Jus Marvelous

Marilyn HawkesMarch 1, 2018
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Hold your own dunk contest with French dips and other broth-boosted sammies.

La Grande Orange Pizzeria
4410 N. 40th St., Phoenix
602-840-7777, lagrandeorangepizzeria.com
Two Los Angeles restaurants in the early 1900s claimed to be the birthplace of the French dip, the famously bare-bones beef sandwich served with a side of beef jus. One reported that a cook accidentally dropped a sandwich in a pan of meat drippings; the other maintained it was a cover-up for stale bread, hence the dipping. Years later, Valley restaurants are playing it loose with the formula. La Grande Orange Pizzeria serves a turkey French dip ($14, pictured) made with California Diestel turkey breast that’s brined and slathered with an herb- and chile-flecked rub, then slapped on the rotisserie for slow roasting. Reserving the turkey bones to make the jus, the chefs carve the tender, smoky meat and lay it on a griddle-toasted roll from LGO Bakeshop that’s been rubbed and perfumed with hot garlic, then finished with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. One bite and you’ll wonder why all dips aren’t made with turkey.

St. Francis
111 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
602-200-8111, stfrancisaz.com
Layered with succulent wood-roasted pork loin and smoky bacon, the St. Francis pig dip ($16) lives up to its swine-y name. When chef/owner Aaron Chamberlin put the pork-centric dip on the menu five years ago, he wanted to create a sandwich that nobody else was making. After being featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the dip became a home run. Chamberlin conjures this delightful bite by smearing a toasted baguette (from local MJ Bread) with tart Dijon mustard, then piling it with thin slices of brined roast pork, caramelized onions deglazed with red wine vinegar and a dab of sugar, nutty Gruyère cheese, and fat-edged bacon. The multi-textured dip comes with turkey jus spiked with Worcestershire sauce and a mound of crisp fries.

Tavern Americana
20469 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
480-502-6740, tavernamericana.com
When you need to feed that red meat craving and turkey and pork just won’t do, go old school with Tavern Americana’s French dip ($16). Owner Tim Houdek starts with fresh MJ bread – what else? – then fills it with razor-thin slices of rosemary-, salt- and Tabasco-brined prime rib, melted Havarti cheese, sweet caramelized onions and sautéed crimini mushrooms. Houdek pulls the flavors together by topping the juicy sandwich with a dollop of mild horseradish cream. For dipping the sandwich and requisite french fries, the kitchen provides a rich, veal-based jus finished with a splash of hearty red wine. “It’s very popular. We usually sell out by 7 p.m.,” Houdek says. You know what to do. Get there early. Dip, eat and repeat.

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