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The Early Word on On Rye

“I got the classic Reuben and it was sandwich perfection”

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On Rye’s Wagyu Corned Beef Rueben
Scott Suchman

On Rye, a modern and healthier take on the traditional Jewish deli, debuted in a 2,550-square-foot Chinatown space just over a week ago.

The restaurant, which got its start as a stand in Nats Park, comes from founder Ilyse Fishman. Vegetarian offerings include a smoked beet Reuben and oven-roasted veggie latkes, while other menu items include Wagyu corned beef and pastrami, babka French toast and babka ice cream sandwiches, and of course, matzo ball soup. Come for classic egg creams, too, plus canned wines, beers, and even champagne. Read on to hear what the customers are saying, just 10 days in:

The Great News: Facebooker Hilary Cara Chattler experienced a “Great atmosphere, great service, great food and good portions. The meat, bread and toppings are all great quality.” [Facebook]

The To-Go News: Facebooker Katie Schulte picked up carry out for lunch and “had to share how WONDERFUL everything was from the service, to the AUTHENTIC food quality, portion sizes and the nice carry out bags to top it all off!” [Facebook]

The Classic Jewish Deli Order News: Facebooker Mathew Brown got the classic Reuben and “it was sandwich perfection. Warm and delicious corned beef on perfectly toasted marble rye.” Yelper Jessica R. got the reuben with pastrami, and “bread was gorgeously toasted, the meat was fine quality, and the kraut blended in there perfectly.” The Washingtonian describes “modern versions of the classics—you can get Wagyu pastrami on gluten-free bread, or opt for five variations on a Reuben (two of which are vegetarian).” [Facebook, Yelp, Washingtonian]

The Veggie News: Yelper Emily P. thinks the Crispy Cauliflower “bursted with unique flavors and a tangy secret sauce. Normally when I eat a vegetarian sandwich, I get turned off because of the overcompensation of grease and salt. But this generous serving had virtually no greasy residue and was delicious” and Mike M. says “the pickled vegetables that came with the sandwiches could not be more delicious.” [Yelp]

The New Yorker News: Zagat gives props to Fishman’s New York background: “She draws on her heritage as well as her time spent working at Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York to bring DC something we can all agree this city sorely needs — more decent delis.” [Zagat]

The Bigger Is Better News: Yelper Austin G. wasn’t pleased with portion sizes, especially the $14 wagyu pastrami sandwich: “For that price, I assumed I'd be getting a sandwich piled high with pastrami like Katz Deli in NYC. That was not the case. There were just a few layers of thin meat allowing the bread ratio to overshadow the other flavors” and while the babka ice cream sandwich “was really good, for $6, I'd expect more.” [Yelp]

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