Nick’s Roast Beef, Beverly, MA

I have two phases of food consumption: drunk and not drunk. It’s impossible to predict the trend, either. One day I’ll be slicing up leftover steak in truffle oil with a gin and tonic, another day I’ll have Pizza Hut and a Donnhoff QBA. Sometimes I’ll eat a granola bar and pass out on my couch sober. But, and this is a large, grotesque but, if I reach a point in my drinking where I’m sloppy enough to be more open to different foods yet not so trashed that I can’t taste what I’m eating and end up confusing crab cakes for profiteroles. I’ll know something is good when I am first exposed to it inebriated, and maintain a high opinion for it after I’ve sobered up in the morning.Aggie brought some delicious food from Beverly, Massachusetts. I ate two sandwiches from this roast beefierie, both the same. Both were incredible, and both were perfect at the exact moments I ate them. This is a classic example of good drunken eating. Compared to eating popcorn out of a trash can, eating stale coconut cake, and drinking more, this was actually accurate and a good choice. Aggie tells me there is an intense rivalry between the roast beef shops of Boston and that everyone thinks theirs, eternal presences on street corners, is the boeuf of the boeuf. I can’t tell you if this was the most superior, but it was damned good.This seems like a sandwich that could only improve if grilled. After all, what food isn’t enhanced by a little olive oil and a blast of heat? Some sliced jalapenos, too. The roast beef was tender and had a creamy blend of fat and meat, but was cut lean so that it fell apart at the slightest touch. It was topped with a generic cheese which, though not sharp, added a creaminess to the beef, and a delicious spicy barbecue sauce and mayonnaise. Given a list, and a long list at that, of condiments, barbecue is always placed at the bottom, somewhere around mushroom and weaksauce, but this barbecue sauce had a kick to it, a fresh kick similar to a horseradish barbecue. A kick to the ‘nads. If you’re into that. It was spicy and very tangy without falling into the trap of cloying sweetness that barbecue sauce often lies in.The condiments worked their way into the meat, rather than sitting vaguely on top, and created a messy, creamy, tasty treat. I was especially impressed with the mustard. Even after a few hours to a day and a half in the refrigerator, it was still smooth and had not been absorbed by the bread. The little bits of meat that fell out during the pillage and ensuing carnage were merely delicious meat treats for me to eat later. The proportions were perfect. I don’t know what the other roast beef shoppes are offering, but if they’re anywhere near this, they have some serious competition.

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