In this edition of Lunchtime Snob, we turn our attention to the Medical Center, which is in its own little world. Because I don't live or work in the hospital-dotted area, I don't often find myself purposefully going there. But the Medical Center arguably offers the greatest variety of authentic international food in the city.
As has been a theme of my North Side eating adventures, this restaurant leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to menu offerings. French Sandwiches offers simple, classic French, well, sandwiches, of course. They do have a curve ball, though — bánh mì! French Sandwiches, per Medical Center standards, is tucked away in a strip mall behind a Taco Cabana and Whataburger. Just a fair warning, it's at the end of the center closer toward Fredericksburg, not Wurzbach. With all of the individual tenant signs on the building, it took longer than I care to admit to find the actual restaurant.
In addition to the ample list of sandwiches available, French Sandwiches offers a handful of soups and salads as entrées and sides. Sandwiches include a soup or salad and come with a tasty pastry (more on this later). During this particular visit, my first time, the roast beef grabbed my attention ... It's hard for me to turn down anything with horseradish. The bánh mì was unexpected to see on the menu but seemed to be a popular order among the patrons who I had the feeling were routine visitors.
Anyway, back to this roast beef sandwich. Was it that the horseradish was extra good that day? Maybe the fact that it was on a homemade croissant, or the stir-fried onions were the perfect complement ... it's difficult to pinpoint, but this sandwich was pretty great.
I started with the French onion soup, which had a great balance of flavor and had an adequate piece of Swiss cheese floating and slowly melting. The delicate flavors of the soup were unexpected in a city where we douse everything in salsa, Tabasco and Sriracha.
The pastry accompanying my sandwich, what appeared to be a biscuit, was unassuming as far as pastries go. This, too, had a surprise, a tapioca-esque sweet filling. A nice finish to a delicious savory sandwich.
Attentive lunchtime service makes this place great for a quick stop. Although you can certainly linger if you choose, it's nice to have a place for a sit-down meal that isn't going to take your full hour for lunch. They also serve breakfast, not until nine, but if you are fortunate to have a leisurely morning, a croissant and coffee would be a great way to spend it.
8448 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 692-7019, 9am to 6:30pm Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm Sat