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Coincidentally, two pizza purveyors in D.C. are offering Reuben pizzas for a limited time right now. Local chainlet &pizza began serving its delicatessen-inspired pizza as a seasonal special last week. Meanwhile, Timber Pizza Co. recently moved its mobile pizza oven into the former Blind Dog Cafe space as it prepares to open a permanent restaurant in Petworth. To kick off the pop-up, Timber has collaborated with DGS Delicatessen on a Reuben pizza that’s available Fridays through Sundays, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. How does each slice stack up?
What’s on it: Thousand Island sauce, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, pastrami, and slaw with carrots, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts
Pros: While you might not expect to find Brussels sprouts on a Reuben, the tangy slaw is one of the better components of this pizza. Also, &pizza staff cut the oblong pizza widthwise, so that you can fold each section over into its own sandwich. Clever!
Cons: Technically, a Reuben should be made with corned beef, not pastrami. Not that it makes much difference here, because the crisped bits of meat get lost under an overpowering slathering of Thousand Island sauce and all that slaw (which isn’t a traditional Reuben ingredient either).
Does it taste like a Reuben? The heavy-handed dressing gives the pizza an unmistakable Reuben flavor, and even some caraway seeds sneak in there, but the underplayed meat prevents it from being a true doppleganger.
Overall score (1 to 10): 7. It’s pretty good, but some of &pizza’s other pies are better.
Timber Pizza Co. 944 Florida Ave. NW
What’s on it: Garlic olive oil, provolone, swiss cheese, pastrami from DGS Delicatessen, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing drizzle
Pros: Pastrami might not be traditional to the Reuben, but technicalities are forgiven with this flavorful cured and smoked meat from DGS Delicatessen. The pizza also has just enough sauerkraut to tame the greasier ingredients.
Cons: The best Reubens are stuffed so thick you might dislocate your jaw. The only thing this pizza lacks is that same excessiveness.
Does it taste like a Reuben? If you took a blind mouthful, you might not immediately think of the classic deli sandwich. It’s missing that rye bread flavor, and the Russian dressing isn’t in every bite. Still, most of the pieces are there.
Overall score (1 to 10): 8. It’s a delicious meat and cheese pizza, just not one that screams “Reuben.”
Photos by Jessica Sidman