the prez reuben sandwich from blues city deli photos by david kovaluk

Top 3 Reubens in St. Louis

I love sandwiches so much I named my cat Sandwich. And my favorite is the classic and satisfying Reuben. Pastrami or corned beef with sauerkraut, Swiss and Russian or Thousand Island on rye: nothing more, nothing less. It’s an old standard that deserves accolades piled on like its fatty meats. Here are St. Louis’ top three Reubens. 

1. Blues City Deli is sandwich royalty, so it’s no surprise its Prez Reuben is king. With two sizes (6 or 12 ounces), any Jack can find a sandwich to fit his hand. Big or small, you’ll be treated to a pile of house-smoked, slow-cooked pastrami speckled with peppercorns. The extra kick mingles well with the deli’s fresh kraut and Swiss, tinted pink by Thousand Island. The full house is courted by panini-pressed rye that absorbs the grease, sauce and brine, making for a sloppy feast – exactly how a Reuben should be.

the ultimate reuben from dalie's smokehouse // photo by david kovaluk

2. The Ultimate Reuben at Dalie’s Smokehouse  lives up to the name. At a joint known for barbecue, house-smoked pastramis are Dalie’s best-kept secret. A mild kraut allows both beef and pork pastrami to star, supported by Swiss and Thousand Island backup vocals on a strong marbled rye stage. Try the sandwich with a side of Fire and Ice pickles for a duet that will leave you singing Dalie’s praises.

the classic reuben sandwich from carl's deli // photo by david kovaluk

3. Carl’s Deli casually drops a classic Reuben experience without any pomp or circumstance. It’s like walking into the New York delicatessen where the Reuben was invented. If your hunger is a force of nature, this mountain of corned beef won’t disappoint. The stacked sandwich is microwaved for a few seconds to get the Swiss a little melted and arrives sweet, sour, savory and greasy. You won’t find small talk here, but you will find a full stomach.

Andrew Barrett is a contributor to Sauce Magazine.