The Ultimate: Reuben
[sidebar]All Star Sandwich Bar ****
Packed with corned beef, All Star’s Reuben was served on seeded light rye on our visit, grilled to a buttery crisp, instead of the usual dark rye. Stuffed with a healthy balance of sauerkraut and piquant Russian dressing, it’s paired with a well-seasoned coleslaw and a crunchy dill pickle. 1245 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-868-3065, allstarsandwichbar.com.
Nick Varano’s Famous Deli ***
In a slightly nontraditional twist, this North End deli’s impressively-sized Reuben features paper-thin slices of corned beef and a flavorful but disconcertingly orange-hued Russian dressing. The accompaniments — a little tub of mild-tasting coleslaw and a limp pickle — seem dinky alongside the gargantuan sandwich. 66 Cross St., Boston, 617-391-0050, nicksfamousdeli.com.
This South End breakfast-and-lunch spot delivers the most flavorful corned beef of the bunch, thickly sliced and pleasantly salty. But the sandwich is served in slapdash diner style, with too-thin marble rye, too little dressing, and ho-hum potato chips and slaw. 429 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-536-7669.
There’s excellent raw material here — slabs of corned beef so thick and juicy they’re just begging to be made into corned beef hash for Sunday brunch. But despite the delightfully tangy sauerkraut and expert meat-to-dressing ratio, soggy slices of thin dark rye make the sandwich impossible to polish off. 31-37 Stuart St., Boston, 617-338-8586, jacobwirth.com.