It’s the sandwich of a thousand superlatives. Critics from Boston and beyond have sung its praises. Francis Lam of Salon went so far as to describe it as the greatest roast beef sandwich he has ever tasted.
The name of this celebrated sandwich? The Roast Beef 1000. It’s the brainchild of Charles Kelsey and his wife Rachel Toomey, the owners of a lovely little sandwich shop called Cutty’s in Brookline Village, who joke that it’s it the future of roast beef. “It’s by far our biggest seller,” says Charles Kelsey, the owner of Cutty’s. “But it wasn’t intended to be that way.” Word has it that their unique take on the Spuckie was supposed to be the shop’s iconic item, but as far as the customers at Cutty’s are concerned, the Roast Beef 1000 is king.
I like to think I’m not given to hyperbole, but it’s hard to resist. With its ultra-tender beef (from a relatively inexpensive cut, the chuck-eye roll, which is sliced thin to give it an almost hamburger-like consistency), horseradish-enhanced thousand island dressing, cheddar cheese, and (the kicker) crispy fried shallots, the Roast Beef 1000 is a phenomenally tasty sandwich.
Here’s the recipe, so you can wow yourself at home.
Cutty’s Roast Beef 1000
Crispy Shallots: Slice 6 shallots 1/8 inch thick and pat dry with paper towels. Cover the shallots with vegetable oil by about 1 inch in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until the oil bubbles. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until fluffy and rust colored, about 15 minutes. Carefully pour the oil with shallots through a strainer, then transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate. (You can save the flavorful oil for a salad dressing or use it to fry another batch of shallots.) Gently separate the shallots with a fork.
Roast Beef: Cutty’s uses a high-quality beef chuck eye roll. Use about a 5-pound roast, trimmed and tied. Rub about 3 tablespoons kosher salt on the roast, set it in a baking dish, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and cook in a 475 degree oven until it’s lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Flip the roast over, turn the oven down to 300 degrees, and continue to cook until the center registers 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let the meat rest for 45 minutes. Slice the meat as thinly as possible.
To assemble the sandwiches:
The Bread: Cutty’s uses a black pepper brioche roll, but any high-quality large soft roll will work great. Cut the roll in half and toast it.
1000 Island Dressing: Use your favorite recipe and add prepared horseradish to taste. Spoon a generous 1 tablespoon on each side of the roll.
Shallots: Sprinkle a generous 1 tablespoon of the shallots on the top roll.
Cheese: Cutty’s uses thinly sliced sharp cheddar. Place the cheese on top of the shallots.
The beef: Place about 4 ounces of the beef on the bottom roll. Put the two sides of the sandwich together and eat. (You can cut it in half if you like.)