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Best Reuben you've had in the Twin Cities?

Special Dish Jan 13, 2012 12:01 AM

I didn't really eat these sandwiches until fairly recently--and man--I was sure missing out all this time! Delicious! But I've only had the sandwich at Cecil's Deli on Cleveland Ave in Highland Park, and I have the distinct impression that place is overrated.

I think there must be better out there.

I'm looking for corned beef that is sliced thick (as opposed to shaved, as Cecil's does it), and MORE of it on the sandwich. The sauerkraut and cheese need to be there, and sauce should be Russian, though I think dijon might be better.

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    shoo bee doo RE: Special Dish Jan 13, 2012 04:00 AM

    The best I've had is at Kaladi's in Hudson, WI.

    1. h
      Haricotsv2 RE: Special Dish Jan 13, 2012 06:56 AM

      I grew up with Cecil's and love it. Especially the sour cream in the sauerkraut.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Haricotsv2
        SarahInMinneapolis RE: Haricotsv2 Jan 13, 2012 02:42 PM

        Ditto on Cecil's. I also lover their seriously old-fashioned potato salad.

      2. ibew292 RE: Special Dish Jan 13, 2012 07:02 AM

        I've had both great and only OK at Victory 44 thick cut meat comes with killer fries. Don't like the new slaw they are putting on it now, it is trying to be a uncured sauerkraut. I have not had it isn quite a while so it might have changed again.

        Victory 44
        2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

        3 Replies
        1. re: ibew292
          Special Dish RE: ibew292 Jan 13, 2012 03:38 PM

          Oooh, yes... I have heard great things of Victory 44. I must go there and try it out.

          1. re: ibew292
            Special Dish RE: ibew292 Jan 17, 2012 11:18 PM

            Wait... am I understanding what you wrote above correctly? They're putting slaw--coleslaw--on their reubens? Not sauerkraut?

            1. re: Special Dish
              ibew292 RE: Special Dish Jan 18, 2012 05:34 AM

              I have not had it in a long while. I stopped because it was more like a slaw than a sauerkraut and was hooked on their tasting menu. Wasn't bad just different. I don't know how the make it now. Anyone had one lately?

          2. splatgirl RE: Special Dish Jan 14, 2012 03:39 AM

            +1 in the Cecils is HIGHLY overrated camp. Bletch. I had the reuben there not long ago and decided that and everything else is nursing home food. Nothing about anything I ate was good and the reuben was almost inedible. The meat was like shoe leather.

            The Narrows out by Lake Mtka puts chunks of corned beef in their reuben, IIRC. It doesn't work for me because they serve it with some weird overtly mayo type of sauce vs. Russian or thousand island, but it's decent and so is their side of slaw should you choose that.
            You might try the Jake's chain as a closer alternative if you're not into the drive to Navarre.
            Champs used to make a decent reuben, but I haven't been there in several years. I think their meat was sliced.

            The best ones I've had I make at home, that way there's always enough kraut and they're good and sloppy with homemade thousand island dressing--extra for dipping please. It's all about the sour/salty/sweet contrast for me, and it's gotta be on decent/great rye which is getting harder and harder to find. I also do a reuben pizza from my wood-fired oven that is kinda killer.

            1. j
              justalex RE: Special Dish Jan 14, 2012 07:18 AM

              I've said it here before and I'll say it again - McGarry's Pub in Maple Plain is the place for great corned beef. It has a great fat to meat ratio which renders it juicy and tender. The Reuben comes with big hunks of it on grilled dark rye with sauerkraut, swiss and thousand island dressing. The bread holds up well to the kraut and dressing so it's not a big slopfest.

              The atmosphere at McGarry's is charming in an Irish Pub kind of way. We like to get a table by the fireplace in the bar area. It's a nice way to relax on a rainy or snowy Saturday afternoon.

              3 Replies
              1. re: justalex
                Special Dish RE: justalex Jan 16, 2012 01:05 AM

                Oh, that sounds very promising... but I just can't justify a 30 mile drive for a reuben sandwich! LOL

                1. re: justalex
                  Davydd RE: justalex Jan 17, 2012 06:56 AM

                  I can second McGarry's Pub for a lot of reasons.

                  1. re: Davydd
                    mifish RE: Davydd Feb 2, 2012 01:13 PM

                    I can also vouch for McGarry's. Mac's Industrial in NE Mpls. has a thick sliced Reuben but the problem is, at least the two times I went there, there was very little corned beef in the sandwich.

                2. s
                  ssioff RE: Special Dish Jan 14, 2012 07:23 AM

                  Cherokee Sirloin in West St. Paul. It is served open faced, but one of the better ones I've had.

