The Reuben is the best kind of hot mess. Its origin story is unclear, but the sandwich’s deliciousness is obvious. The proportions and ingredients just work together.
The fattiness of the meat – traditionally corned beef or pastrami – pairs with the acidity of the sauerkraut and marries well with the rich and creamy textures of Thousand Island dressing and melted cheese, all shoved between two slices of hearty rye bread. It should require more than a couple of napkins to polish off a well-made Reuben.
As is the case with most sandwiches, the success of a Reuben rests squarely on the quality of its ingredients. While D.C. isn’t known as a great deli city, there are plenty of restaurants churning out tasty takes on the Reuben, from classic renditions to creative recipes using everything from smoked salmon to kimchi. Check out these 12 takes on the sandwich.
1 Buffalo & Bergen
Buffalo & Bergen is known for its bagels. So it’s no surprise that this bustling Union Market cafe puts serves its Reuben sandwich on a fresh rye New York water bagel.
2 C.F. Folks
This cozy deli counter just off Dupont Circle includes both a pastrami and a corned beef Reuben. They’re also a relative bargain at under $8 each.
3 Cafe Kimchi
The corned beef Reuben at this Barracks Row cafe gets a Korean twist with the addition of grilled kimchi.