Restaurant News & Reviews

French Dip quest! 3 beefy sandwiches

Roland Wilkerson

We love a good salad, but there’s nothing like a roast beef sandwich when we need to get our protein on.

So we’ve been searching for the best French dip sandwich in Charlotte. It’s rigorous, demanding work. But we’ll clog our arteries because we love you.

Philippe The Original in Los Angeles claims to have created the “French Dipped Sandwich” in 1918. They put beef and other meats on a crusty French roll dipped in jus. And that’s what we were looking for.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill: Prime rib on a toasted baguette, steak fries and cider slaw. At $15.99 you should expect top-quality beef and a great overall experience. They deliver: lots of food, excellent beef, good bread, good fries. 6801 Northlake Mall Drive; 3920 Sharon Road; 7716 Rea Road. charlotte-northlake.firebirdsrestaurants.com.

Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill: Gotta love a place with pictures of the Dude on the wall. OK, beef on weck is not a French dip, but it’s a first cousin. And we love our cousins. Slow-roasted angus round on a kaiser roll with embedded caraway seeds and kosher salt. $8.95. They charge 49 cents for the jus. Go for it. Comes with chips; fries are extra. Loved ’em. (Bonus: We liked the Fredonia Dip On Grilled Hoagie, even though it’s actually a panini with jus. $9.75.) 1524 East Blvd. www.lebowskisgrill.com.

131 Main Restaurant: Our favorite. We have eclectic tastes. We can appreciate the basic burger at Brooks Sandwich Shop (see our 5 things to love about Brooks on C5) and the upscale French dip at 131 Main, far and above others (and we checked out about five more dips).

It’s called the Sterling Prime Rib Sandwich and it retails for $18. Yeah, 18 bucks. Tender tasty beef, some of it rare, sliced very thin on an uninteresting toasted roll. In other words, the bun stayed out of the way. Mayo helps keep the sandwich moist, since we didn’t care that much for the salty jus. It was unnecessary because we slathered on some horseradish. Nice boost. Lots of thin fries.

Worth the money? Yep. Eat half and take the rest home. 1315 East Blvd.; 9886 Rea Road; 17830 N. Statesville Road, Cornelius. www.131-main.com.

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