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Oct 5, 2010 09:29 PM

Disappointed with the Beef French Dip Sandwich at Philippe or Am I Missing Something?

I've been to Philippe's about 3 or 4 times in the past several years, but for some reason, I've always ordered their French Dip Beef Sandwich and each time I've been disappointed.

When it comes to the juices the sandwich bread is dipped in, they just doesn't have the meaty flavor you'd expect or would want, which just leaves me with partially soggy bread. Also, the beef is usually a little dry, chewy and tastes unseasoned. Only the addition of Philippe's mustard gives this sandwich any oomph.

As for why I only ordered the French Dip Beef Sandwich, I think a part of me thought that was the specific dipped sandwich to order over all the other dipped sandwich choices. For some reason, I thought the Beef Sandwich was the first "dipped" sandwich that gave Philippe's the fame it has now and given its popularity, there must be something I'm just not getting. Isn't it amazing how something just sticks in your head, even it may be wrong? For all I know, that first dipped sandwich was pork.

I kept on thinking that if I tried it enough, I'd end up liking it more, but nope, no dice. That was obvious at a recent visit there where again, I was disappointed. I also wasn't that thrilled with the potato salad which had so much mayonnaise that you could hardly see the potatoes or the cherry pie, which had a filling that was too sweet and tasted like it came from a can.

After I uploaded my Phillipe photos to Flickr and posted them on my Facebook Wall, I posted a message saying that I didn't get the allure of the Beef Dipped Sandwich at Philippe. In response, a few of my Facebook friends gave me suggestions of other things to try on their menu, which included the:

* lamb and blue cheese double dip
* turkey double dip
* pork dipped sandwich
* macaroni salad
* coleslaw
* pickled eggs
* pickled pig's feet
* beef stew
* baked apple

Being from the Philippines, I'm definitely a pork kind of girl, so if I do make my way back to Philippe, that pork dipped sandwich with a side of pickled eggs and a baked apple might make up my three course menu. How about you? What do you like (or don't like) about Philippe? Do you think it's popular just because it's a classic restaurant icon that's been around for over 100 years or is their food actually better than I've experienced so far?

Philippe The Original
100 N. Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 628-3781

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Philippe the Original
1001 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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  1. I'm not sure the beef is supposed to taste "beefy" in the way a roast beef would. That's why they dip in the au jus and why those spicy mustard bottles are on every table.

    The French Dip at Philippes is sort of a creature all onto itself. It's a soggy, wet, sort of salty creation that's best appreciated for what it is -- a good vehicle to sop up au jus and hot mustard.

    And I find this true for all the iterations of their sandwiches -- be it beef, lamb, pork, or turkey.

    You're not supposed to innately like the French Dip (at least not in the same way that one would expect a near universal approval rating for things like ice cream or bacon). It's sort of nondescript in a very not so subtle way, if that makes any sense. It doesn't make a dramatic impression on your tastebuds, but there's something about that sandwich that *just* makes you want to finish it -- no matter what you have to do to get it all down. More au jus? Sure. More mustard? Check. Pickle spears? Soda? Check and check.

    I consider the Philippe's French Dip in the same category of foodstuffs as Cincinnati Chili, Beef on Weck Sandwiches and scrapple. Some like them, others not so much.

    If you like the soggy, squishy sort of salty tasteless denture-friendly texture of the french dip, then you'll love Philippe's. If you don't, move on. Life's too short.

    1. I was equally unimpressed with the beef. I might return sometime to try the lamb.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ns1

        for sure, the lamb -- my personal favorite -- tastes "lamb-y."

        1. re: Muskrat

          YES! Try the lamb...I like it MUCH better than the beef. (I've never had it with cheese; the lamb is good enough for me.)

      2. My experience at Phillipe.....

        The bread stinks and the au jus is weak. It wasn't worth the wait......and I tried the beef, pork, lamb and turkey.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fourunder

          One the same page - I just don't get Phillipe's...

        2. It's overrated. Get the lamb, it's easily better. Though nothing great. I do like their mustard though.

          7 Replies
          1. re: mdpilam

            Of course The Copy Cat, is overrated!! Cole's is the inventor and still serves the best beef French Dip in LA.

            1. re: reality check

              Philippe The Original invented the French Dipped Sandwich and serves the best French dipped sandwich in Los Angeles.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  "The Dip" has been gone for a goodly amount of time.

                  1. re: Hughlipton

                    Though the Hollywood & Highland location only just went under a few weeks ago.

                    1. re: wutzizname

                      I'm sorry. You referenced Sherman Oaks.

                      1. re: Hughlipton

                        the dip in sherman oaks is now the infield. they do still serve the pastrami dip though it's quite different from either phillipes or coles

            2. I was there once - a long time ago. I didn't get it either and have never been back.

              I make a far better french dip using prime rib leftovers. No comparison.

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                I your prime rib dip better (or as good) as the Houston's/Bandera version? They set the bar as far as I am concerned.