Young and Hungry

Has Michel Richard Set the Standard for D.C.’s Corned Beef Sandwich?

Corned Beef SammyLast week I stopped at Central Michel Richard to find out what happens when a master French chef  takes on a humble corned beef sandwich.

I was curious to see how the toque known for his creative spin on a Kit Kat bar (oh, excuse me, Michel's chocolate bar) would interpret the deli classic. The sandwich turned out to be traditional, but still featured the elevated execution one would expect when ordering a $17 dish.

With the exception of the rye bread purchased from Ottenberg's Bakery, the entire plate is produced in house and served with hand-cut french-fries.  Even the cucumber spear is pickled on site, but the real star is the corned beef.

The kitchen cures fresh briskets in a house-made brine before cooking the meat overnight at the laziest of simmers. It results in thick slices of deli meat with almost no discernible fat or gristle. They're exceptionally tender, too.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve eaten a number of corned beef or pastrami Rueben-style sandwiches marred by overly buttered bread or coleslaw and sauerkraut abuse, not to mention careless construction that ends in a greasy, soggy mess. I’ve heard that Pam Ginsberg up at Wagshal's delicatessen serves up a mean corned beef, but I want to eat my sandwich at a bar, not a deli counter.

Now I’m asking the readers of Young and Hungry, where do you go for a well-executed Reuben, a place that serves a cold bottle of beer and doesn’t break the bank? Or has D.C.’s corned beef sandwich standard been set by a Frenchman?

  • Native JD


  • monkeyrotica

    Two words: Deli City. Definitely a three napkin sandwich. You'll disgrace yourself. If they don't make the best reuben in DC, I'd like to know who does.

  • Keith B

    Woodside, if I'm up that way.

  • Anthony

    Dude really a $17 cornbeef thats just ridculous

  • Mike

    CF Folks

  • Ed Bruske

    You don't have to eat the sandwich at Wagshal's standing at the deli counter. You can just by the corned beef, take it home and make your own fabulous sandwich. We also serve it with our own homemade pickles:

  • Chris

    Always thought Breadsoda in Glover Park had a very good Reuben.

  • wdc

    Deli City. Star and Shamrock is a decent alternative for the evening hours. Central is delicious, but $17 for a sandwich is a once in a blue moon kinda thing, not a best corned beef in town contender.

  • Jason

    Pam Ginsburg works at Wagshal's Market. She's the butcher, and not at Wagshal's Delicatessen. Can I get a fact check please?!

  • Hand cut?

    Hand cut french fries? Are the fries individually cut by hand with a knife, or slammed through a fry cutting die with a hand activated lever? I suspect the later, which doesn't mean "hand cut."

    Hand cut...that's cute.