The Reuben (a king of sandwiches packed with salt beef, sauerkraut and Russian dressing), as with many iconic inventions, has a contested history with scores of European Jewish immigrants credited with its creation in the US. It seems so simple: meat, bread, sauce, cheese, but a Reuben is greater than the sum of its parts and until Monty’s Deli rocked up at Maltby Street Market, it was chow down best savoured for NYC. Communal benches, just a sprinkle of deli ephemera and doo wap mark the white railway arch; the main event is the assembly line. Now, things get tricky. Pastrami or salt beef? You could hedge your bets and go for a combo but for me, salt beef every time. Don’t get me wrong, the pastrami, cured for 6 days and smoked for 7 hours is a classic and Monty’s easily competes with any of its NY cousins. But the salt beef is an architectural victory. It should be hard work to crack your jaw around that tower with only toasted light rye holding 10cm of the most tender, beefy but not too salty meat with slice of Swiss cheese and dressing giving some minor adhesion, but the meat flakes down lines of striation, where fat has melted into dark flesh that falls into your mouth just as you bite. It’s an easy pleasure to conquer. Mr Monty makes his Reubens like a puzzle, masterfully placing wobbling hunks of beef making sure that until just the last corner remains, my bread still has the perfect ratio of flesh, cheese and ‘kraut. Honestly, this sandwich is pure genius.
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