What:The $5 tri-tip sandwich
Where:Neil’s Lounge, 80956 Highway 111, Indio
How much: $5, of course
Why:It’s the best damn French-dip-style sandwich for the price that we can find in the valley.
Neil’s Lounge is one of the most internally incongruent places in the entire Coachella Valley: It’s a dive bar … with a stunningly high-class bathroom. (Seriously. Go see, even if you don’t need to … go.) It’s located in the depths of Indio, but it attracts a clientele from across the valley. And it’s a freaking bar … that serves one of the best sandwiches we’ve eaten around these parts.
When you head to Neil’s for lunch or dinner, make sure you peruse both the big Western Grill menu and the smaller $5 special menu, before you go up to the kitchen to order. There’s some splendid food to be had on both menus—for example, the spinach-artichoke dip ($10.50) comes with two warm, fresh miniature loaves of bread, while the dip is creamy, gooey, chunky artichoke-packed nirvana—but the real attraction, as far as we’re concerned, is the $5 tri-tip sandwich.
The sandwich consists of a healthy dose of sliced beef placed on a fresh roll, and then sliced in half. That’s it—so simple. Served alongside are a creamy horseradish sauce and a small cup of a weakish au jus. This sandwich doesn’t sound all that special, I concede, but the quality of the beef and the roll are top-notch. The sandwich plus a dip in the creamy horseradish plus a dip in the au jus equals deliciousness.
Oh, and the accompanying potato salad? It’s fantastic.
A word of warning: When Neil’s gets busy (which can happen quite often in this high sports season), the kitchen can get a bit backed up. However, chill out; have a cocktail; check out the amazing bathroom; and watch the game. The sandwich will be out soon, and it’ll be more than worth the wait.
And when the bill comes, and you’re reminded that your meal was just $5—you’ll barely be able to believe it.