May 25, 2014

Review: Portillo's - Italian Beef

Portillo's Italian Beef features thin-sliced seasoned roast beef with meat juices on an Italian-style roll. Sweet and hot peppers are optional.

It was $5.29 for the sandwich. I went with sweet peppers for 59 cents extra. You can order it either: dry, with extra gravy, or dipped. Dipped is the way to go and I'll explain why in a bit.

The sandwich doesn't look good but it tastes great! With the roll, soaked through with the buns takes on a brown-tinged soggy appearance that might deter you at having a go at it, but it's worth fighting your initial response.

Inside is thin-sliced roast beef that's a bit overcooked but maintains a tender quality from the thinness of the slices. If you eat just the beef, it's meaty but a bit plain. There's plenty to go around though; They certainly don't skimp and I'd guess about 75% of the sandwich is beef. So where does the flavor come in?

It's in the roll! The meat juices features a rich, beefy broth with strong accent of Italian herbs that I definitely wouldn't mind drinking as soup on a cold day. Paired with the actual beef, it's flavor intensify for some wonderfully tasty eats. If you go "dry" or just "extra gravy," you're missing out on the true essence of the sandwich.

Add the sweet peppers and you get a sweet punctuation on the whole sandwich.

Overall, Portillo's Italian Beef is pretty awesome and deceptively flavorful for just beef and bread. It's a great value to boot (it's about an 8" sandwich). They're only located in a few states though (California, Arizona, and Illinois).