Along with green beer, shamrocks and projectile vomiting, the Reuben sandwich has become synonymous with St. Patrick's Day.

Corned beef, cabbage and globs of gooey cheese, yum! What can be more Gaelic than that, right?

Well, believe it or not, the Reuben is about as Irish as Barack O'Bama.  

Legend has it that the Reuben had its origins in Omaha, not the Emerald Isle. Even more than that, the recipe for corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing between two pieces of rye has been credited to Reuben Kulakofsky, a Jewish-Lithuanian grocer residing in Nebraska's largest city.

Sometime during the 1920s, Kulakoksky originally made the deli-style sandwich for members of his poker game that was held every week at the Blackstone Hotel.

The Reuben -- supposedly named after Kulakofsky -- gained further notoriety when Blackstone Hotel owner Charles Schimmel (and a member of the weekly poker crew) placed the sandwich on the menu.  

Over the years, many people have tried to put their stamp on the Reuben. 

For instance, in Montreal, Canada, a Reuben substitutes brisket for corned beef. In some parts of Minnesota, the Walleye is the meat-of-choice for the suddenly stinky sandwich.

What's the most audacious meat used in a Reuben? That honor goes to the Lobster Reuben served exclusively at the Keys Fisheries, located between Miami and Key West, Florida.

What's the weirdest local reinterpretation of a Reuben? If you ask us, the Dublin Nachos -- corned beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island and cheese swimming on top of a plate of waffle fries -- will always top our list. 

Plus you can get them every day at Half Moon Bar & Grill, 714 S. Lewis Blvd.

Yet for historical accuracy, we need to tip our hats to the chefs at 4 Brothers Grill & Bar, 3322 Singing Hills Blvd., for acknowledging the Reuben's Midwestern birth. 

Named simply "The Omaha" at 4 Brothers, this sandwich contains slow-roasted corned beef pastrami, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing on grilled rye.

What Weekender taste-testers traditionally look for in a Reuben is an overabundance of meat oozing between two pieces of marbled rye. While the sauerkraut should, of course, be present, it cannot dominate the sandwich.

So, will 4 Brothers' The Omaha make us want to hoist a Guinness in the memory of "Honorary Irishman" Reuben Kulakofsky or will it make us want to shillelagh a leprechaun? 

Read on, lads and lassies, read on.

AT FIRST GLANCE: Yay, 4 Brothers' The Omaha comes with plenty o' meat, plus the grilled rye turned our fingers with a buttery, cheesy mess! At their best, Reubens should be at least a five-napkin sandwich.

AT FIRST TASTE: We love the sweet, smoky taste of 4 Brothers' pastrami. The slow-roasting of the meat elevates the sandwich substantially. Likewise, the Swiss was suitably oozy while the sauerkraut acted as a supporting player as opposed to the entire show.

WAYS TO IMPROVE IT: While there was plenty of greasy goodness running down our fingers, none of it was orange! As long as you're smearing on some Thousand Island, you might as well make it matter. We need more sauce in the event we wanna get sloshed!

CAN IT CAP OFF SOME ST. PATRICK'S DAY DEBAUCHERY: Which, let's face it, is what we're looking for in St. Patrick's Day meal.  Eaten alone, 4 Brothers' The Omaha is one satisfying sandwich. On St. Patrick's Day and with our heads woozy from too much drink, it's probably even better. In the long run, does it matter if the Reuben is Jewish-Lithuanian sandwich invented in Omaha? Not in the least. After all, everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, even the foods we most enjoy.

OUR RATING: On a scale from one to five, we give The Omaha a four.


Food and Lifestyles reporter

Load comments