The FAM FIVE Most Perfect Sandwich Styles in America, Part III: THE REUBEN

Welcome back to the FAM FIVE Most Perfect Sandwich Styles in America. Our last piece, explored the fine, Chicago-born beef behemoth known as Italian Beef. Today we extoll a shaved-beef beauty from America’s historically favorite immigrant/ethnic group to disparage, our Jewish-American brethren. Love them or hate them, they finagled a fantastic sandwich for our all American list…




The Jews cornered the markets of Jerusalem, the diamond stores of Switzerland, and the studios of Hollywood. In our opinion, they also nailed down one of the more wickedly delicious sandwiches the American deli ever produced.


Some say Omaha produced the first Reuben. No seriously, Omaha. Whatever… Others claim the sandwich originated in the food mecca of New York City. Regardless of if the original site, New York is where this sandwich exploded onto the scene and into greatness. New York delicatessens feature hundreds of all-tasty takes on the sandwich, and it spread around the country to other larger cities with a bit of Shalom. Chicago, Miami, LA, and Indianapolis even, you can find this MEATY sandwich everywhere.

The meat indeed is the feature ingredient of this sandwich. Cutting board corned beef, juicy and rich in that spiced flavor is piled on the Reuben, with sandwiches rightfully exceeding one pound. You can even get crazy, turn to a Pastrami Reuben, but just do it. The tradition is to stack it high, and a 16 dollar price tag is a steal considering how much beefy love you get at the most reputable places. It’s well worth the dollar value, as Moses would have wandered the desert for forty¬†more years to get manna like this delicious deli creation.

After the corned beef comes the slathering of the sweet mixture of condiments and toppings that gives the Reuben sandwich that ideal zing, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. The combination comes together on the beef for a soppy, stringy mess of greatness and explodes on the taste buds. When making them at home, it’s a treat to just spoon heaping masses of this gorp into your mouth. We do not recommend trying to do so at a deli.

Next, they add some Swiss cheese, and it presents a touch of melty, ripe flavor. Swiss cheese, like the meat and kraut, presents a strong flavor. That flavor barrage is the hallmark of the Reuben, the proverbial mushroom stamp on the forehead of the eater, that leaves one awe-struck and cross-eyed with joy.

Lastly is the bread, rye and sliced. Seeded or unseeded, dark, light or marbled, that is betwixt you and your deli. All kinds of rye proffer the perfect, strong complement to the corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss and dressing that adorn it. Side of chips and a pickle? Shit… quit kibitzing and let’s eat this gift from David’s Tribe.