuben.

                                I am not sure what the hubub is, Reuben's are a tasty sandwich especially when griddled with butter. If you are Kosher just don't eat it.

                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                  byrd Sep 17, 2010 04:45 PM

                                  Katz was never kosher...

                              3. re: StriperGuy
                                thew Sep 16, 2010 05:17 PM

                                life long NYer. ate reubens since at least the early 70's

                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                  decolady Oct 2, 2010 09:43 AM

                                  I did some research on Reuben sandwiches a few years ago. In my notes I have that Reubens were first mentioned in print in Theatre Magazine in 1926 and that they were being talked about in the NY media before any place else in the country. My Mom was eating Reuben sandwiches at a place called a deli back in the 1960s in Baton Rouge, LA. The Reuben also won a prize in a national sandwich contest in 1956. Not sure why you never heard of them before the 1980s. They were certainly around.

                                  Here's a link you might find interesting.

                                  1. re: decolady
                                    opinionatedchef Oct 2, 2010 02:36 PM

                                    great research work there. thnx much!

                                    p.s. i vote for the WOMAN in nebraska(hrumphhhh, men always claiming the fame....!)
                                    wouldn't that just be too funny if it were her? and in nebraska???! what did NOT get was the nyc Reuben fellow describing his sandwich that is not what we call a reuben.....?

                                  2. re: StriperGuy
                                    foreverhungry Oct 4, 2010 10:28 AM

                                    I grew up in Bergen County, and had been eating Reubens at one of those "suburban crappy pseudo delis" since the 70's. And I enjoyed them very much.

                                2. Passadumkeg Sep 15, 2010 06:58 PM

                                  Don't be a putz bout the ruben, gimme a pickled herring in sour cream on rye!

                                  1. thew Sep 16, 2010 05:15 PM

                                    how about if one adds good swiss cheese to good corned beef?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: thew
                                      Veggo Sep 16, 2010 05:31 PM

                                      So long as both are at room temp or just slightly warmed, you are on to a good thing.

                                      1. re: thew
                                        Perilagu Khan Sep 17, 2010 08:13 AM

                                        Actually, I'm all in favor of good Swiss on both corned beef and pastrami; it's the accursed Russian/Thousand Island dressing I cannot abide.

                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                          mamachef Sep 17, 2010 08:29 AM

                                          I like corned beef and pastrami with horseradish mustard and whatever jus they have (beef is fine with me...) for dipping. Nomnom.

                                      2. FastTalkingHighTrousers Sep 17, 2010 09:18 PM

                                        Man ...this thread really makes me want a reuben. Thanks, teezeetoo!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: FastTalkingHighTrousers
                                          Aravisea Oct 4, 2010 07:16 AM


                                        2. pikawicca Sep 18, 2010 05:58 PM

                                          Good bread, good meat, good cheese, good sauce. Lots of wiggle room here. I've had many great very different renditions.

                                          1. GraydonCarter Sep 18, 2010 06:19 PM

                                            I figured this out when I went to Manhattan Kosher Restaurant in Montvale, and saw that they didn't even have the Reuben on the menu.

                                            Manhattan Kosher Restaurant
                                            26 Chestnut Ridge Rd # B, Montvale, NJ

                                            1. r
                                              ratbuddy Sep 20, 2010 04:17 PM

                                              Give me a good reuben over one of those stupid overstuffed just-meat sandwiches any day.

                                              1. Veggo Oct 4, 2010 08:22 AM

                                                Reubens are not exactly diet food, and with apologies perhaps for the phonetic similarity to Peter Paul Rubens who painted large "Rubenesque" women, does anyone know how the reuben got its name?

                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                  Servorg Oct 4, 2010 08:28 AM

                                                  If you can believe the www: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodsandwiches.html#reuben and more here: http://www.rowlandweb.com/reuben/hist...

                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                    Veggo Oct 4, 2010 08:36 AM

                                                    Hysterical! Whoda thought Nebraska staked a claim! So glad I asked, you brightened my day.

                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                      Servorg Oct 4, 2010 08:42 AM

                                                      Nebraska has so little and NY has so much (in the way of food) that I'm pulling for those flyover guys and gals to come out on top!

