A Sandwich a Day: The Not-So-Sloppy Joe from Left Bank in Lake Forest

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.

Editor's Note: In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year--so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the Windy City. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know!


[Photograph: Dennis Lee]

Behold! Bask in the glory that is the sloppy joe. I mean, just look at it. And yes, it's really called the Not-So-Sloppy Joe ($5.00, $0.75 for cheese), because rather than serve the sandwich on a Kaiser roll sliced lengthwise, the folks at Left Bank slice off the tip of the bun, puncture a hole into it, steam it, and then jam it full of sweet sloppy joe filling. The finely ground meat bathes in that familiar ultra-sweet, tangy, not-quite barbecue, not-quite ketchup sauce that you normally expect from a sloppy joe. The processed cheese is optional, but hey, why not? And you've got to have onions to add that sharp crunch to level out all that richness.

I suspect the Kaiser roll is the same one they use at Billy Goat Tavern (if not, it's damn close). It's chewy, and the best part about it is that it soaks up the red oil from the beef really well. That red sauce soaked part of the bread, in my opinion, is always the best part of any sloppy joe. And if you're there, you might as well have a chili cheese dog with mustard and onions, too. It uses the same sweet Coney Island-style sauce and processed cheese, but on a unique pale pink smoky hot dog. I have to admit, I'm a little biased; Lake Forest is my hometown, but hey, there's nothing wrong with a sloppy joe. And yes, of course, you'll be wearing this thing all over your face, shirt, and hands when you're finished, but, I mean, come on. What'd you expect? It's a sloppy joe!

Left Bank

659 North Bank Lane, Lake Forest, IL 60045(map)