Sunday, January 22, 2012

5 of 5 DeliciScore™ (From Heaven) Awarded to Sunset Alehouse for their French Dip Sandwich in Issaquah, WA on this 22nd day of January, 2012 - Oh, yes! Oh, yes! Oh, yes!

Snowy night at the Sunset Alehouse in Issaquah, of the few places that was open tonight, and also a place that was recently recommended to me for their French dip.

They have TVs and it was pretty crowded in here; lots of families.

Totally random side note, but I noticed that their subtitle font is clearer and cleaner than I've ever seen; O technology how far you have come!!!

There it is, on their fresh sheet, the Jak's (they're operated by the same folks) NY Steak Sandwich.  "Lightly marinated & grilled, steak butter toasted roll, au jus.  $16.   Paired with a Russian River Damnation Golden Ale 12 oz. Btl. ~ California ~ $10."  I did both!!  Ordered it medium rare with a side salad with bleu cheese, per the usual.

There's the beer.  Really fancy if you read the bottle, HIGHLY recommended ($10 bucks for a bottle, though!?!  Holy cow!!!)

I'm no hand model, but you're supposed to pour it all careful-like, which I did.

Really nice looking and very drinkable, delicious, fine beer.  Served in a nice glass; fun to pour.

Jessica reported to me that there was a poster of 'David Lee Roth with 'assless chaps'' in the ladies room. I gave her the camera and sent her packing.  You're welcome.

The salad.  Pretty good.  Nothing too fancy but good.

The dip (Steak Sandwich) served.  Really nice looking bread, toasted.  Solid au jus, and a lot of steak in there, medium rare.  With a steak knife...  Fancy bamboo skewer type.

Yes, a LOT of meat here.  This thing is awesome!!!  And you can see how the beef juice drips into the bread but it didn't make it greasy...

The good bread and perfect medium-rare beef with STEAK BUTTER TOASTED ROLL.

The getting of the dip
This is from Jak's Steakhouse in Issaquah, the parent/sister restaurant of Sunset Alehouse, which is kitty-corner.  This dip rivals that of The Keg in the sense that it is very good and what I'd call "an easy 5" of 5 points.

Sunset has a standard roast beef French dip on their menu but I wanted to pay the extra $5 to this fancier one from Jak's, which was a special on their menu.

They give you a very large, full piece of really tender, delicious steak prepared how you like it.  They served me a perfect medium-rare.

The lettuce on the salad was semi-wilted but okay/good enough.  The bleu cheese dressing was runny and bitter but the salad was okay overall.  I'll give it a four.

Eating of the dip
This thing is tangy and juicy; an easy FIVE (5) of 5!!!  The bread is lightly toasted and has a beefy taste to it ("beef butter").  The bread and meat are the same soft texture, which is really good; it just goes to show how tender their very delicious steak is!!!  The bread was basic, soft, and toasted.  You can taste the barbeque on the steak in a good way; not overpowering, just there.  There was a perfect amount of au jus provided, which was smooth, good, and sweet beefy jus.  The sandwich has a dense, rich beef flavor that was so excellent.

Bread 5
Meat 6
Au jus 5
Overall, I want to give this thing a six but I'll give it a 5 to keep it real.  This is a a really delicious steak sandwich; my favorite yet!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Not Quite There) Awarded to Matts’ Rotisserie & Oyster Lounge for their French Dip Sandwich in Redmond, WA on this 11th day of January, 2012 - Give me a break.

Went out to lunch with some coworker friends, Joel and Leo, today.  Went to Matt's Rotisserie at Redmond Town Center because I hadn't had their French dip yet and was able to talk my guys into sitting through the review with me.  

About a month ago, I did go to lunch here with another coworker, Hansen, and he had the French dip, so I'd seen it and had the impression that he didn't think it was all that great, but I had to know for myself (and write a review!!!) 

The view from our table.  They originally sat us by the door, where this picture was taken, on a 35 degree day and we asked to be seated elsewhere away from the draft during busy lunchtime, which they promptly obliged.

Matt's is a nice little spot with a good vibe at Redmond Town Center.  I've been here for drinks and happy hour countless times and have had a lot of good times here.  They have good cocktails, wait staff, bartenders, and oysters.


The menu.
French Dip: Applewood rotisserie beef, sauteed red onion, swiss (forgot to capitalize) cheese and horseradish mayo on a sourdough roll with au jus for dipping.  Half $9 ~ Whole ~14.  I got the Whole based on the recommendation from the waitress that "she always gets the Whole".

Waitress said that it all comes "Medium well" and that it's the same beef product that they use for their tacos.  I was immediately not impressed.  I wondered if it would taste like taco meat, for example!!!

This sandwich is "fully loaded" (added this new term to the glossary): it has mayo, onions, Swiss cheese, and sourdough bread.  Due to the sourdough, and fancy toppings I would also refer to this sandwich as "gourmet".  The price for the whole (which wasn't all that huge of a sandwich, it turns out) is $14, pricey for non-Prime Rib.

They provide good, soft, salty, nicely-textured bread and butter as a free appetizer, which was a nice touch.

The bread and butter appetizer, which comes with all meals.  Great, fresh, soft bread and good butter.



The side salad with Bleu cheese dressing.  This picture makes it look like it might be good but I didn't even have a bite.  The lettuce was flaccid and you can see that the tomatoes are kind of translucent, which I wasn't digging and asked for it to be comped.  ...looks too moist and wet...ugh...

The salad was ok-looking at first glance but the lettuce was pretty white and "pithy" (Leo's word).  We were fairly critical of this salad and I decided not to eat it.  The greens look nearly fancy but I think they seemed old and didn't look all that fresh.  Flacid, aged.  Bad.

