New French Dip Specialist Arrives - Harlowe's French Dip (Review)

After seeing an Eater LA article about a new French Dip specialist arriving onto the scene, one of our friends insisted we join her to try this place out. :slight_smile:

It turns out Harlowe’s is a few doors down from Old Town Pasadena favorite, Union. The interior is dark wood accents and lots of HDTVs broadcasting sports games. They also have a solid Beer menu and tap list (featuring offerings from The Bruery, Firestone Walker, Phantom Carriage and more).

Smokey Deviled Eggs:

The filling of “La Fin du Mustard” with Shallots and Chives made for a surprisingly delicious Deviled Egg. It had a nice little mustard-y kick to it, and was better than the Deviled Eggs we had at Terrine recently.

Simple Greens (House Cut Greens, Cranberry, Sunflower, Almonds, Grapes, White Balsamic Vinaigrette):

It was sadly overdressed. :frowning: However, beyond that, the actual flavors were very good! :slight_smile: The Greens were very fresh (didn’t taste like the typical Mixed Greens offered at most places), with the Almonds, Grapes and Cranberries working well with the White Balsamic. They just used too much dressing.

Spaghetti and Meatballs (Marinara Sauce, Reggiano):

Now at this point, the menu (and our dinner) was starting to look strange LOL. :smile: It’s a French Dip specialist, but they have a variety of Salads & Greens, Deviled Eggs, Shrimp Cocktail, and now we’re getting Spaghetti and Meatballs?! :worried:

Our server mentioned this was one of their specialties, so we gave it a try. And shockingly, surprisingly, their Spaghetti and Meatballs were quite good! :open_mouth: Not in a “Scarpetta it’s so good that we’ll charge you $25 for a small plate” sort of way, but just down-to-earth, really solid Spaghetti and Meatballs. Some of the best we had in a while, and better than Union’s down the street.

Fried Chicken Wings (Sweet and Spicy Sauce):

These were too salty. :frowning: Really salty. They were going for some type of Asian flavoring on them, but the Salt drowned out everything else.

The Roast Beef Dip (Beef Au Jus, Side Horseradish):

We opted for a 6 oz carve (for an additional $2) over the standard 4.5 oz portion. One caveat: I don’t eat French Dip Sandwiches that much, so I’m not an expert. The Roast Beef Dip had a decent beefy flavor to it. It was tender, slightly moist, but also a little dry. When dipped in the Au Jus, so that the French Bread soaked in the Beef Broth, it made the whole sandwich a lot more palatable and interesting.

It was tasty, but nothing really special either.

Salt Brine Kennebec Fries (House Ketchup):

But then we get to their Salt Brine Kennebec French Fries. WOW! These have an amazing crunch and crispiness to them, with a good potatoey inside, still soft and moist. :open_mouth:

I immediately thought of @wienermobile’s plea to find good French Fries LOL :slight_smile:, and these were really, really good! They were some of the best Fries we’ve had since Connie & Ted’s. These were the highlight of the dinner! :slight_smile:

2nd Visit:

We had to go back and try more of the menu.

Fried Green Tomato (Marinara, Eggplant Caponata, Mozzarella):

This was a weird fusion of ideas, tasting like Fried Green Tomatoes, with a “Meatball Sub” type of taste with the Marinara and Mozzarella (even though it’s Vegetarian), and the Eggplant Caponata added an interesting twist to the taste. The Fried Green Tomatoes were still slightly crisped and overall it was solid.

The Braised Lamb Dip (Lamb Au Jus, House Labneh):

This was much better than the Roast Beef Dip. But it was Braised Lamb with an almost Moroccan tinge to the flavors, so that probably helped to make it stand out even more, and a nice gaminess to the Lamb. It was also a nice touch to serve it with Lamb Au Jus (with the Roast Beef Dip served with Beef Au Jus). It just helped to reinforce the flavor profile.

