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Open face(d)

Been curious about the open face(d) sandwich in many places around the NY NJ Conn tri-state area. Burgers, sandwiches and the like.
The burger has the cheese on the bun, but it's easy to top and eat.
The sandwich, especially the Reuben in some places is soggy rye bread and a lot of very wet sauerkraut a few slices of corned beef/pastrami and some semi-melted swiss cheese. It's a knife and fork sandwich for sure. Not easy to close and eat like a sandwich between two slices of bread. But no indication of this is made on the menus and some menus with pictures show a sandwich not open face(d).

What are chowhounds opinions on the open face(d) sandwiches?
Like 'em? Not like 'em?

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    1. re: Gastronomos

      That isn't open faced.

      Open faced (to me) is the swch minus one piece of bread.

      1. re: JayL

        most "open face(d)" I've been served have two pieces of bread under the toppings.

        1. re: Gastronomos

          Well then...let's say it has no top...

          1. re: JayL

            if I asked for a "top" could I pick it up and eat it as a sandwich?

            1. re: Gastronomos

              I could care less about that.

              Most, if not all, open faced sandwiches I've ever seen are not meant to be picked up and eaten.

              1. re: JayL

                Agreed. At least in all the diner's in which I spent my mis-spent youth.

                1. re: JayL

                  which i believe many of us agreed with here. fork & knife doesn't make it any less a sandwich...hence the words open faced sandwich...but G. has other ideas.

                  makes life interesting not bothersome.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    " ...fork & knife doesn't make it any less a sandwich...hence the words open faced ........."

                    I feel, in the case of a Reuben, it does make for a lesser sandwich. Too often, the meat is dried out and/or the cheese is burnt or rubbery. A Reuben is a grilled sandwich requiring two pieces of bread, a top and a bottom. Anything else is not a Reuben.

                    1. re: grampart

                      Sounds like a lousy Reuben. I like Reuben open or closed and what comes to mind is a) finding a partner cause the sandwich is too big for one and b) getting a top notch Reuben or it's going back to the kitchen.

        2. re: Gastronomos

          That's a regular hamburger before the top of the bun is placed.

          1. re: c oliver

            "That's a regular hamburger before the top of the bun is placed."

            when does it become a cheeseburger?

            1. re: Gastronomos

              Sorry. It's a cheeseburger and you know that.

              1. re: c oliver

                not to be obtuse but the cheese is on the bun not the burger and if I were to add sliced tomato (if I bothered to order the "Deluxe") the cheese would then be on the tomato as well, still not the burger.

                Ok, that is being obtuse, but no more than some of the others here and their defenses, LOL!

        3. like them...it's usually something like the Rueben, as you described, which would be an absolute mess to pick up. Too big, too drippy, bread falling apart halfway thru. Plus, cutting the sandwich with knife/fork allows me to eat the parts I want to eat first, vs. the forced progression of a hand-held sandwich!

          5 Replies
          1. re: BeeZee

            BeeZee, you in jersey?

            also, I think my question was phrased wrong. it being too big and messy is the problem, but not stated or eluded to on the menu is a bigger problem. I ordered a sandwich that was not on the "hot open" sandwich column.

            do chowhounds like it when presented with an open face(d) sandwich when ordering something that in most places is served as a sandwich between two pieces of bread? the classic Reuben included.

            1. re: Gastronomos

              OK, reading through the progression of the thread, I now understand that you are disappointed if you see "sandwich" on the menu and are presented not with 2 pieces of bread enclosing a filling in a manner that allows you to pick it up in hand. gotcha.
              Yes, I'm a Jersey Girl...and I've gotten to the point that I'm surprised by a Rueben not served open-faced...but I agree that I do prefer the menu to differentiate, since it sets different expectations.

                  1. re: Gastronomos

                    Oops, it appears you missed this in replying to my questions.

                    " c oliver about 2 hours ago
                    Since you seem to experience this fairly often AND it bothers you, why not just ask "how do you serve that?" Then you can make the decision to order that or something else. Not rocket surgery :)"

            2. I'm from NJ but never thought of the open faced sandwich as just a Jersey thing...
              my husband and sons will eat an open faced hot turkey, hot ham and swiss cheese, hot pastrami sandwich with a side of slaw, pickle and fries at least once a week. on rye or dark russian bread.

              21 Replies
              1. re: HillJ

                it's not just a Jersey thing. I think that in Jersey and LI it's more common to find a diner that has a Reuben or some sandwich on the menu and it doesn't say "open face(d)". When one orders a sandwich such as the Reuben, and it comes to the table as not a sandwich but rather a knife and fork meal, I, for one, am not pleased. I ordered a sandwich as described on the menu.
                A "hot open face(d)" turkey or roast beef with gravy etc. is described as such on the menu. a cheeseburger is usually easy enough to assemble.

                do chowhounds find this satisfactory or are chowhounds indifferent when ordering a sandwich?

                1. re: Gastronomos

                  See now my experience on this is that an open faced sandwich (typically served hot) I expect to enjoy with a fork and knife because it's a warm meal and especially if a good deal of melted cheese is included over top. Open faced sandwiches don't really have a divide line between the two slices of bread and the cheese is melted over both sides like a blanket. A burger served open is so you can add condiments; this is a different thing, yes? A triple decker (cold sandwich; even with bacon) I usually need to pull apart to get my mouth around and decidedly turn it into a open faced sandwich of sorts. Tuna, egg & chicken salad sandwiches can be served open or closed.

