The Unvegan

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Beef & Cheese at Top Round

I'm the new top of the round.
I’m the new top of the round.

Having kids must be tough. You raise them, do the best you can and at some point you let them go and hope for the best. Such was the feeling I had when leaving LA, knowing that I had played a vital role in the emergence of a pretty amazing food culture in just under five years of food blogging. But when I left, I have to admit I feared at least a small amount of anarchy to foment. Upon my return, however, I learned there was nothing to fear and I had clearly done a good job of setting the city up for the future. Case in point: Top Round.

Top o' the round to ya.
Top o’ the round to ya.

Just up the street from the now-defunct original Umami Burger location in a strange part of town either known as Mid-Wilshire or the Miracle Mile resides Top Round. Seemingly inspired by Arby’s, Top Round is all about roast beef sandwiches and curly fries. Except this ain’t no fast food (well it is fast, but you know what I mean). As the name implies, the beef is tops, and the fries are fried up in beef fat as opposed to something silly like vegetable oil.

This is as pretty as it gets.

I ordered the Beef & Cheese, which was topped with homemade “wizz” and Round Sauce in an onion bun. Like onion rings, somehow onion buns also get a pass in my book. In addition I got a side of curly fries. The result was damn delicious. The meat was all at once moist, flavorful and bountiful, while the cheese wizz and Round Sauce intermingled like old friends. Even the bun seemed to have been perfectly chosen, handling the contents while deftly handing the sandwich a bit of its own flavor. A bit of the Beef on Weck (atomic horseradish on a caraway and sea salt bun) sandwich taught me that Top Round wasn’t just a one sandwich pony. Then, there were the fries, which played a great companion role to the sandwich.

Perhaps the only downside of the journey was that there was no room left for one of their custard shakes. I had my eye on the pistachio, but the stomach can only contain so much. The LA food scene is still alive and kicking, but perhaps more importantly, I will never be able to look at an Arby’s sandwich the same again.