We left the office at noon proper and I warned my fellow diners that the line would be long. Because it was my last day on the job, I had power to coerce, and leveraged that fully. On the walk there, I told them about my French dip blog and that I'd had French dips the two days prior. I'm sure they thought I was weird but I almost brag about this hobby of mine at this point. Today is Saturday and I do not plan to have my fourth French dip in a row. We walked to Tat's through Occidental Square and a band was playing on a stage, featuring a tuba player. Many people were out watching, dancing and taking photos as we walked on by, on our mission to dine.
Upon arrival at Tat's, the line was indeed quite long (out the door), as I had expected. After waiting there a few minutes, a woman came out from behind the countered and hushed us: their new cash register system was running slowly and the wait would be longer than normal. Oh well, we waited, chatted, and finally got to the front of the line, probably 20 minutes later. During our wait, we got to watch their operations, study the menu, and watch the many people with their big sandwiches. The vibe was good and it was very loud in there. Paul and Kumudha ordered first: Paul got the cheesesteak and Kumudha got the vegetable sandwich. They were both happy with their meals.
When it was my turn to order, I knew I was there to order the Hot Beef sandwich but I was starting to get very spooked (spooked is one of Uncle Arn's favorite terms) that it wouldn't have jus, as is required for a French dip. So to verify and allay my concerns, I asked the lady, "Do you have a French dip?" And she said, "Yes, we do. That's the Hot Beef." I said, "Okay, I would like the Hot Beef, please." She said, "Would you like that injected with fries?" I said, "Sure, please." And she yelled out loudly, "Hot beef, injected." I laughed. It sounded very dirty, but funny...hot beef injection...those sick fucks at Tat's...at least they're having fun...
We got lucky and got a four-top table and waited for our order numbers to be called. Paul and Kumudha's orders came out right away but mine took quite a little while. At the pickup counter, finally, my sandwich (I got the 8" and not 12" variety) came out in a single brown bag and another separate brown bag for a small styrofoam cup of jus, covered and sealed with very tacky (in both senses of the word) Scotch tape.
Back at the table, I was stoked to unbox my jus and get to it. The tape was sealed so well, though, I couldn't get the lid off and it developed a leak. I gave up and walked back up to the counter, requesting a "jus for here", which they rapidlly provided...and in an even larger quantity, so I was even more jazzed.
I was finally able to successfully unwrap my sandwich and jus and was pretty happy with the way they both looked; it would be a good meal. The cheese was nicely melted on top of the sandwich and stuck to the wrapping paper a little, making for a good visual. The jus was pretty clear in color and it, too, had me spooked, but it turned out to be good jus. The sandwich was a lot of fun as well, especially with its fun features of the hot peppers and fries. For me, the 8" size was just right that day, especially since it was injected with fries. The peppers added a lot and made it interesting with a bit of a pickled flavor. The sandwich by itself, sans jus, was good, and when joined with the jus was even better. And that's what we're seeking after all, French dip fans. There was also nice and real horseradish in it that was strong enough to give that nasal pop like wasabi does, so that was fun, too. This application of horseradish was way better executed than the mayo-heavy horseradish that had been provided to me by Delicatus the day prior.
Tat's provides good sandwiches and a vibrant atmosphere, serious about slangin' sandwiches. They're especially known for their Tatstrami, which as I understand is a pastrami-laden Philly. The Hot Beef sandwich that I had was really good, special and fun and I score it a 5 of 5 for originality and overall flavor. Overall, Tat's is a fun place and worth the wait for the experience.
- Bread: 3 of 5. Good bread.
- Bread-coverings: 4 of 5. Horseradish with a punch.
- Meat: 3 of 5. Good beef.
- Cheese: 4 of 5. Looked good, stringy.
- Non-meat fillings: 5 of 5. French fries and peppers. Yes!!!
- Jus: 4 of 5. Good, lightly colored jus that was hot and good.
- Overall: 5 of 5. Tat's is a great place and this sandwich filled with fries, cheese, peppers, and horseradish is a lot of fun.