100 Favorite Dishes: Reuben from the Bagel Deli

Lori Midson

Suffice it to say that I eat out more than the general population, unless, of course, the general population can catalogue more than 450 restaurant meals in a year -- which is about the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I stomached in 2012. Pathetic, isn't it? But all those food dates are worth the gluttony, because it allows us to tell you where you should eat, a little favor that we started in late 2009, when we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- 100, to be exact. Now we're back with round three, counting down (in no particular order) 100 more of our favorite dishes in Denver (and Boulder). If there's something in particular that you think we need to try, reveal it in the comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at lori.midson@westword.com.

No. 88: Reuben from the Bagel Deli

Legend has it that in 1914, an actress waltzed into a New York restaurant and asked an employee, whose name happened to be "Reuben," to make her a sandwich -- a skyscraping sandwich that combined different ingredients. The result, rye bread heaped with roasted turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and Russian dressing, was proclaimed "Reuben's Special," despite the fact that the actress, Annette Seelos, allegedly insisted that he name it after her. Like the cheeseburger, there are numerous declarations of ownership of the Reuben, New York's prized gut bomb, and over the years, the sandwich, which is now traditionally stacked with corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, has continued to rise in popularity -- and in Denver, no one does a better Reuben than the Bagel Deli.

See also:
- Fat, full and happy: Westword's 100 favorite dishes in Denver
- Our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2012
- Our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2013 so far

Owned by Rhoda Weiner, and her husband, Joe Kaplan, who have run the iconic deli for decades, the Reuben is, quite simply, dazzling. It's a grilled, full-figured sandwich voluptuous with melted Swiss and hand-sliced corned beef that's flabbed with just the right amount of fat, and while the corned beef alone is worth the price of admission, even the tangy sauerkraut, which is drained so that the seeded rye doesn't become soggy, is noteworthy. Yes, it's entirely too lofty to shove into your mouth, which means that you need to eat it sideways, or with a knife and fork, but delis are renowned for their devotion to abundance, and given the sandwich's incredible heft, there are bound to be leftovers for a midnight snack.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below:

No. 100: Foie gras oysters from Sushi Sasa
No. 99: Porchetta from Parisi
No. 98: chocolate caramel sea salt tart from Spuntino
No. 97: Nachos from the Pioneer
No. 96: Fried pickles from TAG Burger Bar
No. 95: Breakfast burrito from Jalapeños Mexican restaurant
No. 94: Jajangmyeon from Yong Gung Dragon Palace Chinese Restaurant
No 93: French fries from Jonesy's EatBar
No. 92: Fried rice from Benihana
No. 91: Lobster macaroni and cheese from Mizuna
No. 90: Schezuan beef in numbing chile oil from Chef Liu's Authentic Chinese Cuisine

No. 89: lamb tartare from Epernay

Location Info

The Bagel Deli & Restaurant

6439 E. Hampden Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help
Kendra Wiig
Kendra Wiig

The most Denverest food I can think of is a gyro and green chili breakfast burrito from Pete's Kitchen.

Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

Bourbon Chicken, Mac and Cheese and Cajun Potatoes from Bourbon Grill

Jaci Vezina
Jaci Vezina

Santiago's half & half breakfast burrito!!

Robert Goose Guzmán
Robert Goose Guzmán

The Bagel was my first job of my life when I was 15. The best deli in town. Cheers


A Reuben so good, makes you wanna slap your Mama. 

Nothing in town compares.

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