Sandwiches ebb and flow. We’re long past peak panini, and tortas haven’t really gotten their due, but if there’s a classic in serious need of revisiting, it’s the French dip. In comes Dip, a North Beach lunch-and-dinner spot — open nightly until 10:30 p.m. — that aims to do one thing and do it properly.
This menu contains six arrangements of meat, all on Acme baguettes, and served on paper-lined metal trays with ramekins of jus for dipping. There’s also mustard and horseradish by the self-serve water station; go bananas. Amid the pork shoulder, roast beef, leg of lamb, roasted Mary’s chicken, and porchetta is one outlier: a caprese, which the proprietors are mildly upset that not enough people order. (“It’s all the way at the bottom,” one lamented on a recent visit.)
In any event, both the lamb and the pork shoulder are mighty: thin-sliced ribbons of meat that require a fork because no amount of Acme is enough to contain them. (This is a compliment.) At $12, they’re solid lunches without verging into caveman caricatures, even if things that aren’t meat or bread are few. And you can get them halved for ease of handling. There are two sides, potatoes au gratin and sauteed kale and chard, and to be really technical about it, the porchetta comes with arugula pesto. That’s it.
Dip’s layout is a little odd. It’s not just that it’s got white tiles — it’s almost entirely white tiles. And if your decision-making process involves seeing what you’re choosing from before you order something, you’re out of luck. There is no meat within any line of sight, the rear counter being empty of any real work space (apart from the toaster oven). But be not afraid. And don’t, as the kids say, dip. — PLK
Dip, 1318 Grant Ave., 415-757-0775 or dipbistro.com