A bit of advice when ordering a roast beef sandwich at Clancey’s: Always — always — nod enthusiastically when asked, “Would you like that with everything?” You might ask what “everything” entails, of course, just to hear the recitation of fantastic ingredients: baby Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, spicy stone-ground mustard, raw grated horseradish, pickled jalapenos, roasted sweet bell peppers, thinly shaved red onion, lettuce, and — only when the season is right — local tomatoes.
Barring any true allergies, there isn’t an element on that list you want to miss. No, not even the raw horseradish. This is a sandwich that is more than the sum of its considerable parts.
Let’s start with that baguette: It’s always crusty, without too much squishy middle stuff to get in the way, and it’s always made fresh at Rustica. In fact, when today’s fresh baguettes are gone, Clancey’s will hang a sad sign in the window explaining that they’re out of sandwiches for the day. That sign is in evidence less and less often, now that Clancey’s is fully confident of its neighbors’ appetite for sandwiches and has started ordering more bread.
The roast beef itself is a top round, cut from one of the steers Clancey’s brings in and butchers each week — this is a butcher shop, not a sandwich shop, after all. Clancey’s gets all its beef from Thousand Hills, Hidden Stream, or Hill and Vale farms.
That top round is roasted to medium-rare, then rubbed fresh out of the oven with herbs and garlic. When you bite into your sandwich and can’t quite put your finger on that faint, ineffable flavor, that’s the garlic rub, I promise you. According to owner Kristin Tombers, her shop goes through six or eight top rounds a week, and much of that goes into sandwiches.
As butchers, the folks at Clancey’s know their high-quality condiments. The mustard is Boetje’s, an Illinois favorite, and the mayo is the classic Mrs. Clark’s. While she nixed the idea of scratch-made aioli because of the sheer volume needed, Tombers wouldn’t settle for anything less than house-pickled jalapenos and house-roasted sweet bell peppers. (Once the sandwich has you hooked, you can usually pick up both these items in Clancey’s deli case.)
Like most people who work in food, Tombers rarely gets to eat a meal sitting down and wouldn’t normally make herself a fancy loaded sandwich for lunch. “But I finally took one home the other day, made with everything, and had the full experience of eating one in peace and quiet,” she says. “That’s when I fully understood what it was all about. It’s almost a meal for a day. They do weigh almost a pound!” (That’s something to keep in mind if the $9.50 price tag takes you by surprise.)
Clancey’s does make other sandwiches; the turkey, corned beef, and salami are big sellers. And there’s usually something special up on the chalkboard, like barbecued pork or beef or a meatball hoagie. (Watch for a Philly cheesesteak and maybe an Italian coming up soon.) Tombers says that if she could find just the right rye, she’d love to make a Reuben.
But the roast beef, and all the fixings… that’s the meal I think Lord Sandwich was dreaming of when he called out for bread and meat to fuel his card game. Too bad for him that he couldn’t order it “with everything.”
Clancey’s Meats & Fish
Butcher in Linden Hills
4307 Upton Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408
OWNER: Kristin Tombers