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Mar 25, 2005 07:35 PM

Phillipes review

  • h

I got stuck at jury duty downtown this week and I must say that the only redeeming factor was phillipes. After hearing about the many wonders of Phillipes, I went 3 times to try and tackle all that their menu has to offer.

1st Visit: I had to go with the classic french dip but I couldn't resist getting a slice of jack on top. OUTSTANDING. If you get the roll double dipped though, it can go to mush on you. The beef is sliced thin and they put enough of it on there where you don't feel cheated. I was a little dissapointed that they don't give you pickles with it but still worth it for my $5. Got a side of their potatoe salad too (80 cents) and that was also great. Creamy, flavorful and they cooked the potatoes well. Many places undercook the potatoes and I feel it ruins the meal.

2nd Visit: I went with the Lamb sandwich. Big mistake. The lamb was fatty and not tender. Generally I love lamb but I would never do it again at this place. Got a bowl of their beef stew (also $2.50-good value) and it was average. Nice portion but the flavor just wasn't there. I flet like they just put the meat and the vegtables in a pot of boiling water until everything was soft. The broth had very little flavor. The donut I had for desert was exceleent though.

3rd Visit: Had to go with the classic with jack again (double dipped- it's ok if you eat fast) and I was intrigued by the chilli. While the stew left a lot to be desired, the Chilli (with beans) was great. Great flavor, not runny, firm beans. You have to ask for cheese and onions though.

Recap: Pros: Beef sandwich, potatoe salad, chilli.
Avoid the beef stew and the lamb sandwich.


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  1. Funny, a lot of us love the lamb. Which is why posters shouldn't necessarily ask a board full of strangers what to order at a place, I guess.

    Did you try the mustard?

    7 Replies
    1. re: TE

      I went for the first time last weekend, and, not being a big fan of sandwiches in general, was very pleased. I had the lamb, double dipped, and it was delicious. Not too fatty, but tender and savory and there was a good amount of it. The mustard was terrific - so much so that at some points I'd used so much I had to pinch my nose until the burn subsided. But what a good burn it was. They sell it at the little candy counter by the door, for a very reasonable $3 a jar.

      1. re: mtyf

        What they sell in the jar does not in my opinion come close to what they serve in the restaurant. I am one of those who always looks for a new burn thrill (nexium is great!!!!!). The closest that I have come to duplicating that burn is from the Russian delis. Try Stolichnaya mustard "extra hot". Yeah, and I chew the red peppers in Kung Pao just so my ulcers will remember that they've never done anything for me and I aint going to do nothing for them. Except the nexium that is.

        1. re: Hugh Lipton

          Can you recommend a good Russian deli, or would any of them stock the Stoli mustard?

          By the way, there's an antibiotic therapy for ulcers that works wonders.

          1. re: Jen

            There is a Russian Deli I believe named Chenar on Laurl Canyon and Riverside in a small strip mall on the northeast corner across from Gelson's Market. That is where I got the mustard and glad I did. Thanks for the info on the therapy I'll give a look.

        2. re: mtyf

          As I was on Ventura Bl today, I whizzed past a place called The Dip which purportedly makes French Dips. Anyone been?

          1. re: mc

            Yes, the Dip is actually pretty good, yet by its physical nature, does not have the allure of Phillipes, with sawdust, history, etc., the makings of every good sandwich?!!! At $4.95 as I recall, the sandwiches include lamb, pot roast, pork, turkey, among others. Add their horseradish based mustard, and you can approximate the downtown experience, and save the drive. Definitely worth the stop.

        3. re: TE

          Yeah, I tried the mustard. Ohhh, It's serious. They should really warn people about how hot it is. I witnessed several first timers get stung.

        4. People go to Phillipe's for lunch (and sometimes "dinner" before a Dodger's game), but really if you don't go for breakfast you are really missing out.

          Don't get too excited, the breakfast items aren't spectacular (although it's hard to beat a $0.09 cup of joe), but it's the company and ambiance that make Phillipe's special in the early morning hours.

          Get there at 5:50 a.m. right when the place opens up, order up a cup of joe, maybe a cinnamon roll, fried egg sandwich, or one their combo plates and grab a seat downstairs by the cash register. Then just listen to the "regulars" jive on and on.

          They'll give you a history lesson on historic downtown LA if you eavesdrop, ahem, listen carefully and long enough ... You'll learn about Olvera Street's demise and rebirth (incl. the Yale Puppeteers), and other tidbits like the transformation of Union Station ... Not all of it's fact, per se, but enough of it is to make for interesting conversation and a lesson in our little town this side of the Pacific.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipse dixit

            I did try it for breakfast, primarily because of my total frustration at the watery, mealy, flavorless ham steak at the Pantry. Phillipe's ham is much better, with a good carmelization and deep ham flavor. Not as good as Pat's Topanga Grill, though. The toast and potatoes, though, don't come anywhere close to the grilled sourdough and well-done potatoes at Pantry. But parking is free vs. $1 at Pantry.

          2. Being a huge fan of Phillipes (the pork is my favorite), I must admit that occasionally I get a "hit r' miss" sandwich. On a recent visit, the beef dip was very chewy and not what I'd call "par." But it happens, and the next time I go in it will probably be as good as ever.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cagey
              rabo encendido

              Re "hit or miss": Excellent point, cagey. I've had similar experiences at Phillipe's.

              And for precisely that reason, I encourage Hungry Guy to give that lamb sandwich one more try. Pray for a hit (which it frequently is for me).

            2. On Fridays, Phillipes make an amazing New England Clam Chowder.

              1. Woohoo! My grandfather used to take my Dad to Phillipes down by Olvira Street when he was younger and right about they time when you think that going ANYWHERE with your grandparents was better than going to Disneyland, Gramps took my sister and I downtown to eat. I refused to let the little mexican lady at the counter dip my nice pefrect white bread into that nasty looking box of juice! I begged and pleaded with my grandpa not to dip my perfectly good sandwhich into the au ju! Since I was Grandpas little angel/devil, I got my way and had a delicious yet dry sandwich. It got better as I scarfed down 2 pickels and what I thought was the COOLESt looking egg ever! As I have grown up. it wasn't until I was 23 that I finally let thgat very same little mexican lady dip (though very lightly!) my bread! We have gone there countless times as a family, I have introduced my husband to it, and I have even taken my 2 VERY picky (no sauce Mommy!) children to it! We tried to get my Moms side of the family into it but to no avail! My gramps has gotten my a jacket that still hangs in my closet! My sister and I mail each other the receipt s when we go, a sort of way to say Nah Nah Nah, I went and you didn't! Nevermind we are 25 and 22 years old! Now that I live in texas there are nights when I am positivly drooling over the hunger pains that scream GET ME A DIP AND PICKLED EGG NOW!! I have gone as far as to inquire shipping a sandwhich to me! Although I am aware that there will come a time that Grandpa will no longer be able to take me to Phillipes for a french dip, too old to drive but too stubburn to admit it, I am sure that he won't say no when I tell him that this time, I am taking him to Phillipes!