A warning about their pepper mill
Although a nice touch, their pepper mill was more like a pepper SHOWER that blasted pepper out at a wildly rapid rate.  If you weren't careful, you got way too much pepper on your food.  So, be ready to say "that's enough"!!!  ...Joel stammered and wound up with a ton on his salad.

The French dip, plated.  Good looking overall with the exception of the meat.  You can see the melted cheese.  The ratio of meat to bread was too much bread.  Fancy toothpicks.  The gray color of the meat and the out of whack ratio of meat to bread was off-putting and I immediately got a negative vibe.

Au Jus
The au jus was steaming when it came out, which is always important but the taste of it overall was ho-hum due to the the too-powerful flavor of the sourdough and horseradish.  Jus Score = 3.

The au jus: dark, steaming on arrival, had enough for the dense bread.

The bread looked really good: it was a nice, fancy golden brown color with little bubbles in it, perhaps a shimmer of being brushed with oil or butter.  It came skewered with fancy toothpicks.  The taste of the bread on the other hand was way too much for what should be a delicate sandwich.  The sourdough really made the sandwich taste sour and not all that good.  In fact, the overwhelming flavor of this sandwich is SOUR between the sourdough bread and horseradish mayo.  Fail.  Bread Score = 2.

The sandwich, which you can see isn't overly meaty with a lot of pretty dense bread.  There was enough au jus provided.

The meat by itself was fine.  It was good and crunchy, kind of chewy meat that seemed, if a bit greasy, probably from the cheese and mayo on it.  It's color was grayish brown and I wished that there was more of it ratio-wise (or less bread) and that it could be provided medium-rare.  Meat Score = 2.

Non-meat toppings
The horseradish mayo on this thing wasn't any good.  It tasted sour.  The grilled red onions were useless and not all that tasty.  The Swiss cheese also added nothing but grease.  Non-Meat Topping Score = - 4.

Overall rating, taste and texture
The horseradish and bread made it sour and the cheese and mayo made it greasy.  No one wants a sour, greasy sandwich; Joel only ate half of his and sent the rest back.  There was too much bread and not enough meat.  The au jus was fine.  The sandwich overall wasn't that good and I'm giving it a generous 2 for its fanciness and fine bread.  Overall Score = 2.  

Score (0-5)Comments
Good bread but too dense, sour for this sandwich.
Not juicy, chewy, crunchy, well done.
Au Jus
Was fine, came out steaming, which is good.
It's a gourmet dip with too much sourness and bitter, bad flavor.

Reason to go back:  Matt's has fun drinks, a good vibe, nice oyster selection, and a good happy hour.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Not Quite There) Awarded to Taste of Chicago for their Wet French Dip Sandwich in Seattle, WA on this 2nd day of January, 2012 - Pre-dipped (wet) Italian Beef

Taste of Chicago from the outside.

Note on the style of this review: I decided to use italics in this review to call out my opinions and commentary.  All commentary and opinion is tagged as italic.

Location: Taste of Chicago, University District, Seattle (on Yelp)

Type of Place: Fast food place serving authentic Chicago-style fare...I am not from Chicago and have been once.  This was recommended by my friend Lisa, who's from Chicago and loves the Italian Beef sandwich served here.

What I ordered: Vienna beef

A poster on the wall dedicated to the Italian Beef sandwich.  ...lots of fanfare for this sandwich here!!!

Another tabletop advertisement for the Italian Beef.  Hot and juicy, I guess that sounds pretty good!!!

Italian Beef Sandwich on the menu: "This savory sandwich comes with marinated beef on a French roll dipped in Au Jus.  Options include: marinara, Giardiniera, sweet peppers, mild peppers, sport peppers, or cheese (thinly shredded mix of white and cheddar).  $8.75

Notes on place/vibe:  Has a college vibe, football on tv, definitely casual, not very fancy at all

Notes on ordering:  Exotic toppings for the Italian beef like marinara, "sport peppers", "Giardiniera", etc.
I ordered the sandwich as "how you, the cook, would eat it" since there were so many options.

The getting of and eating of the Dip meal (dip-meal's a new term in the glossary)

The beef as it's served.  You see the carrots and peppers on the right.  It has lots of beef in it.  The beef was okay.

A view of the "medium wet" bun.  Not overly wet so it is a total mess but still wet.  You can see celery if you look at the bottom on the foil.

He told me that he did it "medium wet", which means a single dip of the bread/bun into au jus.  It resulted in a semi-but not overly wet bun.  For me, this was fine but didn't create enough moisture for me.  That's one thing that I really like about DIPPING the dip into the au jus is that *I* can control how much jus I get.  Additionally, having the au jus pre-applied makes it sloppy and I think get colder faster from the jus cooling.

Eating the dip:
Had this pickled mixture called "Giardenero" on it, which made it spicy.  The mixture included pickled celery, carrots, olives, and red pepper and made the sandwhich semi-sweet and semi-spicy.  The guy also included shredded cheese on the sandwich that I did not taste at all.  It came with fries.

Overall: I missed dipping the French dip but I got to have my first-ever "wet" (medium-wet in this case because that's how the cook preferred it) dip.  The peppers made it different and kinda good.  It was too dry for my liking and messy to eat as well.  The fries that it came with were only okay.

Score (0-5) Comments
Standard French bread.  Not fancy at all.
It was fine.  Nothing to write home about.
Au Jus
Didn't really taste / notice it on this "wet" sandwich.
The giardineira topping was good and made this interesting but not enough.

Reason to go back: I would prefer to the the au jus on the side for dipping and try some of the other interesting toppings for the Italian beef that they provide.