                  1. s
                    suburban_mom RE: Special Dish Jan 14, 2012 06:43 PM

                    I am no reuben expert but I had an excellent one for lunch last spring at Bank in downtown Minneapolis. They made their own corned beef and it was unbelievably tasty. I usually don't eat a whole sandwich but I ate the whole thing because it was so good.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: suburban_mom
                      Fudist RE: suburban_mom Jan 15, 2012 09:59 PM

                      Skinner's hands down. Agree on Cecil's being overrated, overpriced nursing home food.

                      1. re: Fudist
                        SarahInMinneapolis RE: Fudist Jan 15, 2012 10:48 PM

                        I got lost on this thread. Where is Skinner's and why is their Reuben great? Never did think of Cecil's as nursing home food, by the way. Just good old-fashioned comfort food. But I am wanting to find a new Reuben!

                        Funny thing about this thread, though. NO mention of the new Rye in Mpls. With good reason.

                        1. re: SarahInMinneapolis
                          The Dairy Queen RE: SarahInMinneapolis Jan 16, 2012 03:47 AM

                          Skinners is on Randolph in St. Paul. I've only their Reuben once, and it was for take-out, but it didn't knock my socks off. Then again, I'm not much of a Reuben lover. I do recall thinking that it had a lot of meat on it.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                            Fudist RE: The Dairy Queen Jan 16, 2012 01:17 PM

                            Skinners Reuben has a ton of meat. But yeah I don't think I have ever had a sandwich anywhere that knocked my socks off.

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                              Special Dish RE: The Dairy Queen Jan 16, 2012 11:36 PM

                              It wouldn't even occur to me to get just food from Skinner's. The place seems like a bar, first and foremost, with food being very secondary. I might be wrong--is it the other way around?

                              1. re: Special Dish
                                BatMan RE: Special Dish Jan 17, 2012 10:33 AM

                                Skinner's is really 2 places in 1. The restaurant is almost always full of families eating pizza, fried chicken, reuben's...all if which is pretty good. The bar is, well, a bar. Once the dinner crowd is gone, the crowd gets a little suspect...

                                1. re: Special Dish
                                  The Dairy Queen RE: Special Dish Jan 17, 2012 01:54 PM

                                  Skinners is a good place to have in your neighborhood but I wouldn't drive across town for it. I happen to like their fried chicken and toast.


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                    Fudist RE: The Dairy Queen Jan 20, 2012 08:59 AM

                                    Agreed. I live in Mac Groveland so Skinners is pretty close and convenient. Everything I have had there is good but if I wasn't in the area I wouldn't make the trip.

                                    1. re: Fudist
                                      BigE RE: Fudist Jan 20, 2012 10:10 AM

                                      Maybe I didn't get a good batch, but the fried chicken at Skinner's really let me down. They obviously take their time and have pride in it, but the breading seemed very shake and bake to me and the meat quality just seemed poor. The flavor was not good.

                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                      mifish RE: The Dairy Queen Feb 2, 2012 01:16 PM

                                      I'm in Minnetonka so I did drive across town for it and I thought it was a good enough Reuben to back for. The problem with Skinners is the place is filthy.

                                      1. re: mifish
                                        The Dairy Queen RE: mifish Feb 3, 2012 12:16 AM

                                        Very true. It's really a dive.

                                        Really? You thought that sandwich was worth driving from Minnetonka for? Wow. What did you like about it? You're the second person in this thread to recommend it, but all we know about this sandwich so far is is that there's a ton of meat, (and that comment was from me, an admitted non-Reuben lover! ) Let's hear more details from someone who likes it, please!

                                        Kathie Jenkins at the Pioneer Press also recommends Skinner's Reuben, by the way.


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                          mifish RE: The Dairy Queen Feb 3, 2012 03:51 AM

                                          I had heard about Skinners and since I love Reubens I took a ride over. I've had Reubens in *almost* every place that serves them in town and too many of them are put together wrong. Some have no cheese, some have no dressing, some have too little corned beef, some used wet saurkraut, some come on ungrilled bread, some are on undergrilled (soggy) bread, some are revisionist. So my criteria is pretty basic: the sandwich has to be put together correctly and it has to be big and it has to be traditional. And by big I mean you have to pull some of the corned beef out and eat it separately in order to fit the sandwich in your mouth. Skinner's fit those criteria so I was happy. Plus it came with fries instead of chips! Sadly, this article appeared in the StarTrib about a week after I was there.

                                          I thought another very good Reuben was at Bunny's in St. Louis Park. Culver's sells a Reuben, too. It's not very good, but it's not bad in a pinch!

