Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
A sandwich worth defending.
It's hard to look classy whilst cramming a big, grilled, cheesy, pastrami-packed Reuben into your mouth. And there are days when you want the taste of the sandwich, but maybe not the heart flutters afterward. Your solution is at Nourish Bistro & Catering (518 Henderson St., Eureka). Order up a Reuben at the counter and try not to be distressed when you are asked about your choice of bread, cheese and dressing ($8.50). Apparently there are those who want to tweak the classic, and that's their lifestyle choice. But maybe we need to address some actual issues and draft a Defense of Reubens Act that defines this American institution as a hot sandwich on rye bread with pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing. Do what you will in your own home, but you can't call it a Reuben without hurting all Reubens.
Ahem. Nourish's version, cut into sharp wedges, is downright minimalist. This is not the daunting monolith you faced on your visit to New York — the tower of meat teetering to one side, a flimsy slice of bread stranded at the top like Faye Wray. Instead, it's toasty, swirly rye bread with a reasonable handful of satisfyingly salty Premier pastrami, sauerkraut and a swipe of thousand island. Piping hot so you can taste the fat of the meat, which is cut just enough with the tart kraut, it is a taste of the real thing that you can eat with dignity in your distressed, white shabby chic chair.