So this is waaaaay too much fun! We went to Cucina Di Paolo today and I am certainly glad that we did. Paul Wegner is actually Chef Paul. He comes to us from the famed Cottonwood Grill and the University Inn in Boise among other places. Mary Jean is one funny and talkative lady!

She keeps the restaurant “Happy” and “Joyous” and “Active”!! She also keeps the pastry cabinet full. She is the baker – and maker of the Chicken Pot Pie – while Chef Paul creates most of the other dishes. Look at their Web Site for more information. But let’s look at the real reason for going here. And that is: In Search Of The Perfect Reuben Sandwich in Boise.

And there are “ground rules”.

Reuben Sandwich
1. Reuben made with Corned beef
2. Rachel made with pastrami
3. Both made with
a. Toasted or grilled Jewish rye or Marbled rye
b. Kraut or slaw but with some type of cabbage
c. Meat – See above
d. Russian Dressing – usually home made
e. Grilled onion
f. Swiss cheese

So, what we “usually” call a Reuben, is actually a Rachael. But, I bet if you went into a restaurant and asked for a Rachael Sandwich, they’d say, “Huh?” And if they don’t, get one!

Robin did not particularly want a Reuben, so she went for the Mac and Cheese, real comfort food. And we both had an awesome House Salad with a Cucina House Vinaigrette. Awesome lunches. Mary Jean asked how Robin liked hers and I said, “We both thought it was very good.” Then she asked how I liked my Reuben and I said, “We both thought it was very good.” Then I ordered a big slice of Chocolate Cake and Robin wanted a piece of Red Velvet Cake. We took both as Take-Out.

Earlier, I said that Russian Dressing is used on a Reuben, or Rachael Sandwich. Try mixing mayonnaise, ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce and caviar. That’s all there is to it. So when someone tries to pass 1000 Island Dressing off as Russian Dressing, now you know better. If you would like to see our full critique of Cucina di Paolo, look at Our Critique. And don’t forget to look at Behind The Menu by Michael Boss. Behind the Menu can be found on Facebook or check the sidebar. Michael does an awesome job. Then too, look at the Cucina di Paolo web site.

Rated on 1 to 5-Stars, here is how we rate the three places in Boise that serve a Reuben Sandwich. 1-Star is enough for this year and a 5-Star is one that meets the criteria.
1. Barbaccoa – Big thick slabs of meat, no rye toast, they used bread, and soggy from an over abundance of kraut. No grilled onion. Rating: 1-Star
2. Donny Mac’s – Rye toast was weak on the rye, heavy on the 1000 Island dressing. Sloppy to eat because of the really wet kraut. The pastrami was good. Raw onions. Rating: 2-Stars
3. Cucina di Paolo – Yea! Russian Dressing. Good pastrami and not overly salty. Great kraut. Did not notice any grilled onion. Good rye toast, although it was Marble Rye. I would prefer a straight Jewish Rye, Deli Rye. I always like a good Jewish Kosher pickle with my Reuben. None of these places had that. Rating: 4-Stars

I was raised on the East coast. 20 minutes from South Philadelphia, 2 hours from Washington, DC and maybe 3 hours to New York City. All of these places had great Reuben Sandwiches. Can Boise do the same? You bet. I just have not found it yet. But Cucina di Paolo is close … very close. It’s like finding the perfect cheese steak in Boise. There is one place that we have found, but that’s for another blog post. Please do try Cucina di Paolo. It will be worth your trip. Check their menu out first so you don’t hold up the line trying to make a choice. Cheers!