A Sandwich a Day: Italian Beef Combo at Joe's Boston

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.


[Photograph: Josh Conley]

For a sandwich of such humble beginnings, the Italian beef has a surprising amount of esoteric jargon attached to it that can intimidate the uninitiated. And it's all in the HOW to order: whether you like your beef "dipped," "double-dipped," "wet," or "dry," and with "sweet" or "hot" is all a matter of personal taste. Fortunately, the WHAT to order at Joe Boston's is easy: the Combo ($5.75).

Juicy, peppery, garlicky, translucent slices of tender beef heaped on a split Italian roll is the mainstay at Joe's. But add to that the accompanying snap of a well-nestled mild Italian sausage, and you have a meat-on-meat venture that is less about excess and more about pairing. The subtle sweetness of the sausage works against the bold spicing of the beef, and the textures offer up a great contrast. I take mine Vegas-style (dry and hot), and the confluence of the meats with the crunchy heat of the peppers and the yeasty, toothsome pull of the roll is like blackjack in my belly every time.

Joe Boston's

2932 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map)