                  I've found open faced sandwiches in NY, PA, DE and IL right off the top of my beanie.

                  And the one that throws me is an open faced sub sandwich.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    In most places around the US outside of Jersey style diners, a Reuben is a hot sandwich with hot corned beef/pastrami, hot sauerkraut, melted cheese and dressing - not open faced unless the menu says so.

                    Hot open sandwiches are great if desired and even greater if one knows that is what they ordered before the surprise...

                    hot open faced sub sandwiches are what I seem to get at all the pizzerias around here. so difficult to eat as well without the use of a knife and fork... or at least a fork to help empty it a bit before folding and eating...

                    1. re: Gastronomos

                      oh so its the not knowing how you will be presented with your sandwich (open or closed) that's the bugger? do you ask ahead of ordering? I can't say I do. Open or closed I'm digging in that sandwich!

                      1. re: HillJ

                        I don't ever ask or make 'special' requests. I order a sandwich in a place and I expect a sandwich. if it was described or labeled as 'open face(d)' I may order that if in the mood. if I order a reuben and it comes open face(d) and in such a sloppy way that I cannot close it to eat it like a sandwich, I would be less satisfied. but all's good. I was curious what chowhounds thought about the surprise. disappointed or not?

                        1. re: Gastronomos

                          Yeah, sometimes my brain is as slow as a Jersey snail, G.

                          1. re: Gastronomos

                            Since you seem to experience this fairly often AND it bothers you, why not just ask "how do you serve that?" Then you can make the decision to order that or something else. Not rocket surgery :)

                            1. re: c oliver

                              it's not rocket surgery. no.

                              it is open for preference and discussion.

                              I see those that like diners of the New Jersey style have defended these open face(d) sandwiches and won't budge on that.

                              I see that some see that if a person ordered a sandwich and it was served open faced, not being able to close the sandwich and eat it would be bothersome. Yes. A knife and fork will solve that problem of stuffing it into ones pie hole.

                              I am also of Greek heritage. My family is not in the diner business or any food business at all. But friends through the years own and have worked these places. I subsequently do not make special requests, ever, and I do not ask the surly waitperson questions. I order and usually suffer through it.

                              I do ask here what chowhounds think of these wet soggy "sandwiches" that are knife and fork meals but not describes as such on the menu.

                      2. re: HillJ

                        "A burger served open is so you can add condiments; this is a different thing, yes?"


                        1. re: Gastronomos

                          I often am served burgers open but assume it's for condiment application and the bun is then applied and it's eaten as a "sandwich"

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            you "assume"

                            does that mean that if it were not open you would not apply condiments?

                            1. re: Gastronomos

                              Are you saying you seriously eat your burger one side at a time if it shows up on the plate separately?

                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                I don't know what is done on the east coast. out west an open face sandwich means it is probably meant to be eaten that way and is probably covered in mashed potatoes and gravy.

                                Hamburgers in "better" establishments are almost always served with the top bun and main condiments on the side, as mentioned by others to allow people to add their own minor condiments such as mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish, etc. This does not 'imply' that the burger is to be eaten with a knife and fork. So in my mind at least it is a very different thing, yes. No assumption, it is common practice.

                            2. re: HillJ

                              "A burger served open is so you can add condiments; this is a different thing, yes?"


                              1. re: JayL

                                No, yes...okay...

                                I'm thinking, the only reason a burger would be served open is so the customer can add ketchup.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  it is That difficult to serve it closed and the customer could then Still add ketchup?

                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                    You are making a silly point.

                                    It's about presentation as well as "filling the plate".

                                    1. re: JayL

                                      Thank you! Exactly!

                                      I like the presentation of a burger in a basket of fries. Diner style.

                              2. re: HillJ

                                "open faced sub sandwich"

                                Awfully pretty

                                Jumbo shrimp

                                Adult male

                                Dry Martini

                                Comfortable bra

                                And, my personal favorite: French deodorant.

                          2. I don't think it's a Jersey thing, but I don't personally enjoy them as my idea of a sandwich usually includes picking up the item and biting into them but I know plenty of people who don't mind it.

                            btw that sandwich looks great!

                            1. I am generally not a fan of 'open-faced' sandwiches. When I order a sandwich, I want to pick it up to eat it.

                              When I was in my 20's, I went to a small town cafe and ordered a 'hot beef sandwich' and was surprised with what the waitress brought me. It was good, it just was not a sandwich.

                              1. Gastro, you ever been to Kelly's in Neptune for their Reuben? Get the pastrami, well done. I haven't been able to put down a whole one since I was a teenager, but if you can, I'll mail you a check for the cost of it. I assure you it is platinum compared to the silver sandwiches you showed us.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: MGZ

                                  I will put it on my list of places to try next time I'm in NJ, I promise!
                                  I'm usually a small plate eater that eats every two to three hours, but if I get the urge, a large sandwich can be a light snack...

                                  these pics are just pulled from the internet, generic whatever pics. I don't take pictures of my food usually.

