French Dip Sandwich

At one time the French Dip was an iconic dish of Los Angeles, where it was created. It now is widely known, especially west of the Mississippi, where its aliases include wet beef and beef Manhattan. The beef is warm, sliced thin, and bunned in a torpedo roll. (Lamb, chicken, and pork are alternate meats.) Hot mustard or horseradish also is part of the presentation. What distinguishes a French dip from such regional comparables as the upper Midwest’s hot beef and New Orleans’ roast beef and debris is that natural beef gravy, known by the curious non-noun, “au jus,” is served alongside the sandwich in a cup for pouring or dipping. Despite that fact, Philippe the Original, which claims to have invented it, does not serve gravy on the side. Instead, it moistens the roll with gravy before the sandwich is assembled and (optionally) moistens it again once it is put together (known as double-dipping). Philippe’s story of genesis is that back in 1918, a cafeteria counterman – or possibly proprietor Philippe Mathieu – was preparing a roast beef sandwich for an impatient customer. The sandwich slipped out of its maker’s hand into the gravy trough. Rather than wait for another one to be assembled from scratch, the customer said, “I’ll take it just like that.”

Restaurants With This Dish

Tommy's Joynt BBQ Brisket
Tommy’s Joynt

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Thunderbird Restaurant

ORDERVILLE, UT

Vince’s Spaghetti

ONTARIO, CA

Philippe the Original

LOS ANGELES, CA

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