Braised Short Rib – Little Chef Counter, N San Pedro Sq, San Jose, CA

Little Chef Counter is part of San Jose’s San Pedro Square Market, a bid to create something of a public square in downtown San Jose. It sits to one side of a large open room, surrounded by other similar establishments and with little to it but a kitchen and a counter. I mean similar establishments in that they also sell food, because I would speculate that when it comes to quality Little Chef Counter is in a class of its own. Simply put, this is the best non-ethnic sandwich I’ve had in San Jose. That’s not an attempt to damn with faint praise, it’s just that most of San Jose’s stand out sandwiches are of the bánh mì or torta variety. There’s plenty of competition with standard American fare, though, and Little Chef Counter comes out pretty far ahead of any sandwich I’ve had thus far. The sandwich is braised short rib, crispy onions, a horseradish slaw and a cheese sauce. The short rib is juicy and flavorful, a succulent, tender base for the rest of the sandwich. The slaw is crunchy and has plenty of zing via the horseradish, the it joins the fresh fried onions as a wonderfully crispy counter to the texture of the  short rib. Layered on the bread under the short rib, the cheese sauce is rich but never overwhelming, in no risk of drowning out the other ingredients. I have nothing but praise to offer this sandwich; it’s wonderfully balanced and tremendously flavorful. Little Chef Counter may be a sparse in appearance, but the sandwich they put together was a grand success.

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