Anatomy of a Dish: French Dip
Psst, some free advice from your friends at TT: Getting into Dirty French is easier than pronouncing "mille-feuille." Just go at lunchtime, when the food is more casual and the available reservations plentiful.
The newly launched menu is succinct, with a similarly eclectic approach to French food that you'll find at dinner (but sadly, minus those superlative chicken and crepes). Look no further than the sandwiches to catch the drift: There's a banh mi ($17) that veers into duck sloppy joe territory, made with duck confit, a smattering of pickled veg and foie gras (heavy on the foie) on soft sesame bread. The burger ($21), meanwhile, eschews beef for lamb and lettuce and tomato for bucheron and cumin onions.
But our favorite of the between-bread bunch is the Dip ($23), a version of the classic sandwich that, in true Torrisi boys fashion, incorporates a few welcome detours off the beaten path. Partner Jeff Zalaznick walks us through the elements of the messy-in-a-good-way sandwich, with which you'll want to request an extra napkin for mopping up any errant jus dribbling down your chin.
① The bread is one of a kind, a custom baguette made specially for the restaurant by Pain d'Avignon. It's lightly toasted before serving, and though it may be a touch chewier than we'd like, letting it bathe a little longer in the accompanying jus makes it easier to crunch through. Get it nice and soaked before taking your first bite.
② Au revoir, deli meat. To make the generous slices of roast beef that are draped onto the sandwich, top round is rubbed all over with black pepper and creole mustard, then slow-roasted for five hours until it's tender and rosy.
③ On this sandwich, dressings get a serious upgrade and add layers of tartness, heat and sweetness. The baguette is slathered with tart crème fraîche spiked with fresh horseradish, as well as a layer of caramelized shallots confited with 55-day aged deckle meat and chopped until it's practically in relish form.
④ Consider this the plate's liquid gold: a small bowl filled with jus for dipping, dripping and getting gloriously messy. That aged deckle meat comes into play again here, but this time it's the beef fat that's been cooked down with bones and onions for eight hours, until it's glistening and dark brown. You may find yourself dipping everything on the table into the little bowl—and that's okay.
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