Dear Mr. Gold:
My favorite sandwich by far is the Reuben, but so far I’ve been unimpressed by L.A.’s offerings. I’ve even been served Reubens made with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut, which I find offensive. I’m originally from New Jersey. Is there any place around here to get a decent N.J.-style open-faced diner Reuben where you don’t have to ask for Russian dressing?
My instinct, of course, is to point you toward Langer’s, which is the Lourdes of Jewish deli meats. Langer’s corned beef is steamed to exquisite tenderness, and the crunchy-edged seeded rye bread is superb. Langer’s knows from Russian dressing and is if anything rather overgenerous with the sauerkraut. I have long sworn fealty to what I have come to know as Old Number 44, although to tell the truth, I prefer the nippy cheese to the traditional slice of Swiss. (A Reuben is decidedly not kosher.)
But the Reuben is the favorite sandwich of Art Ginsburg, the maven of Art’s Deli in Studio City, and sometimes I suspect Ginsburg studies the Reuben the way other great scholars parse the Talmud — adjusting proportions, strength of dressing and sharpness of cheese, crunchiness and ooziness, sweet and tart, until the sandwich speaks simply if profoundly on its own. Art’s is a good deli, but after the Reuben, all else is commentary. 12224 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 762-1221.
Got a burning culinary question? E-mail email@example.com.