Photo by Roberto Rodriguez

Blues City Deli

For many years, I was a 7th Street Italian man. Call it a character flaw. I want a sandwich? I default to Italian meats. Lately, though, my go-to has been the Prez Reuben, a glorious mess on grilled rye bread. Vince Valenza uses pastrami, not corned beef, but keeps the sauerkraut, which I suppose makes it half-Reuben, half-Rachel. Wherever this arrangement of pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing ends up on your own sandwich taxonomy, it delivers an ideal balance of salt and fat, tang and funk. The Prez Reuben is as much a testament to Blues City Deli’s enduring popularity as the inevitable lunch-hour line out the door. Even after a decade, I keep finding another reason to love the place.

Opened: 2004

Must order: Prez Reuben ($7.50 small, $11 large)