Photograph from *reesie on Flickr
There is something great about eating by the ocean, and there aren't many better ocean-side sandwich shacks than the original Kelly's Roast Beef on Revere Beach, ten miles north of Boston. It has everything you'd expect a seaside New England food shack to haveLobster roll, fried seafood, hot dogs, etc. but as the name suggests, the roast beef sandwich is the star.
There are two sizessmall and largebut the only difference between them is the amount of roast beef that Kelly's piles on. Either way, you end up with a generous amount of thinly sliced, rare roast beef, so much so that the sizes could easily be renamed "a good amount of beef" and "a ridiculous amount of beef." It comes served in a seeded bun that's been brushed with butter and popped on a griddle (as any respectable seafood shack would do).
The sandwich really gets going with a nice pour of vinegary James River Barbecue Sauce, just called "sauce" when you are ordering. It's a New England staple and is served on top of more than one roast beef sandwich in the area. "Cheese" gets you a slice of white American, and "horseradish" gets you a splash of creamy horseradish-flavored mayonnaise, unless you order it on the side, in which case you get a little plastic cup full of pure ground white horseradish.
To order the sandwich like a local, state the size you want (small or large), followed simply by the word "beef," followed by whatever condiments you'd like. My ideal order would go something like this: "Small beef with sauce and cheese, horseradish on the side" (pictured above).
Juicy roast beef, buttery bun, sweet and vinegary barbecue sauce, and the spicy kick of grated horseradish. All wolfed down on a bench under a wooden pavillion less than 20 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. It's a great thing. There are four other inland locations of Kelly's to get your roast beef fix, but I still think it tastes best eaten in front of a flock of jealous seagulls.
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