Saturday, December 17, 2011

French dip review: Redmond's Bar and Grill, Redmond, WA Smoked Onions Prime Rib Swiss, 4.5 of 5

The Redmond's Bar and Grill Menu cover.

The bar with big screens above.  Our friendly bartender Charlie was good and reportedly heading back to Hawaii.  Good luck, Charlie!!!

Behind the stranger's head in the bottom left of the frame you will see "Christmas Lights", which is actually a stage where musical talent can play.  Pretty cool.  I guess the building that this restaurant is in is 108 years old!!!

The French Prime Dip: French roll, smoked  (NICE TOUCH)  onions, seared (NICE  TOUCH) Prime Rib and Swiss served with au jus and fries or salad.  $13.  I went with the salad.

Here's the dip and you can see part of the salad.  Medium rare Prime Rib, and you can see that the greens are nice and dry.

Another view of the sandwich.  Sorry, my other pictures of the plate didn't turn out.

I was a real fan of this pen, BTW.  I honestly thought about either stealing it or asking the owners if I could have it.  Here they are on Amazon for your enjoyment.

The Review of the French dip sandwich and such:

Au jus amount: 5.  Very large.  They gave me a bowl of it.  Great (see Adam's bowl at Gere-a-Deli for comparison's sake. 

Bread color: Whitish

Bread texture: 4.  Absorbent

Overall sandwich size: 4.  Big

Bread toasting: 4. Well-toasted

Salad comments: Nice looking with very cute--extremely thin--sliced carrots

Salad dressing: Bleu cheese that was really garlicky, great and flavorful.

Salad greens: Very great.  Dry greens.  Gourmet greens.  

Other salad toppings:  Cukes and HALF-GRAPES!!

Au jus temp:  2.5.  Additional jus was not steaming.

Bread/bun size:  Wide

Meat done-ness:  5.  Medium rare with visible pink.  I prefer to see some pink on my Prime Rib...

Sandwich characteristics:  Soft, good, not greasy

Bread characteristics:  Really good 

Au jus characteristics:  "Oilyish" but good, authentic jus

Salad description:  4.5.  Sweet good, half-Grapes on salad, nice, dry, fresh, hearty, and CHEWY (which I think is something you want!!!) greens...lots of red (which I think of as nice and fancy/gourmet) greens.

Other sides:  A nice Kosher-style pickle spear that was good.  I think this is a good addition to every French dip meal is a nice pickle.  As if the sandwich and jus weren't salty enough, right?!!  But I think because it is cool and crisp, it is very is the salad and that's why I typically choose it instead of fries, BTW.

Skewer type:  Fancy toothpicks

Other comments:  Smoked onions are a nice addition, had to order hot jus, which they brought out rapidly.  Jus can be TOO hot, BTW...  I burnt my tongue/mouth but it was better hot, so I was grateful.

Cheese comments:  Mild but good Swiss

Overall sandwich comments: 4.5.  GREAT flavor, the smokiness is a real winner.  Overall it's really good with big, soft, absorbent but not too soft bread.  The side-salad also really made this meal with its garlicky, creamy bleu cheese dressing, good greens, and cukes.  There were no "crunchies" (like croutons or sunflower seeds) on the salad but they were not needed with such good lettuce and cukes and thin carrots shreds.  Oh! and there was just a little bit of feta cheese on top of the salad which made it really good.  More salt but hey!  Hotter initial jus may have made this a five.  Additionally it is not exactly a "fancy" French dip like that at The Keg but it's real good and the smoked onions really make it interesting and unique.

Overall:  4.5.  Great experience, pretty crowded in there.  Friendly owner Tim and bartender Charlie.  Patrons seemed happy to be there and there was good ambiance.  It was crowded on a Wednesday night and my date and I had fun.

Editor's note about the score.  After later reflection, this sandwich really is as good as the dip at Canyon's restaurant that got a 5, maybe better.  We are in the process of recalibrating our scoring system.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

4 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Great) Awarded to El Gaucho for their French Dip Sandwich in Bellevue, WA on this 8th day of December, 2011 - Fine roast beef dip

Not my car.

The nice menu with The Brazilian Cowboy.

The view from our table.

Another view.

This was a special. Roast Beef Dip.  au jus and fries (I got a salad instead) $15

The menu and ice water.

Beer tastes good.

Tasty cheesy, buttery, garlic bread as a free starter.

The plate: pretty big sized sandwich (I'd guess 8" long), au jus that looked a bit "low" yet was enough, and a side Caesar salad.  Note the overflowing roast beef!!!

