The Reuben, that storied sandwich originating in the early 20th century at Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City or at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska (depending on whom you ask), has since become a ubiquitous fixture at restaurants across the country. At one time, only delis and diners sold this amazing vertical assemblage of grilled rye bread, hot corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and Russian dressing. These days, to our great delight, many other species of eating establishments serve traditional as well as deviant, decadent versions of the Reuben. Houston may be an exceptional city, but it's no exception to this particular rule as the following restaurants showcase.
At Katz’s Deli, three sizes (skinny, Klassic, and New York) are available and diners also have the choice of subbing in pastrami or turkey for corned beef. The New York size is probably the tallest Reuben in Houston, but it's the mountain-like, open-faced One and Only Reuben at Kenny & Ziggy’s that takes the prize in terms of girth.
Kahn’s Deli vends 4-ounce or 8-ounce Reubens that somewhat buck convention via the inclusion of spicy mustard plus two cheeses: melted cheddar and Swiss. Also on hand at Kahn’s is the Alpine, a Reuben variant with mesquite-grilled turkey meat.
The Reuben on Brooklyn Athletic Club’s lunch menu is made with pickles, butter-grilled marble rye, and 1000 Island rather than Russian dressing (which is not the same thing, though one Simpsons character would have you believe otherwise). Zelko Bistro uses the traditional Russian dressing on their Reuben but sneaks in some sliced tomatoes for added color, while Spec’s claims their Reuben is “to die for”—perhaps because they swap rye bread for pumpernickel, which could be grounds for a public hanging in some less forgiving areas of the country.
Finally, the tastemakers at Liberty Kitchen aren't afraid to stray from original design with their so-called Rodeo Reuben, which layers brisket meat, creamy slaw, cheddar, dill pickles, and ranch dressing on rye bread. You could say it's a shanda, but we just say yee-haw.