Here’s what we like: beef and bread. The more of both, the better. Perhaps that explains our inordinate fondness for the French dip sandwich, which is, perhaps, one of the world’s great examples of simplicity and perfection: just roast beef on French bread with a side of the beef’s cooking juices for dipping. You can tart it up with cheese or what have you, but we prefer it plain and unadorned. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with us. Below, a rundown of Boston’s French dip options.
•The Classics: Like us, some restaurants like to keep it simple. Roast beef, bread, au jus. Perfect. For a simple atmosphere to go with the simple food, head to The Sevens. If you want to ogle drunkards whilst dipping, try The Rack or Kitty O’Shea’s. If you feel like paying extra for atmosphere, sample the $16 sandwich at Houston’s.
•The Slight Embellishers: A few restaurants manage to avoid going all-out with fancy toppings, but do introduce a little cheese into the mix. At Clarke’s Turn Of The Century, you can choose between American, cheddar or Swiss cheeses. At Dough and Doyle’s, it’s Swiss only, and SoHo and Tonic fill their sandwiches up with Monterey Jack.
•The Fully Fancified: Some restaurants add so much to the French Dip that it could be a whole new sandwich. At Grand Canal, the French dip features portabella mushrooms and onion. At Garden Of Eden, gruyere and caramelized onions join the roast beef. Finally, Vox Populi adds brie and roasted garlic. Craziness, we say, but some seem to like it.