Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Reuben Turns 100

The classic Reuben sandwich - so simple, so delicate and so delicious - recently turned 100 years old. I never thought to myself, "Who invented the Reuben sandwich?"  But I guess everything has to have an origination.

It was 1914, in Manhattan's Reuben's Delicatessen that the sandwich was born... according to legend. The inventor was none other than Arnold Reuben. The urban legend to the story says that an out-of-work actress ordered something not on the menu, at which point the owner created it for her. That creation became to be known as "The Reuben."

A simple story for a simple sandwich.

Corned beef, German sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, rye bread and 1000 island dressing are staples to this ever-famous sandwich. Yet making the perfect Reuben isn't so simple. Do you put the sandwich on the griddle; do you toast the bread; do you batter the bread? Light rye, dark rye, marble rye? Do you choose a sharp Swiss cheese or a more mild Swiss cheese? How thick do you slice your corned beef?  Or do you prefer it crumbled?

(For me, a griddled Reuben, light rye bread, crumbled corned beef, 1000 island, any sauerkraut will do, and a nice emmentaler cheese would be my dream Reuben.)

Working with corned beef is a long, drawn out process... those of you who have done it should understand.  Many places will argue that labor is the case for not offering the Reuben on their menu. From trimming and cleaning to baking, back to slicing, it can take a 1/2 day to prepare 20-30 pounds of this German meat. Not to mention the cost and the very poor yield. If you start with 40 pounds of corned beef, and you can yield 20 useable pounds... job well done. It's all about time and money. 

So of the places that do offer it on their menu... if the corned beef is not perfectly done, the sandwich can be ruined and make the Reuben experience an awful one. If the corned beef is not done enough, it can become tough.  And if it's not trimmed enough, too much fat can make the sandwich chewy and almost inedible.

Have you ever bit into a Reuben and not been able to get through the sandwich with your bite? Then in the recovery process, pulled out everything from between the bread trying to get through that gristly meat? It's the one thing that holds me back from ordering Reubens at many places. I must trust you first before I trust your Reuben. 

Alas, I can say with conviction, that you can trust us. 
The Uptown has chosen to honor the Reuben on it's 100th anniversary by currently offering our version of what a Reuben should be.

The Leberkaese (pronounced labor-case) Reuben we have on the menu is out of this world. Ok, so we aren't using corned beef, but trust me... you won't care.

This Leberkaese (German meat loaf) is the next best thing to corned beef, and I can promise with 100% certainty, you will never dive into your Reuben sandwich and have to deal with tough, underdone or stringy corned beef. It just won't happen with this sandwich.

We've eliminated the one way you can screw this sandwich up, and we've eliminated the laborious labor process and food waste along the way. And it only took someone 100 years.


No comments:

Post a Comment