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I live in CAmbridge, up near Porter Square.
I am looking for the best Reuben sandwich near where I live, but if that wont do it, the best Reuben
nearby by car. Brookline will do.


corned beef
swiss cheese
salad dressing (ranch?)

on rye, preferably dark rye

Now, the question of grilling: I like the WHOLE REUBEN grilled, like a grilled cheese is grilled.

I have tried the S&S, the bottom bread slice was soggy. Usually I love the S&S.

Please help! Where do YOU go for a really tasty Reuben?

sweetfern :)

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  1. Honestly? Home. Lame answer, I know. But once you've assembled the components, it's straightforward to make if you've got a George Foreman or even two hot cast iron pans. The bread and pastrami keep approximately forever in the freezer, and the sauerkraut, dressing, and cheese will stay good in the fridge for about as long. I usually get a cook-it-yourself, precured brisket (e.g., Old Neighborhood or Freirich) for the corned beef and just use supermarket rye, but you could step up to Clear Flour's deli rye. The home-cooking solves the soggy, greasy bread problem and allows me to load up on the kraut.

    Has anyone tried the Reuben from City Slicker? Their Cuban is good...

    1. Sam LaGrassa's. Take the red line.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Luther

        Michael's Deli, Coolidge Corner (uses pumpernickel and can be grouchy but he also uses prime quality meat) - I've never tried it (sorry, but I consider it a horrible combination) but my dearly beloved has indulged.

        1. re: teezeetoo

          Micheal's Deli used to be outstanding. My wife and I went there the other day and the sandwich was way below usual quality. (small and thrown together) Add this to the usual bad service and extra dollar for splitting my own sandwich not to mention 20 min wait. I felt i got the tourist treatment in a big way. My only comment is times they are a changing. They are off the list in a big way. (reading there own press clippings I suspect)

          1. re: francod47

            Their sandwich size has definitely shrunk in recent times, but the quality is still up there in my opinion. I rarely eat there though, I generally buy a quantity of corned beef, take it home, warm some up and eat it on Clear Flour rye, which is far better bread than Michael uses. Plus I can make the sandwich as big as I like.

            1. re: BobB

              Well played Bob, they can't keep a good foodie down.

        2. re: Luther

          I agree. LaGrassa is your best bet

          1. I know it's not in the vicinity, but if you're out Sturbridge way, go to BT's and have a brisket reuben. It is a straight shot to heaven!

            1. This is an easy one: Dave's Fresh Pasta in Davis Square.

              1. It's Russian dressing or thousand island. I've enjoyed it at Dave's and at All Star sandwich bar. That was a while ago so not sure its still on the menu. The Cuban Reuben at Highland Kitchen also incorporates ham and a spicy Russianish dressing.

                3 Replies
                1. re: yumyum

                  You guys are great! I will start at Dave's in Davis Square and move outward. AND I will try to grill
                  it, when I get a grill. I've been resisting.

                  I enter seventh heaven when eating a Reuben. Now--any special drink to go with it? Recommendations?


                  1. re: sweetfern

                    Michael's Deli and Sam LaGrassa's are both good suggestions. Barry's Deli in Newton and Rubin's also make good hot corned beef sandwiches with sauerkraut; Rubin's is expensive, because it's kosher, but I've been impressed with their corned beef. Obviously no cheese on their meat sandwiches. I love a Ruben with a good cream soda or root beer. Dr. Brown's is a decent cream soda. Tower Root Beer is one of the best local root beers. Boylan's Creamy Red Birch Beer goes nicely with a Ruben too!

                    1. re: sweetfern

                      fern, dave's sandwiches are so impressive. great iggy's bread, real quality ingredients (many in-house produced meats etc)and HUGE. Frankly I have never had a reuben there(though i love reubens) because we always get their perfect , also grilled, Cuban sandwiches (hope you'll try one there some time.)

                  2. Zaftigs has a really good reuben. They have a new location in Natick with free and convenient parking. While it's about a 30 minute drive there is a lot to do up there like jordan's IMAX or the many many shops and malls. Their bread is crispy and sandwich is piled high with great corned beef. I could not finish the plate last time I went there. Great potato salad on the side. They also serve complimentary bagel chips with this awesome and addictive liver cream cheese. I am getting a reuben craving as I write this. They also have a location in Brookline which I have not been to.

                    6 Replies
                      1. re: AaronInBoston

                        <addictive liver cream cheese>

                        Is that like a creamy chopped liver or pate?