                                          1. re: mifish
                                            The Dairy Queen RE: mifish Feb 3, 2012 06:48 AM

                                            Thanks for spelling out your criteria.

                                            That strib link is rather disturbing. Surprised to see WA Frost on the list!


                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                        Seige RE: The Dairy Queen Feb 7, 2012 10:34 AM

                                        I'm sorry. This made me laugh. I don't think I've ever seen a toast recommendation before. LOL

                                        1. re: Seige
                                          The Dairy Queen RE: Seige Feb 7, 2012 10:40 AM

                                          Oh, well, also check out Mancinis and Obbs. For toast. ;-) Also, Hell's Kitchen. Not for the toast, but for the stuff you get to put on the toast.


                            2. Davydd RE: Special Dish Jan 17, 2012 06:54 AM

                              I suspect most of you are not old enough to have experienced the Reuben at the long closed Bernie's Deli in St. Louis Park. That one was the best in the Twin Cities by far.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Davydd
                                ibew292 RE: Davydd Jan 17, 2012 07:34 AM

                                So true. Why can we not have a place like that now? I was hoping that Rye would fit the bill but last time I was there it did not. Anyone had something good there? There parking lot has a lot of cars in it.

                                1. re: Davydd
                                  Special Dish RE: Davydd Jan 17, 2012 11:07 PM

                                  You're right, I'm probably not old enough to know about Bernie's. But I am old enough to remember the Lincoln Del that used to be on Excelsior, and the other location off 494 in Bloomington. I wonder if they used to have a good reuben? Seems like a place that would. I miss their borscht.

                                  1. re: Special Dish
                                    GutGrease RE: Special Dish Jan 18, 2012 07:00 AM

                                    The Lincoln Dels all closed a few years after I moved to the Twin Cities, probably around the mid-to-late 1990s. I had two friends who worked there and invited a crew of us there for one of the last nights. The chefs piled corn beef HIGH on a sandwich for me - I measured it from the bottom of my chin to my eyes. Unfortunately I didn't get an actual rueben but the sandwich was outstanding nonetheless. I wish that I'd have discovered that place sooner.

                                    1. re: GutGrease
                                      Special Dish RE: GutGrease Jan 18, 2012 04:19 PM

                                      Yes, I do remember the Del's TALL sandwiches. I think I also remember they were sliced into quarters, like club sandwiches typically are, with a long toothpick with that colored plastic frizzy on the end.

                                      I also remember seeing like 4-layer tall cakes in the bakery case.

                                      It was sort of an odd place. But the one on Excelsior used to be packed at lunch hour. I think I was last there back in 1998, probably a year or two before that whole block was leveled for the condominium/retail complex that currently houses Trader Joe's.

                                    2. re: Special Dish
                                      Davydd RE: Special Dish Jan 19, 2012 04:59 PM

                                      The original Lincoln Del was on Lake Street (where it forks off from Highway 7) just a block east of Bernie's. They had a good Reuben as well but Bernie's Reuben and their onion rings were better. Bernie's was an absolute old Jewish delicatessen classic. Lincoln Del was more hip and modern. They built another Lincoln Del on the southwest quadrant of Highway 12 (now I-394) and Highway 100 and a third in Bloomington. All are gone sad to say. Having both Lincoln Del and Bernie's just a few blocks of my home was Heaven especially for the pastries. Everything today in the Twin Cities is a shadow of those two. Any young restaurateur would not know how to recreate them as they would have no way of measuring and comparing. BTW, I have New York friends who feel much the same about Jewish delicatessens in NYC as well.

                                  2. s
                                    SkaTmon RE: Special Dish Jan 17, 2012 11:16 AM

                                    You should try Mac's Industrial's version of the Reuben. It is the best I have had in the TC - chunks (as opposed to sliced) corned beef, just the right proportions of meat/cheese/kraut and grilled bread that is not greasy. The Victory 44 version was once a close second, but the last few times I had it was not good - the flavors were off and it was cooked on a panini press. If you go to Mac's and like spicy onion rings, get the Rings of Fire - ultra thin onions lightly battered and fried. Spicy, salty, oniony goodness.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: SkaTmon
                                      Special Dish RE: SkaTmon Jan 17, 2012 11:13 PM

                                      Had to look up Mac's Industrial. Looks like it's at 312 Central Ave SE, so that is definitely nice and close. They describe their reuben thusly: "Slow roasted pulled corned beef, topped with sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese on grilled marble rye bread. 'Voted Best Reuben in Town' by everyone who isn't an idiot. $9.50." Might have to stop in there.

