French Dip – Roast Deli & Market, Barrington Ave, Brentwood

roast-frenchdipWhat’s the best French dip in Los Angeles? I have a particular affinity for the Frenchs dipped at both Phillipe the Original and Cole’s (in that order.) Some time ago I was surprised to learn that the general line on these establishments, at least in a certain crowd of Los Angeles eating enthusiasts, was that they weren’t that good. OK, sure, but far from the best French dip in town. So I’ve made it my business to try to find a representative sample of the sandwich. The early returns are in, and while I’ve yet to find a truly bad sandwich, most of them also aren’t great. The French dip is a pile of roast beef, some au jus, and generally some manner of horseradish or other peppery accompaniment. It’s delightfully simple and tough to screw up, which leaves it with a wonderfully high floor. But the fact that there isn’t a whole lot to it, which means it has a pretty limited ceiling. Which one is better than the other might just depend on the day, the context in which one eats it, or a host of other things that aren’t really about the sandwich itself. That’s not a tremendously satisfying conclusion, and it may be unfounded. Luckily, continuing research means eating more sandwiches, and I guarantee to you that I will do just that.

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