100 Favorite Dishes: Reuben from the Bagel Deli
Suffice it to say that I eat out more than the general population, unless, of course, the general population can catalogue more than 450 restaurant meals in a year -- which is about the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I stomached in 2012. Pathetic, isn't it? But all those food dates are worth the gluttony, because it allows us to tell you where you should eat, a little favor that we started in late 2009, when we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- 100, to be exact. Now we're back with round three, counting down (in no particular order) 100 more of our favorite dishes in Denver (and Boulder). If there's something in particular that you think we need to try, reveal it in the comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.
No. 88: Reuben from the Bagel Deli
Legend has it that in 1914, an actress waltzed into a New York restaurant and asked an employee, whose name happened to be "Reuben," to make her a sandwich -- a skyscraping sandwich that combined different ingredients. The result, rye bread heaped with roasted turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and Russian dressing, was proclaimed "Reuben's Special," despite the fact that the actress, Annette Seelos, allegedly insisted that he name it after her. Like the cheeseburger, there are numerous declarations of ownership of the Reuben, New York's prized gut bomb, and over the years, the sandwich, which is now traditionally stacked with corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, has continued to rise in popularity -- and in Denver, no one does a better Reuben than the Bagel Deli.
Owned by Rhoda Weiner, and her husband, Joe Kaplan, who have run the iconic deli for decades, the Reuben is, quite simply, dazzling. It's a grilled, full-figured sandwich voluptuous with melted Swiss and hand-sliced corned beef that's flabbed with just the right amount of fat, and while the corned beef alone is worth the price of admission, even the tangy sauerkraut, which is drained so that the seeded rye doesn't become soggy, is noteworthy. Yes, it's entirely too lofty to shove into your mouth, which means that you need to eat it sideways, or with a knife and fork, but delis are renowned for their devotion to abundance, and given the sandwich's incredible heft, there are bound to be leftovers for a midnight snack.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below:
No. 90: Schezuan beef in numbing chile oil from Chef Liu's Authentic Chinese Cuisine
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.