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Where can I get the best French Dip sandwich in NYC?

Hi -

I am looking for a sit down restaurant, not a sandwich takeaway.

I used to like Les Halles version, but they have changed it now, (at least at the downtown location)and although they call it a French Dip - it's not - its a sliced steak sandwich with a side of brown gravy. Tasty, but not a real French Dip.

Please help!
I am on a quest!

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      1. re: Sneakeater

        Are reservations needed for lunch, or is walk-in doable?

          1. re: Sneakeater

            Awesome, thanks! I've never been there, and my teenage son is a burger fanatic; we've had Spotted Pig's a bunch, and I'm dying to give this a try. Is the consensus that the regular is preferable to the Black Label? The latter seems a bit frou-frou...

            1. re: howdini

              I prefer the Black Label.

              But it's almost, like, Not A Burger. It's so fatty, it's more like a mousse or something. The regular is more like a regular burger.

              It's not my money, so it's easy for me to say this. But I think if you and your son are only going to be there once, you ought to collectively try the Black Label.

      2. Nothing could possibly be as good as Philippe's in L.A. The French dip beef is amazing. The lamb is even better. Second best is the Buffalo NY specialty beef on kummelweck. Again, nothing like it in NYC. If there is, somebody please tell me!

        18 Replies
        1. re: HippieChick

          I waited about an hour on line before I got to place my order at the counter at Philippe's......got three sandwiches.....beef, pork and lamb. All very good, but nothing I would classify as exceptional......except the hot mustard.

          1. re: HippieChick

            HippieChick- Mile End has a Beef on Weck listed on their menu...I intend to try it along with their poutine this weekend. I agree there is nothing like a Beef on Weck from Buffalo I'm anxious to see how it compares.

            1. re: HippieChick

              oh, lol - I don't know why I thought you were talking about somewhere in Los Angeles (Phillipes) that didnt exist here in NYC - I see there is a branch in NYC

              Someone at work was just flabbergasted that I havent heard of it...I am out of the loop...

              Thats a 3rd for my list!

              Thanks HC

              1. re: NellyNel

                Isn't Phillipes in New York a (terrible) (expensive) Chinese restaurant?

                1. re: Sneakeater

                  LOL
                  You are correct!

                  I went back to Google, and realized Phillipes the French Dip place IS only in LA
                  :(
                  **sigh**

                  So, Phillipes is the originator apparently, of the FD.

                  I looked at their web-site, and I want to fly to LA tonight!
                  They don't give you a side of Au Jus, they actually do *dip* the sandwich!
                  You can get it once dipped, twice dipped or "wet"
                  Wow.
                  I think I'd get it twice dipped...

                  1. re: NellyNel

                    You should go out to Brennan & Carr or Roll 'n' Roaster deep deep in Brooklyn.

                    I'm not saying they're great. I'm not saying the meat isn't an unpleasant and vaguely suspicious shade of gray.

                    But they are what we have here for a beef & jus culture.

                    1. re: Sneakeater

                      Wow - Roll 'n' Roaster!!!!
                      Wow!
                      I'm from Brooklyn, so I know it well...
                      God, I haven't thought about RnR in YEARS!!
                      It was pretty good, you are right!
                      I'm almost surprised it's still there....Do they still do a great sweet potato?

                      1. re: NellyNel

                        Things change slowly at RnR.

                        (Did you know they had an East Village branch for a couple of years?)

                          1. re: NellyNel

                            Maybe like four or five years ago? Maybe a little longer ago. But not much.

                            1. re: Sneakeater

                              Wow. Eight years ago. (Time flies when you're old.)

                              It opened up the same week as Blue Hill at Stone Barns!

                              1. re: Sneakeater

                                I ate a LOT from Roll-N-Roaster, and was so very sad when they closed. It wasn't on a Philippe's level, which I still maintain is fabulous (and so do all the nearby passengers when I whip out my nice double-dipped lamb sandwich on the plane home), but it was pleasing in a very, well, pleasing sort of way.

                                Roze, I'll try Mile End's beef on weck as well...but you probably do need to be in Western NY to get the true experience. My favorite, surprisingly, isn't in Buffalo but in Olean about 60 miles south, place called Beef 'n Barrel. Sublime.

                                1. re: HippieChick

                                  Hey, the existing Roll-N-Roaster is still only a subway ride away.