                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                        bbqboy Oct 13, 2010 07:55 AM

                                                        I know NYC fancies itself as the center of all things Jewish, but some do live in other parts of the country.
                                                        My wife's Grandparents made it from Prussia to NYC to Des Moines to Omaha and were all members of that very same temple.
                                                        Clothiers & Butchers. :)

                                                        1. re: bbqboy
                                                          Perilagu Khan Oct 13, 2010 08:13 AM

                                                          Correction: NYC fancies itself the center of all things. ;)

                                                  2. re: Veggo
                                                    phantomdoc Oct 4, 2010 11:26 AM

                                                    I did not know that Pee-Wee Herman was a painter. I like the sandwich!

                                                    1. re: phantomdoc
                                                      MattInNJ Oct 4, 2010 11:37 AM

                                                      Of course he is a painter! Who do you think did the awesome paint job on his bike?

                                                      1. re: MattInNJ
                                                        phantomdoc Oct 6, 2010 01:48 PM

                                                        He should have painted the sandwich on his bike. Could've kept him out of trouble at the theater. He might have had a good time at the deli.

                                                        What is the difference between Russian dressing and Thousand Island?

                                                        1. re: phantomdoc
                                                          MattInNJ Oct 13, 2010 08:34 AM

                                                          Thousand Island, a variant of Russian dressing, was invented in the first decades of the 20th century by Sophia LaLonde. LaLonde substituted mayonnaise for the yogurt used in Russian dressing, and added pickle relish, chives and sometimes chopped, hard-boiled eggs.


                                                          1. re: MattInNJ
                                                            phantomdoc Oct 13, 2010 02:10 PM

                                                            Thanks. My mom always mixed Hellmanns and Heinz and called it Russian.

                                                            I made up my own rationale that there was anti soviet feelings and the islands in between Alaska and Russia might be the thousand islands. I have learned something new today.

                                                            BTW Matt
                                                            Are you near Neptune NJ? One of the finest and fattest Reuben sandwiches of my misspent youth was at Kellys. The large Reuben came on an 8" x 12" oval plate. And you couldn't see the plate.


                                                            1. re: phantomdoc
                                                              Jenny Ondioline Oct 13, 2010 03:22 PM

                                                              You were surprisingly close, just in the wrong part of the world: the Thousand Islands are in the St. Lawrence River between Ontario and New York.

                                                              1. re: phantomdoc
                                                                MattInNJ Oct 14, 2010 11:41 AM

                                                                I am in Union County, so a bit north of Neptune, but I do goto Kellys a few times every summer. I will be sure to try the reuben down there. Thnx for the rec.!

                                                                1. re: MattInNJ
                                                                  phantomdoc Oct 14, 2010 01:00 PM

                                                                  My memories are from the 1970's. I was a soundman in a rock band from Long Island that played many nights in the clubs of Asbury Park. Perfect meal after setting up a few tons of equipment. Please report back. The mini Reuben is the same ingredients, but a lot smaller.

                                                    2. gaffk Oct 4, 2010 12:23 PM

                                                      This thread made me laugh. A few weeks ago I took my mom to lunch at a Jewish deli in the Philadelphia area (we are not Jewish--just deli fans). Mom got a reuben and, about 1/2 through it, remarked how unusual it was that a sandwich combining dairy and meat is considered a standard at Jewish delis.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: gaffk
                                                        Servorg Oct 4, 2010 12:28 PM

                                                        There are a LOT of Jews who don't keep kosher.

                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                          gaffk Oct 4, 2010 12:32 PM

                                                          Understood--in fact more do not than do (except, of course, on high holy days). It just struck me as funny that shortly after my mom made the observation, this rant appeared.

                                                      2. opinionatedchef Oct 12, 2010 12:39 AM

                                                        For those posters who do love reubens and who are lucky enough to live in MA or NH, When Pigs Fly Breads makes an outstanding Russian Sauerkraut Rye, very moist and dark ,with very deep rich flavor. I am completely addicted. They are based in Kittery ME and have stores in Somerville MA and Portsmouth NH. I don't know if they do mailorder.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                          BobB Oct 12, 2010 09:38 AM

                                                          They have a store in Coolidge Corner, Brookline also.

                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                            ciclista Oct 13, 2010 10:50 AM

                                                            Yes, When Pigs Fly certainly does mail order. You buy it par-baked and bake it off yourself. Delicious.

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