There is an on going feud going on whether the French dip sandwich was born at Philippe’s or Cole’s. I can’t tell you where it started from — I wasn’t there, nor was I even born during that time. Legend says that someone ordered a beef sandwich, and the cook dropped the bread in the au jus. Ina hurry, the customer just took the sandwich as is, and thus, the French dips was born. I can’t tell you if that is true or not. What I can tell you is this. I prefer Philippe’s, hands down. If not for the tastier beef, for their hot mustard.
The French dip was tasty, but the beef was a bit bland and dry — definitely not as “wet” as Philippe’s. Albeit, your an dip your sandwich into the au jus, I personally rather just pickup and eat a wet me say sandwich. The pickles were pretty tasty and helped the sandwich immensely. All in all, it was a solid French Dip.
French Dip vs. French Dip, Philippe’s definitely takes it. As for other items, like the mac and cheese and garlic fries, Cole’s may have an edge. Let’s not forget about Cole’s awesome Bloody Mary’s and bar drinks. With that said, the two restaurants are completely different. You go to Philippe’s for the French dip and epic hot mustard. You go to Cole’s for everything else.