Annie Gunn's French Dip
I like to think I have a high level of self control when it comes to food. I do my best to avoid sandwiches because all that bread goes straight to my stomach and covers up my Brad Pitt in Fight Club abs. There is one sandwich, however, that is my kryptonite. That sandwich is Annie Gunn's French Dip.
Most of the reviews you'll read on Yelp, Urbanspoon, etc. will talk about Annie Gunn's incredible steaks and fish. Yes, they are amazing. Earlier this year I had a smoked ribeye with chipotle glaze there that was better than you can imagine. Most of my meals at "The Gunn" are at lunchtime though, and I just cannot resist the French Dip.
It's hard to explain how their sandwich is so much better than any other french dip. On paper, it looks pretty standard. It has beef and cheese on a baguette, served with a side of au jus. But as the great Brazilian poet, Paulo Coelho (who I'd never heard of until 5 minutes ago when I Googled a quote on simplicity) says, "The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them."
Chef Lou Rook obviously knows this. The sandwich is composed of four simple ingredients, but he has found the best of those four. The Smokehouse Market (attached to Annie Gunn's) roasted top round of beef is the juiciest and most flavorful of any roast beef I've had. The au jus from the beef is just as flavorful. The Danish Havarti has a mild and delicate taste with perfect gooeyness. The lightly toasted baguette is soft and buttery on the inside with the sponge-like ability to soak up the au jus.
Chef Rook was wise enough to see this combo was perfection, as am I. I must confess that my brother was the first one to turn me on to this sandwich, which may infer that he's wiser than I am. This is false. The only reason I hadn't tried the french dip before him was that I was still in my fat days, consuming the incredible Annie Gunn's signature burger. Their hamburger blend has striploin, ribeye, Angus tenderloin and brisket. Yeah. Great googly moogly is right.
If you want to take the french dip to the next level, you've got to ask for a side of the creamy horseradish. The waiter will know what you're talking about. The chef in the back will smirk and nod his head in approval, knowing you are a true connoisseur of the French Dip.
I willingly admit these are not my best photos. I simply could not waste the time taking pictures with the sandwich in front of me. My primal instincts kicked in and I was chomping away. The series of photos below are basically the way my brain evaluates the sandwich.
First thing we see is the half of the sandwich closest to me. Yes, that does appear acceptable.
Next I look past it to the other half. Oh, hello gooey cheese. I've missed you.
I crane my neck to the side to examine further. I consider drinking the au jus. I don't do it.
I move to the other side, like a snake evaluating its prey. Yes, this sandwich will do. I feel guilty for a moment as I stare at the cheese, bread and beef, but that guilt quickly passes and I swallow it whole.
I love this sandwich. It normally comes with fries, which are delicious, but I opted to swap them out for a side salad because I already felt guilty.
Annie Gunn's is a fantastic restaurant with excellent service, a nice but casual ambiance and a sunny covered patio. Their lunch and dinner entrees are of the highest caliber, but their French Dip sandwich is my standard there. I highly recommend it. If you don't get it, you won't just disappoint me, but also Paulo Coelho.
16806 Chesterfield Airport Rd.
Chesterfield, MO 63005