                                  The usual small plate eating habit I have prompted me to ask about this open face(d) sandwich. I order a sandwich which I can eat easily and get served a large plate of sloppy wet bread and lots of stuff. Tasty? Yes. What I ordered as described on the menu? Usually no. It's also why I don't do sides (monkey dish or not) and I don't do "Deluxe" - fries and such. Just the sandwich please.
                                  Do all chowhounds have indifference to this issue or am I just eating a salad?

                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                    Go with the mini. I sometimes split even that smaller version with Mrs. Z. The full thing is immense. Here's a kinda cruddy picture. Keep in mind that plate is around a foot or more long.

                                    Edit - I should add that this one failed to be ordered well done so that mammouth amount of cheese doesn't have the brown, bubbly blisters that I so enjoy . . . .

                                2. To me, open faced sandwiches are PA, NJ, NY style diner food, usually hot turkey or beef with gravy. I like 'em, they're pretty good.
                                  The only time open faced really bothers me is in Europe when they come in Scandinavian smorrebrod form and they're piled pretty high with toppings. There's no way to eat these things gracefully, and I really just want the other freakin' piece of bread!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: alliegator

                                    oh allie - l loved those! in Prague particularly. like large canapes....

                                  2. Most sandwiches in Germany are open-faced.

                                    Here are some fab sammiches I've had in the 'dam (smoked rib-eye & a BLAT).

                                    9 Replies
                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                        They were. But you had to use silverware to eat 'em.

                                        1. re: linguafood

                                          did you know that before you ordered it???

                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                            Oh yeah, man. I mean, I could see them on the other tables, so.... yep.

                                          2. re: linguafood

                                            look great, but not what an American would call a sandwich. Of course you weren't in America.

                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                              Right. These were called brootjes, being that their Dutch '-)

                                              In Germany, it's the good ol' Butterbrot: always open-faced --- never overloaded like most 'murrcan (or Danish, I guess) sammiches --- or Stulle.

                                              Actually, a Stulle can often also be a ... umm... closed sandwich?

                                        2. re: linguafood

                                          Those look like some really good eatin'! And that kind of European open faced, I'm totally down with.
                                          But the kind you get in Copenhagen, meant to be a handheld and towering with stuff means I'm going to be wearing it, hehe.

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            How could you not expect a knife & fork for that beauty? Even without knowing in advance, you'd dig in right?

                                            I don't mind the element of surprise, just bring lots of napkins and give me elbow room!

                                          2. Open faced Reuben sandwiches are like deep-dish pizzas. Possibly very tasty, but wrong.

                                            21 Replies
                                            1. re: grampart

                                              thanks. I think it's wrong or worse when I wasn't informed that it was open.

                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                Agreed, I would have returned it and pitched a hissy fit. Probably posted a rant about the whole ordeal on Facebook.

                                              2. re: grampart

                                                gramp, as much as I love and respect you as a 'hound, I gotta disagree. I mean the Jersey in me had me thinkin' that deep dish pizza was a cardinal sin, but after a week livin' in a Chicago hotel room, I learned of the beauty that it had. Kinda like a zaftig, Rubens' model.

                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                  the Only thing I can see wrong with a deep dish is calling it a pizza.

                                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                                    Gastro, if that kind, sweet, thick, lovely thing wants you to call her something, you indulge her. Otherwise, you're settlin, for a cold burger and fries from room service at nine.

                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                      true story.

                                                      I can tell you that in Greek Cuisine a "pita" is not just a flat bread. It is also a stuffed pizza of sorts. But the deep dish has no top, it is Open Face(d)
                                                      ...but a rose by any other name...

                                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                                        If she wants me to call her Rose . . . .

                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                            Besides in that situation, havin' no top just makes things easier in the long run.

                                                        1. re: Gastronomos

                                                          In my limited experience, pita just refers to the bread. If opened and filled, it's more likely a pita sandwich. When we were in Turkey it wasn't 'opened.' Just had the meats or whatever on it and then rolled to make it easier to eat. Like a doner. I think what you describe is the more recent tendency in the Western world.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            have you heard of or have seen or tasted "spanakopita"?

                                                            It's a "pita"

                                                            so is "tiropita", "hortopita", "kreatopita"

                                                            all are pitas and all are stuffed between sheets of dough and baked

                                                                1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                  Ah, okay, you edited your reply. That's cool. But glad you admit that a pita is not a pie.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Greek cuisine is a lot more than a pita sandwich

                                                                    1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                      Yep, just what I said. Thanks again for agreeing with me.

                                                    2. re: MGZ

                                                      Hey, I said it could be tasty. Just remember, it's a casserole reminiscent of pizza, but it's not pizza; and a Reuben is a grilled sandwich that requires 2 pieces of bread. Anything else is.......well, something else.

                                                  2. Personally, I despise messy food...wet ribs, dripping sauce, etc. If a traditionally "closed" sandwich is too full or messy, I'll grab the old knife and fork and damn the looks and comments.

                                                    1. grew up in northern jersey and have fond memories of open-faced roast beef sandwiches with gravy and mashed potatoes.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: wonderwoman

                                                        In my post on this thread I wrote about those. Diners in Minnesota (usually referred to as cafes) have hot beef, hot pork, and hot turkery sandwiches that are as you described although sometimes they are called 'commercials'.