Very nicely toasted.  Fancy-looking bread, lots of roast beef.  No other flash and flair makes it what I would call a "Gourmet Classic".

Dark au jus with visible fat in it.

Restaurant - El Gaucho, Bellevue, WA
Restaurant Type - Fancy steakhouse
Meal - Lunch on a Thursday
Background - My buddy Ben D. recommended this dip so I went to get it!
Restaurant smell - Good and smokey, meat smelling like a nice steakhouse
Ambiance - Nice, formal, lunchtime, good music playing (first Jazz, then switched to Sinatra-style crooning)
Water delivery speed - Had some nice tasty ice water pretty much as soon as we sat
Table settings - very nice linens, well kept, fancy
Waiter and service - Very friendly and helpful.  He recommended a beer and listed a lot of beverage choices and ultimately sold me on the beer.  Well done, sir!  Also, my date was wanting tea and he brought out all of the tea options so she could assess and choose.
Beer - Good but could have been slightly colder.  It was a "Christmas Ale" from Jolly Roger.  Was sweet and full bodied but good and drinkable.
Free appetizers - They started us with free and very tasty cheesy garlic bread that was really good.
Meat - 4 of 5.  Really good, very tender roast beef that kind of melted in your mouth.  Flavor wasn't to die for and was served medium.  Very good overall.
Meat quantity - 5 of 5.  lots!!
Bread - 4 of 5.  Very nice looking, homemade-style bread that was well toasted.
Bread texture - Very good.  Crunchy on the toasting yet soft and absorbent.
Sandwich - No flash or flair on this basic dip besides its very nice, tender meat and it's toasted homestyle bread
Sandwich size - This was quite large.  I'd guess like an 8" sandwich overflowing with beef.
Other nice things - The served us three (small but really good, buttery, crispy) chocolate chip walnut cookies for free for dessert.
Salad and things - I ordered a Caesar that was pretty good but nothing to write home about.  Jessica did not love her side salad or her onion-fig-jam flatbread.
Au jus - 4 of 5.  Nice, dark, semi-sweet with visible fat in the au jus.  I feel like people should heat the ramekin so the au jus stays hot for a long time!
Au jus amount - looked like not enough but turned out being just fine: I ate a lot of the first half without it because it was pretty good and then got into it.
Overall - 4 of 5.  This is a very good "Gourmet Classic" dip in the sense that it is a basic dip (no cheese, onions, etc.) yet has fancier-than-average roast beef and nice homemade-looking bread that was really well toasted.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

3 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Good) Awarded to The Pumphouse for their French Dip Sandwich in Bellevue, WA on this 7th day of December, 2011 - Always a solid, consistent place.

The menu.

The menu items.

The scene from my table.

The large water.  Probably 25 - 30 oz.

The dip.  A classic.  Salad and fries.

  1. Which Meal - Lunch on a weekday with my friend Chris W.
  2. Establishment - The Pumphouse, a nice local bar in downtown Bellevue.
  3. Establishment Type -  Bar.  TVs, crowded.
  4. Restaurant Crowdedness - Crowded
  5. Menu Description - "French Dip Sandwich - Our fresh cooked thin sliced roast beef on a french roll with au jus or bbq sauce."
  6. Price - $10.99, includes salad and fries.
  7. Service speed - Fast
  8. Service quality - High
  9. Helpfulness of Waitress - Helpful.  I asked a question of whether to get the French dip (roast beef) or burger dip and she said that the French dip was "more popular".  French dip it was!!
  10. Water size - Large.  Bonus points!!!
  11. Sandwich size - Conservative but good enough.
  12. Dip Type -  A Classic
  13. Meat - 3 of 5.  Basic but good Roast beef.
  14. Au Jus - 4 of 5.  Good au jus.  Hot, dark, salty.  
  15. Au Jus amount - Good.  Enough au jus.
  16. Skewer Type - Fancy toothpicks.
  17. Other nice things - Lemon in water. Salad and fries included with the basic order.
  18. Salad Size - Good enough
  19. Salad taste - Good.  Good croutons, some little carrots.
  20. Dressing - Blue cheese.  Good enough.
  21. Restaurant Cleanliness - Good.  
  22. Bread - 2 of 5.  A basic (but good enough French roll, store bought).
  23. Bread toasting - Slightly toasted.
  24. Other Sides (French fries) - Good enough, crunchy fries.  Ketchup delivered in little metal container.
  25. Overall - 3 of 5.  It's a pretty good basic / classic dip!
  26. Reasons to go back - Good, crowded place with good service and very high quality, consistently very good food!  Good beers.