Last week I stopped at Central Michel Richardto 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?
Has Michel Richard Set the Standard for D.C.’s Corned Beef Sandwich? was originally published by Washington City Paper on Aug 27, 2010