                                                        Even though they are called sandwiches, I don't think of them that way. I don't even think of them as an 'open-faced' sandwich. It meat and gravy on a piece of, usually white, bread.

                                                        1. re: wonderwoman

                                                          hot open roast beef over white bread topped with brown gravy. mashed potatoes on the side (preferably on the same plate and not a monkey dish) in some places and fries in others. really a great thing to enjoy indeed!

                                                          It is also always listed under the "Hot Open Sandwiches" column

                                                            1. I know exactly what you mean and I agree. A Reuben must be grilled and eaten closed so you get the crunch of the bread. When it's served open and piled high and wet and messy, it's a disappointment if you don't know about it beforehand. I love the Carnegie but their Reuben isn't my favorite for that reason.

                                                              I now always ask beforehand when I am in the NE.

                                                              1. When I think "open face" I am thinking a Kentucky Hot Brown
                                                                or Eggs Bendict...Knife and fork one piece of bread on the bottom..love
                                                                monster sandwiches that are splayed in two pieces on plate as if you are supouse to place the halves together then cut them ? not a fan

                                                                15 Replies
                                                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                  When you think of a Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich it doesn't look like the picture here:

                                                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                    goodness no,

                                                                    it is open face and the bacon criscrosses over the top and it is all bubbly

                                                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                        Ahhuuuu Yummmm Yessss! that is what I know as a Kentucky Hot Brown. My dad makes them for breakfast on derby day. We always have a big party...and these are the calm before the crazy starts.

                                                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                          so the Kentucky Hot Open Brown is described or known as an open sandwich.

                                                                          btw, I never thought of eggs benedict as a sandwich at all, ever.

                                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                            really? why is that? Because of it being a breakfast thing? Or the englishmuffin? I think bread..I think sandwhich. Too broad in my thinking?

                                                                            1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                              if I ordered poached eggs with ham or Canadian bacon, around these parts it would come with choice of toast. English muffin is often a choice. I could assemble a sandwich I guess, but why? I certainly don't order poached eggs well done...

                                                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                ohhhh so to you a sandwich should be able to be picked up and eaten with the hands iregardless if it is "open face" ?

                                                                                to me "open face" sandwich means it is meant to be eaten with a fork and knife ... so the poached egg would still be poached..welsh rarebit.. chipbeef on toast..

                                                                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                  i'd love to try and eat a chipped beef on toast or even a Chicken a la King typically served on toast as a sandwich !

                                                                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                    lol seeeee that is because it is an open face knife and fork sandwich( ok i knoooow that one is pushin' it) but you see what i mean.

                                                                  2. re: girloftheworld

                                                                    In late August of 2001, shortly before the World changed, I appeared before a Federal Court judge in Louisvillle. He denied a motion that I had made and that he had no legal reason to do. The hearing ended around half past noon.

                                                                    I go out front to smoke a Camel and call back to my firm.





                                                                    The judge comes out, in a sweatsuit. He turns to me, "You smoke?"

                                                                    "You drove me to it this mornin'?

                                                                    "We both know that I'm gonna be reversed when you fancy bastards appeal."


                                                                    "You ever have a 'Hot Brown', young fella?"

                                                                    Now, even in those days, I was enough of a 'hound to know he wasn't proposisionin' me.

                                                                    The old man took me to the Brown. Said somethin' to the cute girl who came by. We shared a gigantic pitcher of martinis, a Hot Brown each, and he told his driver take me to the airport. No check ever came.

                                                                    "Thank you, Your Honor."

                                                                    "My pleasure, young fella."

                                                                    "That was an awesome sandwich!"

                                                                    "I know."

                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                        Nah, blogs are self indulgent. Here, I get to interact with all these beautiful, terrific 'hounds. I'm sure you, lingua, understand, my wonderful, thoughtful, and appreciative friend.

                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                          By the way, in all honesty, I got a bottle of unmarked bourbon at my office about fourteen months after that lunch. There was a note with it. It read: "II'm sorry, young fellla. I had to do my job."

                                                                    1. I definitely think if a sandwich is open-faced it should say on the menu. Totally different experience.

                                                                      67 Replies
                                                                      1. re: fara

                                                                        see this is where Gastron. kinda confused me..menus DO say it. the menu not only reads open faced sandwiches, there are typically photos on the menu as well. So the unexpected (if you don't bother to ask your waiter/waitress) is rare in my experience.

                                                                        and thinking of an eggs benedict as a sandwich would fall under an open faced breakfast sandwich, yes?

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          I also have never been served an open faced swch that wasn't listed as such on the menu.

                                                                          I suppose we're lucky? LoL

                                                                          1. re: JayL

                                                                            true! lucky and didn't even know it! :)

                                                                            1. re: JayL

                                                                              In all of the small town cafes I have eaten in across Minnesota I do not recall the hot beef sandwiches (pork, turkey) being listed as open-faced. It is apparently thought of as general knowedge.

                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                Could you further explain "general knowledge" as in...if the sandwich is hot and topped with gravy, cheese or both customers can assume the sandwich will arrive open faced, fork & knife?

