After visiting his grandparents in Manhattan every Sunday, Manny Rosenberg would stop by the local Jewish deli for a sandwich. “That was our fast food,” he says. “It’s not like what we have these days, where there are so many different concepts. [The deli] was the place you get your sandwich, as opposed to a burger.”
Rosenberg opened Reuben’s Deli and Bar late last month in the neat little Paddington tenancy once occupied by Little Social. Co-owned with his wife Peggy Rosenberg, Reuben’s serves the authentic sandwiches, subs and hoagies the couple grew up eating in New York.
“It’s kind of how you remember your grandparents in a lot of ways,” Manny says. “My experiences with delis are my personal experiences with my family and friends.”
Manny himself grew up moving around an Italian neighbourhood in Queens, with Italian and German delis always within walking distance of his home. “[Reuben’s] is closer to an eclectic mix of all those different styles of delis we experienced,” he says.
As you’d expect, the signature dish is a Reuben sandwich on grilled rye, but built around pastrami rather than corned beef and layered with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing.
“About a dozen years ago when I got into smoking and curing, I set it upon myself to try and replicate what I can get from New York,” Rosenberg says. “[If I could] I’d take my fresh pastrami, wrap it in a sandwich and plop it on a table among the top five or six [New York delis], I would hold my head up high. I think I would represent just fine.”
Other traditional sandwiches on the menu include chopped liver, pastrami on rye and braised brisket. Elsewhere there are charcuterie boards, burgers served on potato buns, and plates of lamb shanks and Italian meatballs. It’s all washed down with eight beers on tap, and a neat list of wines and classic cocktails.
Reuben’s fit-out has subtly updated Little Social’s sophisticated mix of tiles, and VJ and brick walls. Bar tables sit beneath a gallery of New York images while a large open window at the back of the venue overlooks the quiet suburb.
Reuben’s Deli and Bar
1/208 Given Terrace, Paddington
Tue to Thu 7am–9pm
Fri & Sat 7am–10pm
This story was originally published on June 19. Menu items may have changed.