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The Sandwich: Ruby on Rye
Where: Duke’s Grocery, 1715 17th St. NW
Bread: Toasted “farmhouse” rye
Stuffings: Salt beef (what Brits call corned beef), Jarlsberg cheese, pickles, dill mustard, house ’kraut
Thickness: 4.25 inches
Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 2. Although bits of beef and sauerkraut flee the sandwich as soon as you pick it up, nothing wet, sticky, or stain-causing will end up on your face or clothes. Unlike crustier breads, the thickly cut rye doesn’t shower your lap with crumbs—but it does absorb the extra moisture from the ’kraut, so your fingers won’t reek of cabbage. You have no excuse not to clean your plate.
Pros: Comfort your Jewish mother now, because this brisket rivals hers—moist, tender, and not too salty, nevermind its name. Generous slices of toast dispense a hint of rye flavor without completely obliterating the other ingredients.
Cons: Your breath after eating: The sauerkraut, beef, and cheese leave a little bit of funk in your mouth. The kraut and mustard add a pleasant tang in small doses, but a sandwich this large requires an extra dose of acidity. More sourness, please!
The Day After: Expect leftovers. The bread, beef, and cheese dry out by day 2, making the towering sandwich difficult to bite. Luckily, the ingredients retain their flavor, if not their moisture, so deconstruct the Ruby and enjoy it in smaller bites with a bit of mustard.
Overall Score (1 to 5): 4. Like any great Reuben, the Ruby on Rye is straight-up comfort food. It loses a bit of its luster by day 2, but those first bites of crunchy toast and chewy brisket more than compensate for its subsequent dehydration.
Photo by Caroline Jones