Beachmont Roast Beef ($4.95)
Tender meat that melts in your mouth, a slice of American cheese, sweet sauce, and a smear of mayonnaise piled high on a glistening, buttery bun. This sandwich is no frills, and still manages to stand out among the surplus of North Shore roast beef joints.
John’s Roast Beef and Seafood ($3.85)
Liberty Bell Roast Beef and Seafood ($5.15)
This classic version strays from the classic formula in one way: It features a slice of cheese on the top and bottom of the sandwich! (It may not seem like much, but the small difference brought me back from the edge of roast beef fatigue.) The second slice prevents the cheese from getting lost amid the heaping portion of lean, tender meat.
Cutty’s has gotten a lot of love in its two short years—and every mention and compliment is well deserved. The near perfect Roast Beef 1000 is a menu standout (and a Serious Eats darling). Fried shallots offer a sweet, salty crunch that is absent from other roast beef sandwiches.
Mino's Roast Beef ($5.15)
Don't let this sandwich’s tidy appearance fool you—there's a lot going on under the hood. A healthy quantity of sauce, melty slice of American cheese, and small, shaved pieces of meat ensure a good balance of flavors in every bite.
Billy’s Famous Roast Beef ($5.25)
If the horseradish sauce oozing out of the sides isn’t enough of a hint, this tasty sandwich is perfect for the condiment lover. Fortunately, the portion of pink, super thin meat is big enough to stand up to it.
Mike’s Roast Beef ($5.25)
You’re going to need a few (dozen) extra napkins for this one, especially if you opt for the horseradish sauce in addition to the traditional toppings. The buttery, griddled bun gives an appealing crispness that somehow manages to withstand getting sogged out by the saucy toppings. Note: they also sell a junior-sized roast beef for $4.15.
Royal Roast Beef and Seafood ($4.50)
Steve’s Roast Beef ($6.05)
Bill and Bob’s Famous Roast Beef ($4.75)
Here, a big, hearty bun, crosshatched on top, holds its own against the beef and sweet, zesty sauce. The meat is bright pink, but not stringy or chewy.
Bill and Bob's Famous Roast Beef: 57 Main Street, Woburn MA 01801 (map)
Kelly’s Roast Beef ($6.75)
Kelly’s is the whipping boy of Boston roast beef. But a New England institution that’s been around for more than 50 years and sells close to one million roast beef sandwiches a year has to be on to something. I found the bun heavily buttered, soft, and chewy, and the meat tender and moist.
All Star Sandwich Bar ($8.95)
This sandwich is served on a sea salt and caraway seeds-studded kimmelweck bun, with a generous portion of pink beef piled high. It’s served alongside a ramekin of jus, which balances out the salty bun. A must-try for roast beef purists.