                        1. re: viperlush

                          It's cream cheese with tiny tiny bits of liver mixed in, it gives the cream cheese a unique flavor. If I remember correctly it's whipped which makes it easy to dip your bagel chips into.

                          1. re: AaronInBoston

                            That sounds amazing! I live near the Brookline Zaftig's but rarely set foot in it since Michael's is only a block away. But now you've given me a reason to check it out - they definitely were not serving that stuff the last time I ate there (which was probably at least five years ago).

                            1. re: BobB

                              I have only been to the natick location, I would call and check with the brookline location to make sure they do that, or maybe check recent yelp reviews? Recent yelp reviews say they serve bagel chips w/ herb cream cheese. Maybe they just don't know what it is inside? I would call and check, the waitress we had the first time in Natick said liver cream cheese.

                              1. re: AaronInBoston

                                Aaron - I saw your post last night as was very thrown as I had eaten the cream cheese at the CC location many times and never thought it could/would be liver! I called to check and they indeed serve herb cream cheese so maybe liver is only in the Natick location?

                      2. brothers in wakefield center has a great rubin.

                        1. Two respectable pub-style Reubens I've had recently: Emmet's Irish Pub on Beacon Hill, and J.J. Foley's Cafe in the South End. Surprisingly good quality, thick-cut corned beef. And yes, that should be Russian (sometimes Thousand Island) dressing on there, if you're going traditional.


                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            OK, tonight it's Dave's in Davis Square.

                            Then it's Sam Lagrassa's, the Red Line/Porter Square is close by.
                            A friend suggested Cardullo's in HSq., so maybe I'll hit that this weekend.

                            Likely I like Reubens.
                            I'll keep you guys posted.


                            1. re: sweetfern

                              I happen to be a big fan of LaGrassa's both CB and Pastrami. They're also the closest to where I live and wor. I liked Michael's CB too..but I can't enter an argument about whose is "best"

                              Keep in mind that LaGrassa's is only open M-F from 11AM to maybe 3PM.

                          2. OMG I can't believe I forgot to also mention Olde Magoun's Saloon in Magoun Square. I am pretty sure that their reuben is one of the best (and biggest!) around...that and of course, Dave's Fresh pasta's which I already previously mentioned.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: food_lubber

                              Dave's Fresh Pasta = excellent, Pemberton Farms = excellent.

                              I'm gaining weight, oddly enough.

                              Got some more places to go, I'll report back.


                              1. re: sweetfern

                                thanks for the update! keep plugging away, you can get through all of the recommendations, I just know it!

                                1. re: food_lubber

                                  we're all rooting for you! and we likely will be following your lead!

                              2. re: food_lubber

                                Agreed, though I'm a heretic who orders sans dressing, whichever it is.

                                1. re: food_lubber

                                  Right on, the Ruben is what you are looking for the day after a big night out.

                                2. Bleacher Bar in Fenway-- excellent pastrami too

                                  1. The reuben at Formaggio is amazingly good. I think it's only available on the weekends. And obviously only available to go.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: Blumie

                                      EEK, I've fallen behind on this.
                                      I had a political meeting last night I had to go to.
                                      I also had a Reuben so bad I won't let the name of the deli out.

                                      Tonight I guess it's Cardullo's, tomorrow, Sam's.
                                      Did I report on Pemberton Farms? Marbled rye, grilled, succulent.

                                      Formaggio? OMG. Lunch?



                                      1. re: sweetfern

                                        you should tell us so no one else goes there

                                        1. re: Locutus

                                          or at least not order the Reuben there.

                                          1. re: Infomaniac

                                            I won't reveal it, some people are just looking for a quick sandwich to go and this will do it. The name hasn't been mentioned here.


                                            1. re: sweetfern

                                              I guess those political meeting are paying off.

                                        2. re: sweetfern

                                          sweetfern-as in comptonia? my fav scented native :-}

                                      2. Fressers deli in Randolph has the best Reuben I have ever had. It is a small takeout place right on Randolph Ave, and the food is unbelievable. My brother loves chopped chicken liver, and he swears by this place. As good as it gets.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: dmullin699

                                          The Seven's on Charles St. in Beacon Hill has a surpringly good reuben...

                                        2. Any old-timers remember Elsie's? Ghost of Cambridge Reubens Past.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Chef Bwana

                                            2 for you.

