Arby’s was founded in 1964 with the desire to tempt consumers with something other than Hamburgers. It’s a window into what was available at the time that roast beef sandwiches were both a novel change and enough to propel a restaurant to moderate, then substantial success. I sincerely wish that I could consider this sandwich in that context, because by current standards it’s abysmal. Maybe that’s my fault, for selecting Arby’s classic offering instead of something new. I suspect, though, that the addition of three cheeses and bacon wouldn’t fix the underlying problem. The beef, which is apparently roasted in store and freshly sliced, tastes like it came out of a large can, with a white label reading “BEEF” in big block letters. I tried both the BBQ sauce and the “Horsey” sauce, a sauce ostensibly built around horseradish. I like horseradish and I think it’s underrepresented in American sandwich cuisine and so I had anticipating this sauce providing at least a few positive marks for the sandwich, no matter what else developed. Alas, readers, the Horsey sauce is…well, here’s how I picture it: Someone took a jar of mayonnaise and set it next to a jar of horseradish. They stared at both of them for a minute, maybe taking the jar of horseradish and pointing it at the mayo. Then they take the mayo and start doling it out as Horsey sauce. You could dunk your sandwich in the sauce and you wouldn’t approach a significant level of flavor, which is unfortunate. Horseradish is built around attacking the sinuses and if you dilute it to the level where you no longer have to be careful in its application you might as well not use it at all. The BBQ sauce I found a bit watery but basically inoffensive.
I ended the first Slummin’ It post with a hope that I would fine a really good sandwich where I was not expecting one. That is still my hope, but I now fear it may take much longer than I might have expected.