                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  see that is what I think is an "open face" sandwich an fork and knife sandwich.

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    I'm specifically referring to the Hot Beef Sanwich sometimes listed as Hot Beef Commercial. They also come in pork or turkey.

                                                                                    I just did an internet search and apparently using the term 'commercial' is a rural, farm country, Minnesota thing.

                                                                                    I really don't consider these dishes sandwiches no matter what they are called. For instance, I also don't consider a Kentucky Hot Brown a sandwich even though I've never had one, and don't recall ever seeing one on a menue.

                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                          some, like the Kentucky Hot Brown I'd call a 'made-to-order' casserole. just as it should be made in a diner.

                                                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                            Learned something new today, G. I have never heard of a 'made-to-order' casserole before (in a diner).

                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              neither have I. it's just what I would call it in response to your question. "made-to-order" is diner classic way of preparing nearly everything, save for the "blue plate special" or "specials of the day" which, traditionally were not 'made-to-order' but things like meatloaf and such...

                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                      please show me where any menu in the "NY NJ Conn tri-state area." states a reuben is served open face(d). Web site menu, photo of a menu. I'm SURE you'll find one, there are exceptions everywhere. The majority do not list a reuben on the hot open sandwich menu.

                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                          I know...it's NOT hard to disprove...but I'd love for Gastro to show us a menu where the reuben stands alone under sandwiches but arrives to the table as a hot open faced sandwich.

                                                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                            Gastro. I'm not entering into some sort of race to the finish line with you about the state of reuben's and their rightful place on the hot open faced sandwich rung. I can only share that your experience and mine are in fact very different. And, when it comes to how my meal arrives on the plate we also part ways on what pleases us. I'm looking for the fork, the knife, the pile of napkins at the ready, my cup of Joe and my meal companions conversation-nothing more.

                                                                                            The issue you have is your right. I'd still have lunch with you anytime. Just don't poke around my plate to make a point while we're eating :)

                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              yes. lunch soon. at a New Jersey diner for sure. But the conversation will inevitably be about the food.

                                                                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                Gastro, I'm not a one-note conversation my friend. I'd expect your A game on every topic!

                                                                                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                    Now the words "open faced" don't appear anywhere on that menu. Not egg bene., not hot sandwiches, not burgers, etc. so how would you approach this? Asking ahead of ordering how the meal would arrive; open or closed? Without photos and no reference to open faced style...

                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                      egg bene page two of that above menu. That menu is also somewhat different in person than on the website.

                                                                                                      if you scroll down on the link below you will see "hot Open Sandwiches" listed:


                                                                                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                        I gotta be honest, G. It's far more fun to eat these menu items then debate opened or closed!! Next week I'll be hunting down a hot open faced sandwich just to cap this interesting discussion on a high note. You made me hungry! I usually enjoy hot sandwiches in cooler weather....

                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                          yes. the cold weather blasts the past few weeks here on LI made me order a hot sandwich, and I got this mess again. So I asked if chowhounds like the fact that it is not listed as open and served open in such a way as to not be able to eat it as a sandwich. Like I stated, the burger is served open as well, but at least I can close it and eat it as a sandwich.

                                                                                                          Happy eating!

                                                                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                        just to belabor the point, in such a place I once ordered a grilled chicken BLT and was served a Triple Decker Deluxe number 3. that was cut into 4 pieces making that a knife and fork ordeal as well. I learned to never order one of those again in one of these places. But the grilled chicken club sandwich at Johnny Rockets is a proper sandwich.

                                                                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                      How 'bout I meet you two at Kelly's. I'll buy?

                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                        i'm in!

                                                                                                        (and I already know, 'cause you told me, that the famous reuben is open face(d)! LOL! )

                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                            In October of '86, we played Asbury Park in a really tough game. Back and forth, all day long. We wound up winnin' on an interception run back.

                                                                                                            Afterwords, Mom invited me and my girlfriend to go to Kelly's with her and her husband. The girl and I got stoned, fooled around a bit, and met Mom in that barroom. That was the last time I could eat a whole Kelly's reuben by myself. My girlfriend watched, had a salad and some fries. We splitl up a week or so later.

                                                                                                            At this point, if I meet y'alll there, how 'bout we settle for a basket of fried mushrooms and one full, well done pastrami reuben to split?

                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                              I eat like a bird MGZ, a partner would be ideal.

                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                  Obviously we're not a match, huh.

                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                    Nah, but it doesn't make me appreciate you any less.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                      Can I have a double? This is really strong weed . . . .

                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                        methinks a drive off this island and down to jersey is in order...

                                                                                                                2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                  somehow methinks MGZ and I are too similar and HillJ and I are yogurt loving people that will get along just dandy in a three way... lunch at Kelly's.

                                                                                                                  MGZ, is that a mini or a full order? LOL!

                                                                                                                1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                  Oh My!! That looks friggin awesome! How about MGZ renew's his offer to meet buy us lunch there! Dam that looks good, and dam do I love Reuben. There is no greater sandwich sacrilege than a closed face Reben, people who serve those should be burned on a stake.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                    don't know why this pic is blurry. the pic looks clear on my phone. I don't usually take photos of my food, but this huge plate of food was...HUGE. What you don't see is the rye bread soaked in a lot of dressing. A LOT.