                                            1) Cardullo's = slightly squished (grilled) hot and tasty. If you are in the Square and have to have a Reuben, this will do fine.

                                            2) Formaggio = oh, dear. Unwrapped Reubens piled up to my left as I came in the door, right at
                                            sneeze level. Top light rye slice curled. I mentioned I was doing an informal Reuben survey....
                                            slightly defensive when I remarked that they were were pre-made: "People buy them."
                                            So I ordered, it was grilled, squashed very flat. Saturdays, only. It didn't look good when I unwrapped at home. Formaggio cost = $8.00, below the price of other places. Usually their stuff is higher than other places, but they have a fabulous location, near Brattle Street, and
                                            most of their customers will pay the higher prices for the convenience.

                                            1. re: sweetfern

                                              Yes, comptonia, whoever asked. NE native, like me.


                                              1. re: sweetfern

                                                twas me. my fav perfumed native plant. surprisingly picky as to habitat; have lost it many times.

                                                you talked about the look of the formaggio r; wasn't good eating either?
                                                Am v. much enjoying your hunt.

                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                  It was good eating, the look of it was very off-putting, so I would give it a B/B-. It stays in grad school at that level. Maybe I'm getting pickier. I wasn't impressed by the service or attitude. I'm looking for a medium high sandwich which is edible--you don't need to go on a diet,afterwards. The sauerkraut should be tasted, the dressing shouldn't ooze, the corned beef needs to look like corned beef not dog food. A sandwich with integrity & self-esteem--"The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life."

                                                  sweetfern--likes sun and crummy soil and granite-influenced subsoil. In rich soil it gets confused, my experience.



                                          2. Very fun thread. Thanks for sharing your search. Should have done pre- and post-cholesterol levels, though!

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: bear

                                              I drink very hot herbal tea with the Reubens, cuts right through all the sludge.


                                              1. re: sweetfern

                                                my father's opinion was that celery tonic was invented to circumvent the fat in corned beef and pastrami. Of course, he never had a Reuben: it's traife.

                                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                                  Celery tonic? Interesting. Yes, one of my observant friends think that the Reuben is....ah....
                                                  YECH! Is celery tonic served commercially, or do I make it?


                                                  1. re: sweetfern

                                                    I wish is was served commercially at more places. Doctor Brown's Cel-Ray is essentially a slightly celery flavored ginger ale variant. I used to adore it as a 12 yo at Jack & Marion's in Brookline on a sunday with my parents, washing down a bagel with lox, cream cheese, red onion and tomato. I would think a Reuben sans Russian dressing could still be called a Reuben, and would be kosher? I would certainly rather have a Reuben sans dressing, than never having a Reuben at all! ;)

                                                    1. re: Chef Bwana

                                                      Any combination of meat and dairy products is non-kosher, so a kosher "Reuben" would have to be made without cheese.

                                                    2. re: sweetfern

                                                      I'm guessing you didn't grow up in NY. Dr Brown makes Cel Ray...celery flavored soda..ethnic thing..:)

                                                      Really enjoying your Reuben reports.

                                                      1. re: sweetfern

                                                        Alton Brown made a celery soda on his show.

                                                        Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...
                                                        Show segment: http://youtu.be/alU3oWQh8kk?t=14m47s

                                                        You can get celery seeds in quantity at Penzey's, Christina's, bulk bins at Harvest Coop, and probably Indian grocery stores.

                                                2. Surprisingly, Newcombe Farms on Randolph Ave in Milton had a very good Reuben on their menu several weeks ago. I didn't get it because I've never thought of the place as a "deli" and usually get my usual egg or turkey plates. I took a bit of my friend''s sandwich and was pleasantly surprised.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: catsmeow

                                                    The line between a very good Reuben and a not so good to bad Reuben is amazingly thin.
                                                    Thanks for the info!


                                                  2. Drive to your house, after picking up - Silver Floss sauerkraut, Ken's 1000 island dressing, good sliced swiss cheese, butter and good dark pumpernickel bread, the darker the better (think Russian), thin sliced deli corned beef (from the round or brisket), and a good cast-iron griddle. Heat the griddle to medium, oil w/ butter,grill corned beef till it starts to brown, remove. Grill sauerkraut until liquid evaporates and starts to caramelize, mix dressing w/ kraut on the grill, heat through remove. Clean griddle - grill bread w cheese on both slices. Lay the beef on 1 slice bread top w/ kraut mixture, top with the other slice of bread. If you do this correctly you will never search again?

