Reuben Sandwich

If asked, most would volunteer New York as the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich. To be sure the Reuben is a New York deli staple, but its story may begin elsewhere.

There are several legends of the origins of the Rueben, and all of them are the true story of the original Reuben. My favourite tells of the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska in the late 1920s. Every Sunday night the hotel owner and some friends would play poker, collecting change through the night to pay for a midnight snack. One evening, one of the players- Reuben Kulakofsky, ordered a corned beef and sauerkraut sandwich. The chef, son of the hotel owner and recently returned from a year at the Ecole Hôtelière in Switzerland, drained the sauerkraut and tossed it with Russsian dressing. This was layered with the corned beef and Swiss cheese on rye bread and toasted. The poker boys loved it and the sandwich soon made its way onto the hotel menu. The Schimmel Reuben Sandwich was born.
At Nikau, we’ve been able to get some nice Savoy cabbages recently, and Kelda has taken advantage of this and put down some batches of delicious sauerkraut. Painstakingly chopped cabbage is salted and after vigourous kneading is left in jars for some friendly lacto-bacillus to work it’s bacterial magic.

So we salute those card sharks from the Blackstone, all those years ago with our version of the Reuben. Because, once you have a chiller full of sauerkraut, and have access to corned beef and some very good gruyere, well, it would be rude not to …

1 comment:

  1. I remember, with a sigh, the Ruben served by Grant and co at the Central Park Deli many years ago. I haven't had a Ruben to compete with that, although I have tried many. Having recently tried Nikau's, and thought about it, Kelda's is my new fave!!