Just a few steps down Larkin street from the always-packed lunchtime institution Saigon Sandwich, Prime Dip Gourmet Sandwiches quietly goes about its business creating straightforward, French dip style behemoths. Crackly rolls, supplied by neighbor Lee's Deli, are built to withstand flash floods of au jus. The burly roasted prime rib sandwich ($8.99) earned its top billing with a stack of thinly sliced, secretly seasoned (we asked three times), fat flecked beef that's plunged into a small vat of hot drippings before being carefully nestled in its casing.
Prime Dip's also serves a damned fine lobster roll at a bargain price (well, for a lobster roll) of $13.99. Was this fresh from the dock, just shelled lobster meat? No, of course not. But there were a few large chunks of claw meat mixed in with a generous helping of lobster bits. Close your eyes and drench the whole thing in warm, melted butter and, for all you know, you could be lounging at Waterman's rather than inhaling a quick bite in the Tenderloin.
One side dish comes with each sandwich, or you can order them a la carte for $2.75. The sides including a mild macaroni and cheese, a too-garlicky creamed spinach, and flavorless mashed potatoes, brought to mind any number of clichéd, Midwestern cafeterias. After a few bites of a prime rib sandwich, you'll contentedly wipe the juices that are dripping from your chin and forget that the sides ever happened.
Prime Dip Gourmet Sandwiches, 528 Larkin Street (at Turk), 800-8244.