                                                    1. Have you tried "The Irving" at Darwin's Ltd (Mt Auburn St or Cambridge St locations in Cambridge)? Granted it's over $8, but the hot pastrami, Swiss, Russian dressing, and coleslaw (a delicious scandal in its lack of Sauerkraut) make for a tasty Reuben that needs to be eaten quickly. Worth bracing the hipster attitude from many of its staff.

                                                      16 Replies
                                                      1. re: foodwinesong

                                                        Oh, and try it with their olive bread (only available on certain days).

                                                        1. re: foodwinesong

                                                          According to wikipedia, the coleslaw variant is usually called a Rachel and calls for pastrami vs. corned beef.

                                                          1. re: Chef Bwana

                                                            Ah, thanks. While the pastrami substitute is pretty common and often still gets the Reuben name at a lot of restaurants and delis, the cole slaw is more of an exception. At least Darwins gives it a different name. I thought it was still worth noting here. Does anyone have thoughts on the All-Star Sandwich Reuben? I wasn't blown away by it. On the other hand, the Mike and Patty's turkey reuben is mighty fine.

                                                            1. re: foodwinesong

                                                              fws, i can't remember why, but i also was not keen on the all star reuben. oh yes, i know why i can't remember. It's because i was focusing all my brain cells on remembering not to order it again.

                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                Wow, what a lot to reply to. Thanks for Darwin's info and thanks for the RECIPE!
                                                                I AM NOT A NEW YORKER (clever of you to notice!). I am NE Yankee + southern.
                                                                I am VERY BIG on cast iron pans, went nuts on those a year ago, got cast iron griddle.
                                                                I really love sauerkraut--I have a PA Swiss Mennonite thread in there. Got to follow
                                                                up with the celery drink. Ethnic? Which?


                                                                1. re: sweetfern

                                                                  you can buy Dr. Brown's Celray tonic at the Butcherie in Brookline (they make black cherry and cream soda as well) and I think of it as jewish ethnic but it may be eastern european.

                                                                  1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                    They sell it at Michael's Deli too - you can try one when you stop in for his Reuben.

                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                      OK, here it is: S&S Reuben is EXCELLENT. Plump, grillled on a flat (not ridged)
                                                                      grill, tidy (nothing spilling out), fine flavor. I slowly munched my way through it with a Dos Equis on the side and a Stephen L. Carter book to go with all. The type of grill matters. A FLAT GRILL needs to be oiled/buttered, whatever, while a ridged grill with a top that comes down and squishes the Reuben does not have any fat. I think this is the way it goes. One more Reuben to go! Sam LaGrassa's next week.

                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                        you can also get dr. brown's cel-ray soda at arthur's deli in chelsea. it's a great counterpart to their reuben

                                                                      2. re: teezeetoo

                                                                        tz2, this celray drink really intrigues me.is it very sweet, or not?

                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                          No, Cel-Ray is very crisp and fairly dry, not sweet.

                                                                          I'm amazed that there are so many people who've never heard of Cel-Ray! I thought it was at least as familiar around these parts as, say, Moxie. I mean, you can buy it at Star Market and stuff...

                                                                            1. re: galangatron

                                                                              meant to thank you for that info. Will try it next time i'm over in that area.

                                                                          1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                            they also make root beer in addition to cel-ray, cream soda, and black cherry

                                                                            1. re: galangatron

                                                                              OK, did San LaGrassa's.

                                                                              DARK RYE turns out to be a must, it gives lovely flavor.
                                                                              Quality of meat = excellent
                                                                              I did not specify sauerkraut, my error, so got coleslaw.
                                                                              Swiss cheese, I should have specified MELTED, did not.

                                                                              I went with a very politically savvy companion, so conversation topped food
                                                                              this time. I'm telling you this because my mind was not completely on the Reuben.

                                                                              Let me put it this way: When you are in Boston, between Park Street and the Old State House, go and get a Reuben at Sam LaGrassa's. SPECIFY exactly what you want and they will do it. This is the ONLY Reuben I tested which used dark rye.


                                                                              1. re: sweetfern

                                                                                I am surprised they used cole slaw and not sauerkraut. As previously mentioned a sandwich with cole slaw is not a reuben, but a rachel. They normally use sauerkraut, so I'm thinking they may have made a mistake on your sandwich. The pumpernickel they use is great (assuming it was this and not dark rye).

                                                                2. The salad dressing should be Russian dressing. Period.