                                                                                                                    1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                      I ain't been seventeen for some time now. Half a pastrami, well done, is all this old stomach can handle these days. It is, however, the gold standard of open faced sandwiches to this day.

                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                        Don't worry get the whole, I'll finish your other half.

                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                          they do have a mini on the menu. it was offered first. I went for the big boy. I will know, most def. to order "well done" and "hold the dressing" next time. there will be a "next time" for sure.

                                                                                                                          it IS $15.99.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                            Gastro, you know the way I read this you just screwed me outta half a pastrami sandwich.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                              nah, Matts a good guy and he'll honor his Open Face(d) Corned Beef Reuben offer I'm sure.

                                                                                                                              Then again, I finished the whole thing in one sitting, sans the over soaked rye bread with way too much dressing...

                                                                                                                              (be sure to order it Matts way, *well done* ! ;-)

                                                                                                                              ...and the best way is to partake in a bit of his (or your) stash...


                                                                                                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                I may twist paper with you, Gastro, by I'm not sure I can afford to feed two hungry, thirsty Dinosaurs. Nonetheless, "Patience, Darlin', Patience" . . . .

                                                                                                                                Not long ago, I made an open-faced, pork roll reuben. The concept was ok, but I think I need to work on the execution a bit. Think about the potential though!

                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                  That was a pretty funny song and video.

                                                                                                                                  You would have to buy the entire pork roll and shave the slices thin I would imagine, no pre sliced would work I think. Traditional other ingredients or did you change that up as well? Sounds very interesting.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                    I had the guys at my local deli very thinly slice some Trenton Brand. I fried it up, en masse, and set it in a low oven to keep warm. At the same time, I made some saurkraut, the way I always do. I used the same toasted rye, Russian, and Swiss I traditionally would. Assemble. Broil.

                                                                                                                                    In retrospect, my thoughts would be to keep the rye, substitute a bunch of slowly browned onions for the cabbage, some ketchup/mustard/horseradish/whatever condiment for the dressing,* and either American cheese or some type of cheese combination for the Swiss. I remain open to ideas.

                                                                                                                                    *I think this is the lynchpin calculation/decision.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                      the slowly browned onions, Yes.
                                                                                                                                      The ketchup mustard or horseradishmustard mix with a stiff pinch of garlic salt as dressing. Pork Roll / Taylor ham... here it comes!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                    lookin' forward to a get together to spin something up...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gastronomos


                                                                                                                                      I'm kinda puttin' my fork down these days. Decided it's time to fly off, scale Mount Sharp, and see if I can hang glide the katabatic winds. YOLO, after all.

                                                                                                                                      I'll check back for a Kelly's run for twelve, my treat, in time (I should be down to stems and seeds by then and NASA has a return trip scheduled). In the meantime, keep fighting the good fight and tasting the good tastes. I've laid by the riverside and planted my weeping willow. Now, I need to roll for a spell.

                                                                                                                                      Fare you well . . . .

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                        Fare you well...
                                                                                                                                        All the birds that were singing are flown, except you alone.

                                                                                                                                        Going to leave this brokedown palace,
                                                                                                                                        On my hand and knees, I will roll, roll, roll.
                                                                                                                                        Make myself a bed in the waterside,
                                                                                                                                        In my time, I will roll, roll roll.

                                                                                                                                        If your journey from the Glenelg area is expected to take nine months to a year with stops along the way, please take pics of the central peak within Gale Crater.



                                                                                                                                        Robert P. Sharp

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                          Had a moment while waiting on the launch pad with the countdown stalled at forty-four. Thought I'd simply note:

                                                                                                                                          I try my best
                                                                                                                                          To be just like I am
                                                                                                                                          But everybody wants you
                                                                                                                                          To be just like them
                                                                                                                                          They say sing while you slave and I just get bored

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                            Ah, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                          I don't like the sound of this at all!!

                                                                                                                                          Don't think for a second you are going to pull some stunt and not feed this fat kid his open faced sandwich at Kelly's!! I'm going to keep watching the two of you.

                                                                                                                                          Whatever is going on my man, all the best.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                            I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' about half past dead
                                                                                                                                            I just need some place where I can lay my head
                                                                                                                                            "Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
                                                                                                                                            He just grinned and shook my hand, "no" was all he said

                                                                                                                                            Me, I'm not one to go down easy. I went at Miss Fanny with all my charms and power:

                                                                                                                                            I came in like a wrecking ball
                                                                                                                                            I never hit so hard in love
                                                                                                                                            All I wanted was to break your walls
                                                                                                                                            All you ever did was wreck me
                                                                                                                                            I came in like a wrecking ball
                                                                                                                                            Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
                                                                                                                                            Left me crouching in a blaze

                                                                                                                                            We subsequently negotiated a mutually agreeable deal. I gotta feed the dog, she'll wait for me on the other side until the day when the 'chute doesn't open . . . .

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                That has always been the point. The hat gets tlipped to honor the honorable, the smile gets shone at those who smile, and the soul gets exposed to those who sing along to their Wilson Pickett records.

