Posts Tagged ‘Portland French Dip’
( 5th and Oak St., downtown Portland, OR)
I’ve been blessed to have lived in some of the great food cities of the world; and there’s always at least one local favorite I miss when I have moved away from those burgs – Italian beef from Chicago, po-boys from New Orleans to mention two.
Heating roast beef correctly in au jus is an art form, if the temp is just a 1/10th of a degree too hot (it seems to me) it’s easy for your beef to end up curled and chewy. Many in Portland have tried to master the art of the basic dip sandwich, purportedly invented in Los Angeles at either Cole’s or Philippes, both of whom claim bragging rights.
In both Chicago and New Orleans, who has the best beef dip (respectively, “Italian Beef” or “Roast Beef Po-Boy”) can lead to heated arguments, if not downright brawls.
In Portland, there can seem to be no question, the title goes to “Wagsy’s Hot Beef Sandwiches”, a cart at SW Fifth and Oak. I’ve tried the rest, and now I’ve found the best.
These guys have created a menu based around different variations of beef dip, and after the first bite of the “Chi-Town”, I was hooked. An ample quantity of quality, thin-sliced roast beef, on very fresh bread, served “wet”, and in beef dip terms, that means the loaf is dipped in the au jus slightly for a taste and texture sensation.
The home town version in Chicago is highly flavored with garlic and herbs, but Wagsy’s have toned this down, I suspect, for a wider audience, and for my palate, it’s just perfect.
For five bucks, it’s a very filling sandwich, and it comes with a small ramekin of a vegetable medley (giardiniera) which you may dress the sandwich with if that’s your preference.
A nice finishing touch is provided with a wet nap and toothpick taped to the sandwich box.
Wagsy’s offers some other interpretations of the dip, a Philly style, and a BBQ one, as well as a veggie choice.
Good job guys. You’ve a winning combination. I can easily see a leap to multiple city brick and mortars in your future. Find Wagsy’s on Facebook, too.
Wagsys Hot Beef
Portland deal maker attorney William Du Val and I had scheduled on of our regular “lunch conferences”, and today we hit Lucy’s Table in the Uptown neighborhood of Portland.
Lucy’s has been around awhile, and constantly gets rave reviews, tho often the reviews have to do with the “romantic ambiance” as much as the creative cuisine.
Portland is an ultra-casual town, and when one dines out in cut-offs and flip flops, one can probably find “romantic ambiance” at IHOP. I guess.
An open room, with a small bar, Lucy’s is well appointed, but at the same time, there is lots of glass, so today, in the bright light, romance eluded me. (smiley face).
Lucy’s describes themselves thusly: “Hybrid tastes of Morocco, Spain, Italy, Greece and Asia and freshly prepared with fresh northwest meats and seafood.” And they hit the mark every time.
Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu, and when he didn’t know an answer, he quickly got one from the kitchen. Du Val went with the burger, and pronounced it spectacular. I would have echoed his order, but passed on the burger when I saw these three words: “whole wheat bun.”
Nah, not for me.
So I went with the French dip, because the menu description included one of my favorite words, “baguette.” It was described as roasted rib-eye with horseradish sauce and jus. It was damned near perfect, tho I would have preferred (and paid for) a double meat portion.
The house-made (regular) fries, ala carte, were perfect, and came
with a whole grain mustard aioli. I boldly went for the ‘chick pea fries’ because I had never heard of these before, and the server described them as chick pea flour, allowed to set up, cut into strips, and deep-fried. They were accompanied by harissa aioli, which was very interested. I liked these, even tho they have the texture of an extruded potato product, but granted, a lot of people like that.
As Mrs. BDB often brings me home treats, it was my turn today, and I took her the Butternut Squash Soup with Truffled Creme Fraiche, and a slice of the flourless chocolate cake. No report on those yet, but I do hear chewing noises from upstairs!
I am sure they were both spectacular. I’m eager to return to Lucy’s Table, something I don’t say that often in Portland.
But I’ll go at night, when it’s dark, seeking out that romantic ambiance.