Kevin coined this story as my Curb Your Enthusiasm moment, and I think he is right, so I will coin it as such, but with one caveat. I have to first say that I CANNOT STAND CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. I don’t know what it is. I’ve honestly tried so many times to like the show, but in the end it’s just Larry David having an irrationally strong opinion about someone or something, and then whining a lot about it to an irrational extent, and then having a run-in with this current “nemises” or whatever challenges his opinion. Then, he ends up taking a lot of shit in the end for his opinions and ranting and when he tries to triumph over his opposition, he’s shit on by everyone. He should be. He’s a great comedian, but for some reason on this show he just constantly displays the only negative aspect of Woody Allen (he CAN be SOMETIMES, VERY SLIGHTLY annoying) and multiplies it by ten.
What? This isn’t the story, I’m sorry.
So anyway, if you know me at all you know I love sandwiches. More specifically, Reuben sandwiches. In college, I write for The Colonialist, a blog for which I extensively explored the depths of the Reuben sandwich, and if you want you can check out that post here. Anyway, I found out about Katz’s Deli which is supposedly second only to The Carnegie. I had to go. A few years ago, I did just that. I didn’t really know what to expect. Here is a short list of things that I should have expected, but for some reason did not:
- It took forever to get to the front of the line, and then forever to get my sandwich
- It was about twice the cost of a “normally expensive” deli
- The man who made my sandwich was very old (although the other cutters were not)
That last one should have been expected because the name Katz refers to an old man. That’s a rule. Anyway, when I asked him for a Reuben sandwich, but with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut, he looked right at me and said, “No.”
“What?” I asked.
“I can’t make you that,” he told me. “That’s not a Reuben.”
“Oh. Yeah, I know it’s not a Reuben,” I returned. “It was just easier to tell you - it’s a different - it’s called a Rachel.”
“I can’t do that. That will ruin the whole sandwich.”
“You ever had a Reuben before?” he asked me.
“Yes,” I said. “I have them all the time.”
“No,” he said, “I don’t believe you have.”
At this point I was losing my cool. I just wanted him to make me the sandwich I ordered. I’ve dedicated my life to the Reuben sandwich, I don’t need a lecture on the “only true Reuben.” To make matters worse, the elderly nature of this man made it impossible to tell if he was dead serious or joking (I’m pretty sure he was dead serious).
“I’ll tell you how I make the Reuben,” he said. “I put the cheese on the sauerkraut, and i put it in the microwave to melt the cheese. And then I put it on the sandwich. If I put in coleslaw, it ruins the whole thing. It makes it soggy and watery and gross.”
“Well could you just put the cole slaw on at the end or something?” I asked.
Again he looked right at me. “Where are you from, eh?” He asked.
“Boston,” I said.
“Boston…” he said. “Everybody smart like you in Boston?”
“No,” I said, almost laughing.
“You’ve never had a Reuben,” he said again. “I’ll make your sandwich.”
“Okay, I trust you,” I said with a level of sarcasm that only I can detect.
“I’ll make you a real Reuben. You want pastrami?”
“Corned beef,” I said. The only good Reuben is a corned beef Reuben. But then again, at this point, I was beginning to question everything I’ve ever known about sandwiches, let alone Reubens. Of course, he was surprised.
“Corned beef!? Okay…Everybody wants pastrami these days….okay I’ll make you corned beef…”
I guess I somehow upset him?
He made me the sandwich. I went to a table and ate it, and I have to say, it was definitively the best sandwich I have ever had in my entire life. I am absolutely certain I will not have a better sandwich, ever. It was beyond perfection. It was simply incredible. The slices of meat were the thickest I’ve ever seen. The sauerkraut was the perfect combination of tastes. I think it’s the only time I’ve ever had “fresh” sauerkraut (whatever that means). The Russian dressing was homemade, and I could taste each ingredient. I should also mention that the pickles (a full plate of them, and a variety of types) were also the best pickles I’ve ever had. I went to the cashier and paid half my life’s savings, and walked out the door.
I am still profoundly confused by the experience.