Just a few steps down Larkin Street from the always-packed 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 jus. The burly roasted prime rib sandwich ($8.99) earns its top billing with a stack of thinly sliced, secretly seasoned, fat-flecked beef that's plunged into a small vat of hot drippings before being carefully nestled in its casing. Skip the offered mayo and horseradish and instead douse your lunch with extra jus supplied on the side.
Prime Dip also serves a damned fine lobster roll at a bargain price (for a lobster roll) of $13.99. Is it fresh-from-the-dock, just-shelled lobster meat? No, of course not. But there are 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 à la carte for $2.75. The sides include a mild macaroni and cheese, a too-garlicky creamed spinach, and flavorless mashed potatoes, all of which bring to mind any number of Midwestern cafeteria clichés. 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.