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.