It's been a while since I've actually talked about a specific restaurant in here. But I had a great experience a couple of nights ago and wanted to share.
Christopher and I went out for happy hour (ostensibly) with La Blonde Inconnue, and met up at the Rye Deli. We've driven past in a number of times, and La Blonde walks past it multiple times each week, but Christopher and I had never been in.
Two things had made me want to go: 1) They have Reubens. And, although that would have been enough for me, 2) They have "Quebec style smoked meat" and Poutine.
This being the St. Patrick's Day time of year, I always crave corned beef. And if I'm not boiling my own, I tend to go out and find a good corned beef Reuben to satisfy that craving. So I figured this would be a good deal for me.
I checked it out in advance, and found that they have their own (small) parking lot. Which, considering where they are, is pretty incredible. And I was lucky enough to find an open space. (They have one space held as a handicapped space, and two spaces are 10-minute "carryout" spaces, so I was really lucky.)
They've got a nicely stocked bar, from which La Blonde and Christopher each had a signature "Honey Rye Old Fashioned." What impressed me about this - aside from the fact that the bartender was a serious muddler - is that they came in the correct size Old Fashioned glasses - not the usually monstrous Double Old Fashioned or "Rocks" glass. (Yes, I know that larger glasses could signify more booze, but most of the time they just mean more ice and lower quality alcohol. These smaller glasses were very perfectly sized - in a cool, retro sort of way.)
We munched from the Happy Hour menu, getting beer batter cheese curds (you could actually taste the beer in the batter!) which came with the house spicy brown mustard; and some house cut fries with sea salt (which were very good). The curds and fries both tasted great - although the curds were just a tad oily - but they were good enough that you can ignore that.
La Blonde splurged on a "Well Built Burger" which she made all the right "nummy" sounds while eating - even though the top bun was really tall. (I honestly thought they had sliced open a monster muffin and put her burger in it.)
Because my stomach can, sometimes, be a bit particular, I ordered a "Knife and Fork Reuben" (made with smoked meat - basically like pastrami) to go. It came in a sealed paper box (to keep the heat in), and we were on our way. At home - probably a good 20 minutes later, at least - the sandwich was still warm. It's served open-faced, and covers one central piece of bread, as well as a second piece of bread cut in half and attached as "wings."
What covers that? A MOUND of meat, sauerkraut, dressing, and a ton of cheese. All with a pickle spear and a cup of slaw (which, I have to admit, was a little too sweet for me) on the side. The sandwich was so good that I didn't even realize that I'd meant to have corned beef until I was about halfway through it.
We didn't have dessert (obviously), but the table next to us did, and everything looked amazing.
So... Do I recommend Rye? Definitely. The place is a good size. The staff is incredibly friendly. The food is traditional - but not traditional for Minnesota. I think that, when I go back, I'll probably make a deal with myself: If I find parking, I'll hang out for a while. If I don't, I'll take a 10-minute space and get carry-out. I'll be happy either way.
Oh. You can find them at: www.ryedeli.com.