Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reubenfest! In the city where the sandwich was born!

Here's where your beloved Reuben sandwich came from: the roaring 20s at the former Blackstone
Hotel, at left. The World-Herald says the Crescent Moon, right, serves the best Reubens in town.
Nebraskans insist that the Reuben sandwich was invented first by grocer Reuben Kulakofsky between 1920 and 1925 to feed late night poker players at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha and absolutely NOT by Arnold Reuben, the New York City restaurateur.
     Jim Rader, of Merriam-Webster, tentatively favors the Omaha claim.
     Wikipedia flatly gives the city bragging rights.
     Alas, no more Reubens are served at the Blackstone Hotel because it is gone — but not forgotten; the ediface, still bearing the same name, has been repurposed as an office building.
     No worries: the Crescent Moon, across Farnam Street, keeps up the tradition (which mandates Russian, not 1000-island, dressing) impeccably, as the Omaha World-Herald has dubbed its recreation the best in Omaha:
The Blackstone Reuben, as it's called on the Moon's menu, is a feat of engineering. It doesn't fall apart when you eat it and it doesn't leak dressing or kraut.
     And how does the restaurant accomplish that engineering? Aside from being picky about choosing and preparing the ingredients, it sends each sandwich through a pizza oven with a conveyer belt, because it didn't have a flat-top grill when the eatery opened. The restaurant does now, but Reubens still go through the pizza oven, because “The Reubens just come out perfect every time,” says Crescent Moon owner Bill Baburek.
     If concurrent thoughts of "Reuben" and "Pizza oven" make the more adventurous of AKSARBENT readers wonder what a Reuben pizza would be like, the answer is great. We know because Mama's Pizza has one on the menu; we've had it, and we totally approve, despite the fact that it's made with, ahem, Thousand Island dressing.
     Reubenfest will run from Nov. 18th-23rd and will feature deviant versions of the Reuben available on specific days only. Details here.

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