CVIndependent

Tue03312020

Last updateMon, 23 Mar 2020 12pm

What: The French dip with tots

Where: Revel Public House, 140 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $15.50 at lunch

Contact: 760-325-9464; revelps.com

Why: It’s a perfectly put-together sandwich.

The French dip sandwich, despite the name, is not at all French—it was actually born right here in Southern California, a little more than a century ago, at a downtown Los Angeles restaurant. The exact place of birth is a matter of debate; both Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet and Philippe’s claim the invention.

While I have no idea which of those two restaurants deserves the credit, I do know that Revel Public House in downtown Palm Springs deserves the credit for having the best French dip I’ve had in the Coachella Valley.

Two things make the sandwich at Revel so gosh-darned good. First, the ingredients are fantastic: Owner Mindy Reed uses McLean’s all-natural roast beef, as well as a particularly tasty Swiss cheese. Second: The sandwich is assembled and prepared perfectly. Rather than just slapping the ingredients between two French-roll slices and throwing it on the plate, the folks in Revel’s kitchen press the sandwich, so it’s easy to hold, dip and devour. The horseradish mayo that comes with it is fantastic; as for the au jus, it could have been a little stronger on my recent visit—although the sandwich was great despite this tiny flaw.

The sandwich normally comes with either cole slaw, fries, roasted potatoes or quinoa, but I recommend forking out the extra $2.50 and throwing the diet (even further) out the window so you can get the tater tots. The Revel kitchen prepares the tots perfectly: They’re crisp, crunchy and addictive. (The tots are also available on their own, topped with cheese and pulled barbecue pork, if you want to completely annihilate the diet.)

I can hear some of you retorting: “A hot sandwich? In the summer? Are you mad?!” No, I just love delicious, well-prepared food—and Revel’s French dip is a tasty, pleasing choice no matter the weather.

Published in The Indy Endorsement

What: The $5 tri-tip sandwich

Where: Neil's Lounge, 80956 Highway 111, Indio

How much: $5, of course

Contact info: 347-1522

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.

Published in The Indy Endorsement