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Feb 7, 2013

Local Review: Philippe the Original - Beef French Dip

Philippe the Original or Philippe's as most people call it claims to have invented the French dip sandwich and is one of the most historic restaurants here in Southern California and is one of the few L.A. institutions that harkens back to a different time.

The Beef French Dip (it's also available with Pork, Ham, Lamb, and Turkey) is served on a crusty French roll with slices of roast beef dipped in jus from the roasted-in-house meats. It costs $6.50 for about a 6" sandwich and can be had "single-dip," "double-dip," or "wet." I went with the "double-dip."

As good as the French Dip is, I go here for the atmosphere just as much. There is no where in Los Angeles where you can get as complete a cross section of the city. LA is so spread out with many different enclaves and neighborhoods, but you can find any race, color, creed, and age and all walks of life here at any given time, sitting at the long communal tables or scoring a booth. If you were to just have one day to see LA, Philippe's is a must-visit.

The roll comes with a thin, crispy shell contrasted with soft crumb. They dip the inner halves of the roll in the jus when you order it. The jus is light and adds a little more flavor without too much salt.

The beef is moist and cut just thick enough that you get that meaty texture. They give you a good amount and the seasoning is minimal. The flavor is mostly beef and tasty.

I always eat it with the hot brown mustard that appears on every table. It has that sinus-clearing spiciness like Japanese wasabi so use it carefully; I swallowed a little bit too much and was choking on the horseradish-y heat. It burns but it really makes the sandwich. On the plus side, it's a short-lasting heat that you easily forget. Also, you can get a pretty decent cup of coffee here for 45 cents (it used to be 10 cents until last year!).

Philippe's does a great French Dip sandwich. It's not the best I've had, but it's affordable and the digs, mustard, and atmosphere are one of a kind.


Philippe the Original
1001 N Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 628-3781


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