Reuben Rivalry: Goldman's Deli vs. Miracle Mile
Buchanan The contenders.
Nobody really knows who invented the Reuben sandwich (but we'd put flowers on his grave if we did). Some say it was Reuben Kulakofsky of Omaha, Nebraska, who served it at late-night poker games at the Blackstone Hotel. Others swear it was invented by a cook at Reuben's Restaurant in New York City. The first written reference to it, found on an extant menu from the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska, dates to 1937. So despite its murky origins, the Reuben -- a stellar combo of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island (or Russian) dressing on grilled or toasted Rye bread -- has been around for at least 75 years.
Even though it can't be proven that the Reuben was invented by a Jewish guy, the sandwich has been co-opted by Jewish delis everywhere. So let's see how the Reubens rate at two popular metro Phoenix Jewish delis -- Goldman's and Miracle Mile.
In this corner: Goldman's Deli
Buchanan The Reuben at Goldman's
The Setup: Owned and operated by ex-Chicagoans Rozalia and Gregorio Goldman, this clean, always busy little deli -- opened in 2000 and expanded five years ago -- is the real deal, offering blintzes. nova lox, gefilte fish, kasha varnishkes, fried kreplach, fat deli sandwiches, house-made desserts (including rugelach, noodle kugel and hamentashen), as well as daily specials such as cabbage rolls and tzimmes with short ribs. Tzimmes! Where else can you find that? The Goldmans had logged over 20 years in the biz (at Kaufman's Deli in Skokie and Bagel Restaurant in Chicago), before setting up shop in Scottsdale, and their experience shows.
The Good: Goldman's Reuben, served with a crunchy pickle, a lidded plastic container of Russian dressing and your choice of sides (I opted for sweet, creamy potato salad), looks fantastic. This thing is loaded with meat -- bright pink, moist and delish. And isn't this what we want in a deli sandwich -- heaps of warm, messy meat, spilling out of the bread and onto our laps?
B.G. (Before Goldman's), I would've told you that I generally prefer the rye bread grilled to a solid crunch, but now I'm not so sure. Just a light toast on house-made rye -- as it's done here -- looks better and makes for easier eating. And I love that I can smear on as much Russian dressing as I like. Almost everything is home-made here, including the corned beef and tangy sauerkraut, so what's not to like?
The Bad: Can't find anything negative to say about this sandwich . . .
The Price: $10.99