                                      1. re: Special Dish
                                        GutGrease RE: Special Dish Jan 18, 2012 06:58 AM

                                        Mac's Industrial used to be across the street before they built the monster Lunds/hi-rise building. It was MacNamera's. They used to have great mushroom & swiss burgers. I've only been to Mac's Industrial once since they took over the bar/restaurant that used to be there. It was good, so I wouldn't doubt that they have a good rueben too.

                                        1. re: Special Dish
                                          soupkitten RE: Special Dish Jan 19, 2012 02:59 PM

                                          LOL. iirc that menu description refers to a city pages "best of" feature on reubens, where the popular consensus was that mac's was the best, or among the best, reuben in town-- but the critic, rachel hutton, chose to go w another establishment's reuben, and her reasoning came down to something like there was too much meat on the sandwich at mac's, and a sandwich should have more bread than meat, or something. didn't we talk about this in an old thread? anybody?

                                          the reuben at mac's is very good imo.

                                        2. re: SkaTmon
                                          GutGrease RE: SkaTmon Jan 22, 2012 09:03 AM

                                          I finally stopped in at Mac's yesterday. It's been a while. I had their lunch reuben, which is a half sandwich plus one side. The reuben was tasty, and as advertised, surprisingly not greasy. I was impressed.

                                          1. re: GutGrease
                                            shoo bee doo RE: GutGrease Jan 26, 2012 05:41 PM

                                            I stopped by Macs this afternoon. Yes, it was definitely the most delicious Reuben i've had in a long time. I liked the rings of fire about a quarter of the way in and then I had to stop. They were far too salty. Don't get them unless you're drinking beer and are very hungry. But that Reuben. Yes.

                                        3. e
                                          erics667 RE: Special Dish Jan 17, 2012 12:34 PM

                                          My fave is the Black Forest Inn. Good amount of corned beef. Crispy grilled bread. Lots of sauce. Oh and a big a$$ Hacker Pschorr Dark on tap makes it a great meal.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: erics667
                                            Special Dish RE: erics667 Jan 17, 2012 11:14 PM

                                            Excellent suggestion, thanks. I haven't been to Black Forest "Inn ages". LOL

                                          2. k
                                            keithinmpls RE: Special Dish Jan 17, 2012 02:19 PM

                                            I haven't been there in years, but back in my grad student days I was a big fan of The Reuben at Stub & Herb's in Stadium Village. House cured corned beef, nice and fatty (but not overly so), and nice potent rye bread. Anyone had that one recently?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: keithinmpls
                                              Special Dish RE: keithinmpls Jan 17, 2012 11:16 PM

                                              I have never been to Stub & Herbs ever. Something always turned me off about the place for some reason. Probably not really fair.

                                            2. b
                                              BigE RE: Special Dish Jan 19, 2012 07:43 AM

                                              Anyone had the version at Key's? I went to the WBL location Tuesday for lunch and one of my co-workers raved about the reuben. It was on the thick cut (1/4" or slightly larger) side and the meat looked quite good.

                                              1. danionavenue RE: Special Dish Jan 19, 2012 08:33 AM

                                                Crossroads has the best one and I always get a cup of their Matzo Ball Soup instead of fries... so so good!

                                                1. c
                                                  Choptiludrop RE: Special Dish Jan 22, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                  Tonka gal from many moons ago...I remember going to Lincoln del in ST Louis park....still trying to find one in Houston

                                                  1. b
                                                    Bobannon RE: Special Dish Jan 24, 2012 07:49 AM

                                                    I don't eat Reubens but I had dinner with friends at Stanley's NE a few weekds ago and everyone agreed they serve an outstanding Reuben. They make a good pork chop too.


                                                    1. s
                                                      shoo bee doo RE: Special Dish Mar 12, 2012 08:22 AM

                                                      I had a wonderful reuben yesterday at Gigi's in Minneapolis. Please note that this cafe will have a new name soon.

                                                      1. bob s RE: Special Dish Jan 13, 2014 09:23 AM

                                                        I've really enjoyed the Reuben at Wilde Roast the last few times I've had it. I had to take a look at their menu to check, and they describe the sandwich as having "special sauce" rather than Russian dressing, but I still like it.

                                                        1. GIAD RE: Special Dish Jan 24, 2014 07:28 PM

                                                          Merlins Rest 3601 E Lake St Mpls
                                                          I love Ruebens and this is the best ever.
                                                          The Neighborhood Cafe on Selby in St, Paul is a close second.
                                                          They both slow cook the corned beef and place it on the sandwich in chunks.

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