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What a Dish's French Dip. Photo: Matt Cortina
What a Dish’s French Dip. Photo: Matt Cortina

What a Dish Café & Catering
24921 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Suite B100, Dana Point

What a Dish feels quintessentially Southern Californian. Diners eat in the open air, on couches or comfy wooden chairs, in the view of the Harbor. Dishes are pretty and fresh; a man drinks Pellegrino. In fact, like so much around here, it nods to Europe, but puts fresh, local ingredients on a pedestal.

Lunch options include pastas, soups, salads and a long list of sandwiches, ranging from a shrimp po’boy to a short rib slider to a quesadilla. But the allure of the classic French Dip was too hard to pass up this time.

What a Dish’s take on the lunch staple brings together ridiculously tender premium sirloin beef, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and rosemary in between a chewy loaf of French bread. The au jus to the side is rich, salty, and packed with umami. After dipping the sandwich, each bite is pure succulence, with the proud funk of Gruyere and savoriness of the beef acting like a warm blanket on a cold day, and the sweet onion and cutting au jus provide just enough balance.

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