Rubin’s RuebenPosted by Helen Fernandes on Sunday, April 24th, 2011
Tags for this Article: Carnegie, corned beef, deli, delicatessen, diner, jewish, Katz's, pastrami, Rueben, rye bread, sandwich, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, Yiddish
Started by Brad Rubin, a native Chicagoan with a soft spot for casual family dining and diners of yesteryear, Eleven City Diner takes great pains to create the atmosphere of an authentic Jewish delicatessen/ diner in the vain of the greats like Katz’s and Carnegie in New York City. Along with his parents helping out, the kitsch décor with it’s paintings of rabbis, black and white photos of old Jewish comedians and a map of the US (made with Yiddish words that spell out friendly terms in English in the glass reflection it faces), all add to the fun, laid back vibe that radiates in this family friendly place.
While the atmosphere is dead on, some of the dishes fall short and can be bit pricey. The matzo ball soup for instance is not the best I have ever had and that should be the cornerstone of a great Jewish deli in my view. However, there are a few dishes that truly knock my socks off every time we go. One is the Rubin’s Rueben. A sandwich served open faced with your choice of corned beef or pastrami (I have the pastrami) with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and 1000 island dressing piled on top of toasted rye bread, is a taste explosion in your mouth. Hard to stop eating once you have started, the sauerkraut is not too tart or over powering and the 1000 island dressing compliments the pastrami really well. Since they toast the bread it stays crunchy even though it is the foundation for this massive pile of yumminess. Also delicious is their French toast, which they make with challah bread. Thick pieces of French toast come out light and fluffy and are served with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar or berries, coconut shavings and real maple syrup. It is really a feast for the taste buds.
All in all the service at Eleven City Diner is pretty good, the owner is approachable and seems authentic in wanting to share with you the experience of eating at a “real” Jewish diner.