                                  (OK, a looooonnnnnnngggggggg subway ride.)

                                  1. re: Sneakeater

                                    But in the summertime Sheepshead Bay/Manhattan Beach are lovely, so it's worth the trip.

                                    1. re: ellenost

                                      YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  2. re: HippieChick

                                    OMG I dream of the Roast Beef dinners from Beef and Barrel! With that amazing gravy....I need to plan a trip just to get back there.

                                    1. re: roze

                                      If you go, let me know. I'll ride shotgun and pay for the gas!

                2. re: HippieChick

                  Haven't had Philippe's but the lamb dip at ilili is great.

                3. I had a peek at a photo of Minettas French Dip, and it actually looks quite pedestrian ...but looks can be deceiving - I know!
                  If I do go there, it would be hard not to order the burger, (and the bone marrow...and the pasta dish, and the beets - all of which look amazing!!)but I guess we'd have to get one of each!!

                  1. The french dip at Defeontes on 3rd and 20 is unreal.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: princeofpork3

                      Eh - I know Defontes has great sandwiches - BUT - I don't see proper French Dip on the menu...

                      "20. Hot Roast Beef roast beef, fresh mozzarella, fried eggplant, natural jus"

                      Hoboken has a few places famous for their Hot Roast Beef with Mozz. sandwiches...when I finally tried one - I was thoughoughly unimpressed...almost thought it was gross. In my mind warm mozz and RB just do not compliment each other. Have you had the sandwich sans eggplant and mozz, Prince?

                      1. re: NellyNel

                        So funny you should say that. I always order mine without the mozz. I do like the egplant though. I also always get the Au Jus on the side, never purded on top.

                        1. re: princeofpork3

                          :)
                          lol - me too - Au Jus on the side!

                          I think I would love almost any sandwich with a slice or two of fried eggplant...but not on a RB sandwich...
                          But, all my life I have always liked bare RB sandwiches...
                          No nothin'!
                          (except salt, and depending on my mood - mayo)

                          Hillstone...hmmm - I'll have to check it out!

                          Thanks everyone - keep 'em coming!

                          1. re: NellyNel

                            My favorite RB sandwich growing up was, Roast Beef, Swiss, Cole Slaw and Russian Dressing. Just awesome.

                        2. re: NellyNel

                          I love me some defontes but i just dont think this is their best sandwich. the couple times ive tried it i felt like it really needed salt (and when i put the salt on it it was good, but not amazing - which is why i go back for the steak pizzaolo, firehouse, peppers and egg, or nicky's secial or valentino if i want a cold sandwich)

                          1. re: tex.s.toast

                            Love the firehouse but the Broccli Rabe has too much garlic in it for me. I swap it out for the hot salad.

                            1. re: princeofpork3

                              the hot salad is really good - my office is no longer so close but i had taken to asking them to very briefly nuke the rabe for me - not to heat it up but just because i found it excessively cold - never had an issue with the garlicy-ness.

                      2. My vote goes to Hillstone.....they use Prime Rib

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: fourunder

                          Nelly Nel its actually opposite: its the burger at Minetta that's pedestrian, albeit very rich, and the lunch-only roast beef that's exceptional. It was a while ago and I can't recall details, but the beef wasn't just grey-brown protein piled into a roll -- it was stand-alone tasty. The roll had perfect give to crunch ratio. And the au jus was on the side for dipping, as it should be, and rich, as it should be. Fries were good. And the scene was vibrant but not unbearable as it can be in the evening. I typically don't subscribe to buzz dishes: they're usually hop-on-the-bandwagon internet and news media creations. But the Minetta french dip justifies the press.

                          1. re: Skillet Licker

                            Oh, thank you Skillet!!
                            I like the detailed account...Especially glad to know the bread is good.
                            I was looking at pics on Yelp, and it looked so bla...and mostly because the bread looked really lame.

                            Hillstones FD does look good...I may have to try both!

                            1. re: NellyNel

                              I think Hillstone was f/k/a Houstons, and agree that the French Dip was wonderful.

                              1. re: ellenost

                                Yes, ellen, it was - oh great good to hear!!

                                1. re: ellenost

                                  yes, Houston's or Hillstone (when did the name change?) has a wonderful French dip...

                                  1. re: Yaxpac

                                    Rumor has it that they changed some of the restaurants to Hillstone from Houston's to avoid putting calorie counts on their menus.