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MGM Roast Beef and Sullivan's Seafood - NE DC

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One hit and one miss in NE DC.

There are a few fresh-carved beef, ham, and turkey places in DC catering to the workaday lunch crowd. And then there is MGM, the cadillac of fresh carved sandwiches. This is a handsome place, where they care about every detail here and it shows. Aside form the usual suspects, they have brisket, a choice of beautifully made rolls, and toppings like cranbery chutney, fresh hot peppers, and horseradish sauce. They make turkey and rice soup and beans and rice every day, plus they have specials like black eyed pea soup and cream of crab.

I got the brisket. I ordered mine 'fatty' and it came with a thick slice, which I trimmed down with a knife. I got my toppings on the side. Everything about this place is quality, and the aroma is seductive.

Sullivan's Seafood features a half-pound crabcake with "Sullivan's surprise ingredient." That ingredient is shrimp. If you removed the pieces of seafood from the crabcake, they didn't taste much of anything on their own. The whole deep-fried concoction is pretty tasty, and it's a good sandwich. But not exactly a crabcake and the crab flavor is subtle at best.

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  1. I'll have to try the brisket at MGM. I never get past the roast beef.

    I'm pretty sure the crabcake is made from Sullivan's "seafood salad," just deepfried in cake form. Always on the lookout for a decent crabcake though. Can you recommend a better one in DC? All the ones I've had are heavy on the breading, overseasoned, or miniscule.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monkeyrotica

      Oohhs and Aahhs is my favorite. I have come to the conclusion that I prefer crabcakes with a bit of spice to them. It's not cheap or quick, but it is very fine. For a cheaper crabcake, I am down with Eastern Market.

    2. My experience with MGM was pretty much the same--an exceptionally good sandwich in a great setting. They should open a downtown location...it would have lines out the door.

      1 Reply
      1. re: shorty40cdm

        I agree about opening one downtown or in the triangle - I have only one client out this way but when i do a job out there I manage to hit MGM at least once....

      2. If you get a chance try their great breakfast offerings.

        1. Okay, so I think I'm going to go to MGM today for lunch, but what exactly should I get? The roast beef? The brisket? And either way, what bread/toppings/etc? Instruct me so that I might have a delicious meat experience, please :)

          9 Replies
          1. re: kallisti

            I don't think you can go wrong with either the roast beef or the brisket. All the roast beef needs is a little salt and horseradish. I get both on the kaiser roll. You don't want your bread to fall apart when you tear into that sandwich.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              Now you've gone and done it: heading over today for a roast beef!

              1. re: RobertM

                Why do I have to wait til lunchtime again? :)

            2. re: kallisti

              The toppings are free, so get a bunch of them and have them put on the side. I really liked the hot peppers and the cranberry chutney, but by all means sample the horseredish, and whatever else tickles your fancy. If you think you'd like some extra fat on your brisket, you can ask for some on the side as well (otherwise they'll probably just throw it away). Also, if you don't want "fries with that" they will substitute.

              1. re: Steve

                Well, how fatty is the brisket to begin with? Mind you, I still haven't decided between that and the roast beef.

                I had basically the most delicious brisket ever at Black's in Lockhart, Texas -- is it similar to fatty texas brisket?

                1. re: kallisti

                  I don't think they will charge you, so just ask if you can have some extra on the side. The brisket will be very lean.

                  This is not some kind of revelatory food experience, It is simply better than similar places in DC that do a good enough job for people downtown. It doesn't approach great bbq, a category in which I include Pioneer Pit Beef in Baltimore.

                  1. re: Steve

                    I see, thanks for the info!

                    I'm headed off! :)

                    1. re: Steve

                      okay, here i sit eating the roast beef sandwich, as i was afraid my brisket hopes might be too high.

                      what i got: roast beef, jus, onion roll, lettuce, tomato, mayo, horseradish.

                      what i think: good. unfortunately the rarest they had was "medium", and by the time i drove home (just 10 min), it had cooked through to brown. i'm enjoying the horseradish+mayo combo, and the roll is quite tasty. the combination is good, but now i know for next time to eat it there, as i want my roast beef as rare as possible. maybe it's better to go a little earlier, too, as then maybe the heat lamps wouldn't have cooked it more? not sure.

                      either way, solid, B+ sandwich, would like to see if it could get to an A or A- with beef rarer.

                      thanks for the thread, steve, i've passed this place a couple of times but would never have stopped there without your inspiration :)

                      1. re: kallisti

                        I would pass on the medium roast beef.

                        Traveling 10 minutes is about 10 minutes too far. But glad you liked it enough.

              2. What is MGM and where are MGM and Sullivan's? If you like a very good rare roast beef downtown the best I've found is Cafe Phillips (multiple locations). They make there own, it is really rare, and they make them to order, all for under nine bucks.

                1 Reply