                                                                                                                                                Edit: Oh, and fu*k any one who can't figure all this out!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                    Ah, little pup, you've earned hat tips, smiles, and exposed souls many times.

                                                                                                                                                    Somehow, I've gotta feeling that you realize that Amy Winehouse spoke with the voice of a food geek who believes it takes the limbs of trees he cut himself to make barbecue. And, that Scrumptious Seekers march to the untuned power that is Crazy Horse, if they should happen to roll less than perfect pasta. And, most importantly, Foodies look at Billboard charts and wind up downloading Taylor Swift songs.

                                                                                                                                                    If ever you despair, girl, remember, "You're a 'hound", in my book!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                        "[W]ho is Taylor Swift?"

                                                                                                                                                        Ask a "foodie". Maybe post the inquiry on Yelp?

                                                                                                                                                        * * *

                                                                                                                                                        Nevertheless, and only with your permission, I'll elaborate, upon the greater notions suggested, in my own "voice" and with my own approach.

                                                                                                                                                        * * *

                                                                                                                                                        The thing is, . . .* sometimes, . . . when the break is good at a local spot, . . . it attracts a lot of guys in wetsuits, with boards strapped to the top of some vessel, and who hail from other places. Now, . . . it's true, some swells will last for more than a few tide turns, so it's valid --** of 'em to show up. Most are solid and respectful. Brothers and Sisters.

                                                                                                                                                        The thing is, . . . there's this local tradition. And, . . . it's a local tradition in a lot of localities. -- Montauk, Manasquan, Sebastian Inlet, Tres Palmas, Rincon, Huntington, wherever. . . .

                                                                                                                                                        The thing is, whenever somebody just shows up, excited, asking about the surf., - - - some local, . . . whether borne out of possessive angst or tribute to tradition, will always answer, "Yeah, it's good, but [pause to spit], you shoulda been here yesterday."

                                                                                                                                                        The thing is, girl, -- sometimes, -- I think you shoulda "been here yesterday". . . .

                                                                                                                                                        More importantly, however, than the fireside chat, -- is the thing salty folks never like to mention when the sun comes back up. . . . The fact is that you can't do anything about yesterday, but you can revel in today, and have an impact upon tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                        *Please read these ellipses as though I'm just sitting back, inhalin' a drag, in front of the red coals and orange-blue flames of a mature fire. (Sorry for the "stage direction").

                                                                                                                                                        ** Please read these dashes as though I'm simply takin' a pull from an unlabeled, clear glass bottle, half full of some amber liquid. Moreover, recall the setting prescribed and the fact that the bottle seems to always stay in my hand. (again my apologies)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                          RE:Taylor swift - just messing with ya- somethings ya know whether ya want to or not.

                                                                                                                                                          The pandora box of growing up.

                                                                                                                                                          I like the "stage directions" very Hemingwaylike

                                                                                                                                                          If I see you hiding in the night by a peppercorn tree
                                                                                                                                                          the tree it moves ,lets me see what I wanna see
                                                                                                                                                          a poison gaze´f your mind is all that´s worrying me

                                                                                                                                                          The pictures that I see are seen by no one else but me
                                                                                                                                                          to cause the night to be in sight ,a little point of me
                                                                                                                                                          I imagine nearly anything I want to see

                                                                                                            2. I had never thought much about this issue until reading this thread.

                                                                                                              If you believe the story about the origins of the sandwich and the Earl of Sandwich, the point of the sandwich is to "sandwich" something between two pieces of bread so that you can eat it with your hands. No utensils required. In fact, no utensils allowed.

                                                                                                              An open face sandwich flies completely against the purpose of creating a sandwich. Its an oxymoron like MGZ points out.

                                                                                                              A piece of bread with something on top is the antecedent to the sandwich. Its the original trencher. Henceforth, if I want an open faced reuben or turkey sanwich, I shall order its as a trencher. ;)

                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                So is a taco or a quesadilla a sandwich?

                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                  Only if they are made with flour tortillas.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                    If I make a sandwich with corn bread is it a sandwich?

                                                                                                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                      I think it might be just weird. ; )

                                                                                                                2. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                  I don't think anyone said that the origins of sandwich history included open faced versions but they do exist in modern dining times. As do many other foods we enjoy that have a historical base.

                                                                                                                  If you love your sandwich a certain way-hey, good for you. But I live in the here & now and an open faced option has been on the menus of my youth to the present so I'm ordering one!

                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                    I'm with you HillJ!! I'm ordering one too!
                                                                                                                    A Hot Open Roast Beef that comes over white bread and plenty of brown gravy and mashed potatoes on the plate! DELISH! Right after I finish my Reuben sandwich between two slices of toasted rye and a schmear of mustard.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                        I'm not saying it doesn't taste good. Just that calling it a sandwich because there is bread is like calling a cocktail a "_____" martini because you serve it in a martini glass (but that's another thread).

                                                                                                                        1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                          Bkeats. I am with you 100%. Chicken a la King has toast under it on a plate and I ain't never heard of nobody calling it a sandwich. But, a sandwich, even when served open face(d) should / could be picked up like a sandwich and eaten as a sandwich. The knife and fork is optional.
                                                                                                                          I don't eat my candy bars with a knife and fork either, but that's another thread...