Salt Brine Kennebec Fries (House Ketchup):

We had to order these again, just to make sure it was consistent. And? Just as amazing as the first time! :blush: Seriously awesome Fries, crisp-crunch exterior, soft interior. :slight_smile:

The Burger (with Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, House Pickles, Secret Sauce, Sesame Bun):

Their Burger is made of a custom blend of Chuck, Short Rib, and Brisket in a 5.5 oz patty. Sadly, there was no beefiness to this Burger. :frowning: It tasted fine as a “gourmet” style Burger, but it had no depth of beefy flavor like Golden State, Belcampo, Father’s Office, etc.

At least it wasn’t overcooked, and they used Heirloom Tomatoes on the Burger, which was a nice touch. It felt like their homage to the Big Mac or something like it.

In the end, Harlowe’s French Dip is a friendly, relaxed place to enjoy the latest sports games, or just to grab a bite to eat in the area. Their menu is all over the place in terms of variety (they even have a Bison Chili, Shrimp Po’ Boy and other wide ranging flavors on the menu), but some of them work surprisingly well for a French Dip specialist.

We’d go back for their amazing Salt Brine Kennebec Fries, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and maybe try their Turkey Dip (with Turkey Au Jus) next time.

Harlowe’s French Dip
43 E. Union Street
Pasadena, CA 91103
Tel: (626) 535-0985

http://harlowesfrenchdip.com/

9 Likes

Nice review!

Thanks @nosh. If anyone has other places to recommend a good French Dip let me know. :slight_smile:

This place is pathetic.

I’d rather have day-old, reheated Philippe’s french dip beef sandwiches than anything from Harlowe’s.

1 Like

Hi @ipsedixit,

LOL, I trust your taste in French Dip more than my own (again, we don’t eat French Dip Sandwiches very often… the last time I ate one was 6 - 7 years ago?). I don’t remember what Philippe’s is like either.

I would say their Fries were fantastic, at least the ones we had twice (everyone in our group felt that way also). Maybe we were lucky on the Fries?

I’ve never had their fries, so maybe that’s their one saving grace.

[quote=“Chowseeker1999, post:1, topic:4446”]
I immediately thought of @wienermobile’s plea to find good French Fries LOL :slight_smile:, and these were really, really good!
[/quote]Maybe put them on the french fry thread? :relaxed:

[quote=“Chowseeker1999, post:3, topic:4446”]
If anyone has other places to recommend a good French Dip let me know. :slight_smile:
[/quote]I know people say the dip at Cole’s on 6th DTLA has gone down hill. But my cousin loves the lamb dip.

Houston’s

3 Likes

@Chowseeker1999 Philippe’s is a nostalgic favorite of ours. I need a lamb double-dipped with a pickle on the side and just a touch of the spicy-@$$ mustard inside. That stuff is lethally good.

1 Like

On the westside, I like the Italian Beef at Victor Jr.'s on the north side of Washington in Culver City across from the studio. They give you the au jus alongside. So it travels well.

On the east side of La Brea south of Olympic is Top Round, a roast beef and frozen custard place that has its appeal. but the sandwiches have hamburger-type soft buns.

2 Likes

I do like that beef sandwich at Victor Jrs, but purists from Chicago be warned, this is not the Italian beef you’d expect with the giardiniera. It’s more like a French dip on a crispy baked Italian bread.

Tough call whether to get that, a meatball sand or that great meat-cheese laden chopped salad.

Bump. A chain but an absolutely terrific sandwich.

2 Likes

Houston’s French Dip is VERY good, but the one at sister restaurant Rutherford Grill (Napa) always seems better to us. Maybe it’s just being in Napa.

Everything is better in Napa.

Gentleman’s Butcher for a Wagyu beef french dip

The Brik’s for a lamb french dip.

Gentleman’s Butcher’s (you mean the one on National Blvd., by the Metro station, right?) sandwiches vary in degrees of suckitude. The wagyu French dip sandwich there - This one I’ve tried (and wanted to like). But it sucked.

I stopped going there because they started to register on the suckitude scale and have progressively moved higher on it. Sad.

@bulavinaka and @J_L

That’s too bad about Gentleman’s Butcher. Last time I was there was probably some 1.5 years ago. More gas money for me.

I haven’t been in 6 months - 1 year, so who knows. The meat in the case still looked great at the time.