Scanning The Menu: French Dip

Sometimes, you have cravings. We know this. Hence: Scanning the Menu, a new feature where the MenuPages Blog (and our trusty Find-A-Food search) will do all the leg work for you. Every week or so, we’ll highlight a particular crave-worthy dish and illuminate restaurants around the city where you can indulge in it. Suggestions always welcome. This week: French dip sandwiches.

Nothing says summer like a big greasy, cheesy, hot sandwich with grease on the side for dipping, right? Right?

In any event, the French dip is a favorite of many diners everywhere, but even though its origins are Californian, a good rendition can be hard to find. As a Chowhound points out, the seemingly simple sandwich is “too often ruined by fatty meat, thick cut meat, bad roll or bland Au Jus.”

The archetypal French dip consists of paper-thin slices of freshly-roasted beef, a hot and crusty French roll (though we prefer baguettes), and the ever-important au jus, fresh meat drippings from the pan. Cheese is optional, seeing as how it may start to resemble a cheesesteak before long.

So where to get the finest French dip in the City? Keep dipping with us, post-jump.

The Liberty Cafe ($12): The Cortland Avenue cafe takes on the FD from a modern standpoint. Keeping on their seasonal bent, the Liberty Cafe’s version is made with braised flat iron steak, fresh horseradish and baby greens.

Houston’s ($17): Don’t think of Houston’s as a chain, because even Times critic Frank Bruni thought it was pretty surprisingly impressive. You know what else is impressive? French dip made from prime rib and sliced paper-thin.

London Wine Bar ($9.95): You have to love a good sandwich at a good wine bar. Of course it comes with cheese. Cheese, wine. Get it?

Original Joe’s ($9.95): One of the city’s more traditional diners, Original Joe’s finally found a permanent home. For less than 10 bucks, you get a mound of beef and some steak fries on the side.

Pork Store Cafe ($6.60): This is our pick for a cheap, traditional French dip. Head to the Haight, grab a beer, have a sandwich, say hi to a 50-year-old hippie and enjoy.

[Photo courtesy: Roadfood]

Scanning The Menu: French Dip