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                      BKeats, open sandwiches are great, if you know that is what's being offered. A reuben, for example, is a sandwich that, even if served open face(d) should be topped with condiments, mustard for me thanks, and closed and eaten as a sandwich. That is not what many diners of NY, NJ and the surrounding areas do and it's, well... open... for discussion...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                        Today, two more struck me:

                                                                                                                        Working vacation


                                                                                                                        Political science

                                                                                                                      2. I've never ordered or been served an open face sandwich like these nasty looking messes, and I grew up in NY and NJ.

                                                                                                                        The open face sandwiches I am familiar are in the European style. A delicate sandwich where the toppings are more important than the bread, and they are eaten out of hand. the toppings are not wet, and usually less than 1/2" total in thickness, and usually served on a thin slice of firm, tasty bread.


                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                          JMF, imagine trying to lift this wet mess up with your hands! And there is no gravy, just corned beef, too much wet coleslaw, and melted cheese product over two slices semi toasted, and now soggy, rye bead.
                                                                                                                          The web link you posted cites a court case 2006 and references, like I did in my OP, about the North East and continues to accept that two overlapping slices are indeed topped, making this a described and outlined discussion...

                                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                            I've never heard the word delicate used to describe an open faced sandwich.

                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                              I assume you have never been to Europe?

                                                                                                                              Well, maybe it's because I have European parents. But, I have never seen one of these messy massive so-called sandwiches. Then again, I rarely go to diners either.

                                                                                                                              In grammar school the few times I ate lunch in the cafeteria I saw they served crappy roast beef on gravy on a slice of white bread, but they never called it a sandwich. Just roast beef. I thought the bread was just there as cheap filler.

                                                                                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                I've been to Europe. I live in NJ. Grew up in and around NY and have eaten in my share of diners. So...

                                                                                                                                I've just never experienced/read such harsh criticism over the specific details of an American open faced sandwich before. This entire thread was a learning experience. But delicate open faced sandwiches doesn't exist in American diners. So my reaction to what you seek was based on what I've grown up understanding an open faced sandwich to be:

                                                                                                                                a large portioned sandwich platter, displayed open face to be eaten with a fork and knife. More times than not a hot meal, served with gravy or cheese or both. Diner food.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                  If you didn't eat lunch in the cafeteria, where DID you eat? Just curious.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                    All my Elementary schools when I was growing up were all a few blocks from home. Small, local, neighborhood schools. I went to three. First in Park Slope Brooklyn, then in suburbia NJ, then in Lower Westchester County in suburbia just outside NYC. All students were within walking distance of elementary schools back then, and kids as young as kindergarten were allowed to, no I should say expected to, walk to and from school alone.

                                                                                                                                    In Junior High I usually made my own food and brought to school. High School was within walking distance as well. So home for lunch or to one of the numerous deli's, pizza places, restaurants, etc. within a few blocks of the school.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                    At the schools I attended in Illinois, this mess of bread, potatoes, meat and gravy was called a Hot Roast Beef Sandwich. It was much more popular with the cafeteria workers than with the students, largely due to the "roast" beef and gravy both having come from cans. I was the kid who'd eat anything but I had problems with that.

                                                                                                                                  3. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                    then dont we cross over to canapes?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                      what's not to enjoy about a canape? sure!

                                                                                                                                2. the whole point is so you can take foods you would normally need a plate for and eat them with your hands.


                                                                                                                                  "In the court case in the United States of White City Shopping Ctr., LP v. PR Rests., LLC, 21 Mass. L. Rep. 565 (2006), ..."



                                                                                                                                  I Googled "Images" of "Reuben Sandwich". If interested, please do the same.

                                                                                                                                  as HILLJ argues below, NY, NJ and surrounding areas have many large diner/restaurants (some seating upwards of 500 people in 4 separate dining rooms and actually have 4 kitchens that work separately) that typically serve large platters of food with soup, salad, entrée, potato and vegetable, soft drink or wine and dessert and coffee or tea in one order.
                                                                                                                                  They have a column on their very long menu that describes "Open Face(d) Sandwiches" that usually include Roast Beef and Turkey as well as some other choices. The "Classic Rueben" is not typically, in these large diners, listed under "Open Face(d) Sandwiches" and is often listed separately as a "Classic" or "Special" sandwich. No menu describes the "Open Face" mess you will be served when ordering this two pounds of sauerkraut.
                                                                                                                                  BUT! many if not most patrons know this or are indifferent to it when they are served a very large plate of sauerkraut with a little corned beef/pastrami on it. And most are won over by anything that has melted cheese on it.

                                                                                                                                  I asked in my OP if any chowhound was as indifferent to not being able to pick up the sandwich and eat it.
                                                                                                                                  Google images shows Reuben sandwiches not open fac(d).

                                                                                                                                  1. I almost always take the top bun/bread slice off of every sandwich because I find almost all sandwiches to be too "bready". I want the filling, not the bread. (exception would be grilled patty melt)
                                                                                                                                    So, although I enjoyed reading this conversation for insight and knowlege purposes, I fall into the almost always open face preference, whether served that way or not.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                        I consider a closed face reuben to be blasphemous!!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                          But, if it isn't closed face, it ain't a Rueben!!!