Friday, July 08, 2011

Finding a good reuben in New Orleans.

A good reuben.
A good reuben sandwich is a thing of beauty.  New Orleans has a long history of active and robust Jewish community, but the kosher fare, or even a good Jewish deli, is hard to come by.

There is Stein's Deli on Magazine Street.  They make a good sandwich, but I haven't tried their rueben.  Stein's is pricey, and they tend to go heavy on the meat.  This isn't a bad thing, as any New Orleanian will tell you, but I prefer balance over a heavy hand at the slicer.  For this reason, and for this reason alone, I have resisted the temptation to try Stein's reuben.

You might think that I would also avoid Parkway Tavern's reuben sandwich, but you would be wrong.  While Parkway is famous for its messy, overstuffed sandwiches (as I have happily reported elsewhere in the archives), the corned beef is mellow and savory, and everything else is added in just the right amounts.  A reuben is the sandwich I order most often at Parkway.  This hasn't stopped me from looking farther afield.

We went to the Kosher Cajun today, at 3519 Severn Avenue in Metairie today.  Already, my New England fustiness about what constitutes New Orleans, disqualifies the Kosher Cajun's sandwich from being the best in the city, but other people are not so particular about municipal boundaries.  It is a nice deli, don't get me wrong, but like anything, some things get lost in translation.  The bagels, for instance, are frozen and flown down from the New York metropolitan tri-state area.  I'm not saying which state is their point of origin, but it isn't the Empire State, and it isn't the Nutmeg State.  There is nothing wrong with this, but, being the stickler I usually am, if I get a New York bagel, I expect it to originate in Queens.  So it goes.

The Kosher Cajun makes a good reuben.  It isn't the best I've ever had, and I still prefer Parkway's.  I will certainly be going back to this deli when I am in the neighborhood.  That is a rare occurrence, but it does happen occasionally.  They do carry the full line of Dr. Brown's soda, and I love to slake my thirst with a Cel-Ray, so there is icing on this cake.
Celery tonic.  Cel-Ray refreshes!
I have heard rumors that the best reuben in New Orleans can be found at Cooter Brown's in Riverbend, of all places!  They take their beer and their oysters seriously.  There is no reason to think they don't take their pastrami seriously.  From what I can gather, Cooter Brown's uses pastrami rather than corned beef.  This is not a concern.  Rumor has it that the pastrami is shipped special delivery, COD from New York City on a regular, weekly basis.  I don't see the reuben listed on Cooter's menu, but you never know until you try.  I foresee an exploratory errand in my future.

Credit where it is due:  The first illustration, of a reuben, is courtesy of stickygooeychef.  That, my friends, is a really good sandwich.


Anita said...

I wish you great enjoyment in this particular quest as the Reuben is a favorite of mine, as well. This little tip might not be worth much but before Katrina I used to pedal many miles (by my standards) to enjoy the Reuben at Martin Wine Cellar. Since then, Martin has reopened at another location and I've not been there. I can only hope they have maintained the quality now that they are on Magazine. (Also a pricey place but the point is the quality, as you say.)

Dakota Gyre said...

OMG! Dr. Brown's CelRay. What I wouldn't give for one right now! Just had to tell you that.


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