A near-perfect version of a lunch classic. Credit: Jimmy Boegle

What: The French dip sandwich with fries

Where: Michael’s Café, 35955 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City

How much: $14.95

Contact: 760-321-7197; www.michaelscafecatcity.com

Why: It’s a flawless version of a classic.

Because I am an incredibly lucky person, I’ve been fortunate enough to eat at some of the world’s finest restaurants—places with Michelin stars, celebrity chefs and wallet-draining prices—and I have thoroughly enjoyed most of those meals.

But if I am being completely honest, I must say I’ve enjoyed meals just as thoroughly at less-expensive, less-pretentious places. Heck, I’ve even enjoyed meals as much at places that would be considered dives.

This was all going through my mind as I ate a delicious French dip sandwich during a recent lunch at Michael’s Café in Cathedral City. Now, Michael’s isn’t exactly a dive. (Unless you’re Trina Turk, how could you think any place with a Marilyn Monroe-focused decor is a dive?) But this long-standing breakfast and lunch joint isn’t exactly fancy, either. The fare is standard diner/deli stuff—breakfasts, sandwiches, burgers, salads and such—and there are advertisements for varied businesses laminated into the tables.

Nonetheless, some of the stuff coming out of the Michael’s Café kitchen is pretty close to perfect. My colleague Kevin found no flaws with his omelet, nor did I have any quibbles with that aforementioned French dip sandwich. The restaurant uses Vienna-brand meats, so not surprisingly, the roast beef was excellent. The French roll in which the meat was placed was good, and the au jus was just right—not too salty, yet not too watery. Even the accompanying pickle and fries were superb.

The plate of food pictured here has no pretention. None of the ingredients are rare or hard to find. Nobody in the Michael’s Café kitchen had to have any specialized culinary skills to prepare and assemble the food. Nonetheless, it was about as enjoyable as a meal could possibly be.

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Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...

One reply on “The Indy Endorsement: The French Dip Sandwich at Michael’s Café”

  1. I’ve been going to Michael’s when it was in its old location. I have never been disappointed in the 15+ years I have eaten there. May they remain the same. A great Cafe at reasonable prices.

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