Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Round Roast Beef

Fast food has a special place in my heart. It's been years since I found myself in a McDonald's or Jack-in-the-Box drive-thru, but I grew up on the stuff and sometimes long for a good ol' Quarter Pounder or carton of curly fries. I never cave but am always helplessly drawn to restaurants that riff on and elevate fast food, which is how I arrived at the newly opened Top Round Roast Beef.

Top Round

Top Round is a fast-casual roast beef sandwich spot with a pedigree. Its founders are Anthony Carron (800 Degrees), Noah Ellis (Red Medicine), Steve Fretz (XIV) and Jamie Tiampo (NYC's L'artusi and dell'anima), a team of restaurateurs that knows a thing or two about good eating.

Top Round

Top Round
 
Menu at Top Round

While we queued up at the outdoor ordering window, my boyfriend and I examined the menu, which was short and sweet, consisting of six sandwich options and three variations of curly fries. We were pleasantly surprised to see that, despite the refined resumes of the Top Round founders, everything on the menu was incredibly wallet-friendly.

Top Round

After placing our order, we moved into the restaurant's retro-inspired interior, which was bursting with bright orange and wood paneling. The whole space felt delightfully kitschy-- bowling-alley chic, if you will. While we waited for our food, we watched the kitchen slice up a big hunk of 12 hour slow-roasted roast beef to order.

Top Round

It's never too early to think about dessert, and Top Round gives you a lot to think about. Did I want frozen custard in a cone with sprinkles? A milkshake? A sundae? A mixed-up "concrete"? What a delicious sort of conundrum.

Top Round
Top Round's frozen custard topping bar

Coke Freestyle at Top Round

Justin concerned himself with the Coke Freestyle machine, where I think he had way too much fun.

Top Round

After a few minutes, our number was called, and we picked up our order in a cardboard box, taking it to one of the picnic tables on the patio.

Dirty Fries at Top Round

The basic curly fries ($1.95) were perfectly enjoyable, but Justin and I both preferred our Dirty Fries, in which the fries were doused with gravy and "Round Sauce" and finished with caramelized onions and Provel cheese ($3.95).

Black and Blue Sandwich at Top Round

For his sandwich, Justin opted for the Black and Blue, roast beef topped with black pepper, blue cheese and caramelized onions and served on a classic, squishy sesame bun ($6.45).

Beef and Cheese at Top Round

I chose to get messy with the Beef and Cheese, roast beef dressed with Round sauce, a finger-licking-good homemade "Wizz" and served on a toasted onion bun ($5.95). Perhaps it was the low price point, but I was wholly unprepared for how tender and juicy the roast beef was. Top Round's meat would be just as at home on a pricier plate as it was tucked inside a foil wrapper. Arby's this ain't!

After much waffling over our options, we also selected two concretes, or frozen custards with toppings mixed in.

Hawaiian Concrete at Top Round

The Hawaiian with bananas, pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts was a tropical-inspired delight ($3.95).

Banana Cream Pie Concrete at Top Round
 
My favorite of the two, however, was the Banana Cream Pie with bananas, fudge, whole Nilla wafers and whipped cream ($3.95). I adored everything about this combination of frozen custard and banana pudding. McFlurry, we are never ever getting back together. Like, ever.
 
After a few recent budget-busting meals, my visit to Top Round was completely refreshing. After all, what's not to love about chef-driven fare at fast food prices?

 
*Food was hosted

Top Round
100 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 549-9445

Top Round Roast Beef on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

  1. I like your description: "bowling-alley chic". I need to take my Midwestern-bred husband here.

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    Replies
    1. Hah. Thanks! I thought it was an apt description. I think you two would have a good time there.

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  2. I just had the Banana Cream! Have to come back for some roast beef and fries next...

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