The Earl of (the Reuben) Sandwich

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it is suggested that the number 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

In a similar vein the Prick posits that at some point in the future, the answer to every lightning round question in pub trivia will be “Reuben.”

Think about it: “What is the name of Julia Gillard’s cavoodle?”

Be the first to yell “Reuben!” and you win the meat tray.

“Name the Flemish painter who had a thing for curvy chicks…”

Again: “Rubens!”

And when the emcee asks for the name of “the absolute, undisputed king of sandwiches, the one before whom everything else between two pieces of bread bows in supplication,” say it loud and proud:



Is this Sydney’s greatest Reuben …

Now Sydney has of late seen some fairly unfortunate food trends take hold, but one that is to the entirely unalloyed good is the town’s discovery and embrace of the Reuben, that wonderful combination of corned beef and sauerkraut and cheese and Russian dressing on rye. Yes, what is offer covers the spectrum, from the lousy, corporatized food-court Reubens on offer at Reuben & Moore to the really quite excellent numbers dished up at Elizabeth Street’s Momo Brasserie.

And of course the hipsters have long been in on the act with their ironic “take” (or should that be “fake”?) on the Reuben at Reuben Hills in the Slurry –  an area the Prick loves, but which, as discussed, can be just a little bit ridiculous.

Those in the know however have for some time sought out an itinerant operation known as the Ruby & Rach Deli, run by a Briton named Tony Gibson who, having fetched up in Australia, has lately been cooking some of the best New York Jewish deli cuisine this side of Katz’s Deli at events and on the weekend markets circuit.

Happily, Tony has found a permanent-for-the-moment home, upstairs in the otherwise unprepossessing upstairs of the Strattons Hotel at the corner of Castlereagh and Liverpool in the city, the sort of pub one would more likely associate with nachos than naches. There he is turning out not just Reubens but a variety of other sandwiches, matzoh ball soup, and in a nod to the Manhattan-Montreal axis, not one but two varieties of poutine (almost) every day of the week. 


… and is this Sydney’s greatest Reuben-maker?

(While we’re on the subject of poutine, since as any journalist knows anything that comes in threes is a trend, does this mean that on the back of Hartsyard’s and the, ahem, Stuffed Beaver’s takes on the dish, Sydney is about to be swept by cheese curds and gravy?)

The Prick, being a creature of habit, has no idea how the rest of the menu is, because he cannot go past a Reuben that’s made with 9+ wagyu that has been brined and sous-vided and where the rendered fat is used to grill the bread. Ruby & Rach’s Reubens are simply the best in town, and anyone who likes this sort of thing should forget eating at their desk, take a proper lunch and give this a go.  

Oh, and apparently Tony’s also doing a New York-style breakfast. Proper lox are involved. This Prick might just plotz.

Strattons Hotel Bistro on Urbanspoon

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4 Responses to The Earl of (the Reuben) Sandwich

  1. This is sad news indeed. The Reuben sandwich deserves to stay in New York.
    I’ve had the misfortune to taste one. It was the one blight in which turned out to be a journey of culinary disovery in the USA.
    “Sauerkraut & Russian Dressing” *snort* (Eastern European cusine has not ever “taken off”, there is a reason for this).

    In a tie for the bad news of Australia’s culinary decline, the news that (ugh) Poutine is available in this formerly great country is equally bad news.
    Melted cheese over chips. Enough said. (Or to be really accurate, an ocularly unappealing mixture of gravy & cheese curds, over chips).

    • DMS says:

      Poutine at a pretty good but unassuming cafe on Clarendon St South Melbourne when I was in Vic yesterday. I had a slider instead, also ridiculous and trendy but I really do not understand the attraction of cheese and gravy on chips.

      Not with you on Eastern European-style food though. Blinis? Galupsi? Perogi/peroshki? And NY jewish Deli food….. c’mon

  2. Crikey, I’m a culinary Philistine! I’ve never heard of most of that stuff! Perogis I know, and having eaten them at their point of origin (very eastern europe) they are nothing like what is cooked up by farm wives on the Canadian praries. The Canadian mutation of perogi is delicious. The fair dinkum perogi is utterly unpalatable.
    Perhaps I should’ve said “slavic” rather than “eastern european tucker, as the Hungarians knock up some pretty fair tucker at times.
    Can’t comment on NY jewish deli food, for I’ve never been to NYC.
    Slider? Isn’t that some sort of mini-burger, about the size of the palm of one’s hand? Not a bad idea. I’ve been considering switching my kitchen output to that & nothing else.

    • DMS says:

      Sliders seems to be trendy word for miniburger. First encountered them when living in the US over 10 years ago. Seem to have a taken a while to get here. Silly affectation really; it’s just a small burger. Only advantage seems to be that places let you “mix and match” when they have multiple flavours of the things.

      Yep, Hungarian food is great. Aside from his gorgeous wife, the food made having dinner at the house of a Hungarian ex-colleague a major joy. Fair-dinkum perogi/peroshki can indeed require a predisposition to stodge, so I’m keen to try this Canadian version.

      Poutine you can keep.

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