No food empire is complete without the power of a real Jewish deli. A city needs at least part of the foundation to be paved with sour pickles, chopped liver, pastrami and tender, juicy corned beef. And Reubens. Everyone needs a Reueben sandwich in their lives. It’s science: Corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, some kind of Thousand Island dressing and pressed rye bread make for historically-perfect eating. Substituting pastrami for corned beef technically makes the sandwich a “Rachel,” a Reuben variation.
New York and L.A. have delis that will blow the socks clean off your feet. It’s tough competition, but Dallas is no cured meat slouch. These are the Reuben sandwiches that help make Dallas a food empire:
The Reuben at Kuby’s Sausage House
6601 Snider Plaza
Kuby’s is a modest world. While some restaurants’ Reubens will decimate your internal organs with buckets of mayo-based dressing, Kuby’s keeps things nice and humble. Ribbons of brined corned brisket, sheered as paper-thin as it gets, sit on top of sauerkraut that’s been cooked with white wine, caraway seeds and bacon. The rye gets a dry toast, a slice of Swiss and a little Russian dressing. Add a side of their unmistakably good potato salad and it’s like all the grandmas of the world are hugging you.
The New York Reuben at Cindi’s New York Deli
306 S. Houston St.; 11111 N. Central Expy.; 3565 Forest Lane; 7522 Campbell Rd; 2001 Midway Rd., Carrollton
Oh yes, this is the deli, like an arrow fired from old New York, plunking right in the center of your soul. At Cindi’s, you can practically feel the splash of New York water on your face from a sputtering cab. Chopped liver, toasted everything bagels with chive cream cheese and the medley of cured meat sandwiches will put tears on your face. The Reuben ($10.95), made simple and right and packed with sauerkraut and melted Swiss with Russian dressing on the side, dissolves the argument that Dallas doesn’t have a proper deli.
The Housemade Reuben at Knife
5300 E. Mockingbird Lane
You already know this, but Knife knows what it means to serve a proper sandwich. At lunchtime, Knife is not just a steakhouse. Iberico bacon-B.L.T., a Benton’s ham Cuban and a pastrami Reuben are stars. Knife’s Reuben arrives as the aforementioned “Rachel” variation, with in-house pastrami, cheese, classic sauerkraut and Knife's Russian dressing, which you’ll want to keep on your keychain.
The Reuben at Cock and Bull
6330 Gaston Ave.
Time is irrelevant at one of Dallas’ most interesting bars. There’s a jukebox, cold beer and bar food that will make you forget where in the world you are. The Reuben, buttery rye encasing piles of corned beef —cooked until it gets crispy edges like bacon and spiked with a roasted jalapeno Thousand Island dressing —is a must-try.
The Reuben at Bolsa Mercado
634 W. Davis St.
One of Dallas’ most underrated sandwich spots is Bolsa Mercado. For years, the Oak Cliff market next to Bolsa has been serving salads and sandwiches that will make the sandwich you brought to work taste like slices of cardboard. Give away your weird sandwich with the Miracle Whip. You want Bolsa’s Reuben instead: House-made pastrami is packed with black pepper and coriander. Red cabbage, braised, is an ode to sauerkraut, and horseradish pickles add a punchy crispness.
The OWP Corned Beef at Off-Site Kitchen
331 Singleton Blvd.
Never to be underestimated for the price, Off-Site Kitchen has a menu of dangerously-good sandwiches. Picking from the menu at OSK is like Arnold Schwarzenegger selecting from his room of weapons in Commando: All of them will satisfy your urge to chew something up. This corned beef sandwich is a grenade launcher; a long, toasted roll (sliced in two manageable halves), with ice cream scoops of creamy slaw over a crown of shredded lettuce. Melt-in-your-mouth corned beef rests underneath with melted cheese. Enjoy blowing up your face with this sandwich.
The Specialty Combos at Deli News
17062 Preston Road
Any list of the best delis in Dallas that does not feature Deli News is lying — the sandwich force is very strong here. Reubens come in variable combos of corned beef and pastrami, corned beef and turkey (another variation of the “Rachel”) or splendid shaved tongue. It’s truly a paradise for lovers of the great Reuben. Deli News is a suburban powerhouse deli. Stop in and don’t forget the smoked fish.
The Bison Reuben at Hattie’s
418 N. Bishop Ave.
Hattie’s head chef Estevan Galindo loves the classics, and he’s doing it right. He pickles and ferments the sauerkraut in Hattie's kitchen (maybe you’ve caught a funky smell wafting), crafting the Russian dressing from scratch — sharpened by pickles, capers, some onions and a touch of ketchup — and “corning” the bison. He’s corning his bison for you, people. Buttery, marble rye encases the tender, pastrami-seasoned bison, topped by a thick slice of Swiss. The great sandwiches of America come in many forms.