A year ago I would have told you that I don’t even like Reubens or Melts at all. Generally I do not like rye bread. I have never ordered corned-beef on purpose and swiss cheese ranks nearly last on my list of preferred cheeses. However, a year ago, without reason I ordered the Reuben over lunch. It wasn’t bad. Since that day I’ve been searching for Dayton’s best!
During this time I’ve come to love this sandwich and this is where you can find the best of the best.
The Reuben is a melt by definition and a modern deli staple. Having worked in a deli in college I was no stranger to the sandwich but it seemed to be stacked against my preferred taste. The Rye, Russian/Thousand Island dressing, corned beef and kraut all work together, each ingredient made better as part of the whole.
Before I give you my list, let me tell you where not to stop. Stay clear of the chain delis. I have been to both Schlotsky’s and Subway as a point of comparison. There are too many great restaurants in Dayton creating these works of art from scratch to settle for a $4.99 fast food version. Do yourself a favor and hit one of these spots I’ve visited for you.
6) Archer’s Tavern in Kettering and Centerville does it all. I love their wings, my kids love the burgers, but their Reuben deserves some consideration. Nicely sliced corned beef, generous sauerkraut and lots of cheese made theirs a real contender. Their sauce wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was grilled perfectly making the sliced Rye a bit crunchy the way I like. Get the fries. They are double fried, fresh cut, a nice addition to this sandwich. The grilled Reuben and fries are just a bit over $8.00.
5) The most expensive on my list and with the best dressing is Christopher’s in Kettering. Christopher’s is often overlooked on Dayton food lists and their Reuben stands out like the restaurant itself. They start with great Rye bread toasted perfectly, with a homemade dressing and plenty of kraut atop of the sliced corned beef. I asked for extra dressing for my chips and that was no mistake. Go ahead and get the half sandwich. The full size was 3 napkins big and I needed a nap back at work 2 hours later. The half sandwich is plenty and easier on the wallet. The half is $5.95, whole sandwich is $9.95 and stick with chips and extra dressing for dipping.
4) Zinks Meats and Fine Wine in Centerville makes their own Corned Beef and slices it in house. They cook the sliced beef and cheese on the flattop before assembling the sandwich. A thick toasted marble rye held the 1/3 pound of beef and supported the saurekraut well. No complaints. Zinks had the right amount of dressing and the cheese melted a got that nice cheese crust on the edges, giving the sandwich additional texture. The meat didn’t fall apart and came with full flavor and chew. With chips and pickle, you are in for $8.99. Knowing that beef and dressing is made in house, makes it worth the price.
3) The Dublin Pub. The Irish know corned beef and Dub Pub delivers a couple of versions of the Reuben. I stick with the original with extra dressing for my fries. The Dub Pub has more of a shaved slice to their beef which ensures every bite is easy and tender. The Pub offers an Uptown version of their Reuben that adds cole slaw and pastrami to an already hearty sandwich. At 8.99 with fries, this Reuben is a great lunch, grab a Guinness while you are there, call the boss, you’re gonna be late getting back to the office.
2) FlyBoy’s Deli. Contrary to popular belief, the Reuben is not a New York Deli original. Folklore suggests that the Reuben originated in Kansas City. FlyBoy’s doesn’t care about folklore and makes a sandwich tough enough for NYC. The Rye bread holds up after being buttered and crisped in a Panini press. The Corned Beef is tasty and tender like you’d expect from a big city deli. It’s a big sandwich and worth every penny. $7.99 and I would recommend the New York potato salad as a side.
1) DiSalvo’s Deli. Ronnie Disalvo is doing something right. I’ve had the Reuben two ways and both were tops. Order it with Pastrami or Corned Beef. Get there early for lunch, the corned beef goes fast. Secret to their success? It’s the butter and grill press they used to really get a great crust on the bread while melting the swiss to perfection. The corned beef is prepared in house and the Rye is the best in town. Grab the Reuben, a deli side and a Coke and you are out the door for $10.00.
Where am I headed next for a Reuben? Great question. Two stops are in my near future. Tanks on Wayne, famous for breakfast, chili and burgers is rumored to have a Reuben worth writing about. Corner Kitchen has also rolled out a Reuben that has a spicy slaw in place of Kraut and a fried egg. That is moving the Reuben to another level.
You’ve seen my list, now you tell us Dayton, where do you go for the perfect Reuben?