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Restaurant Reviews

We Tried a $38 Wagyu Tri-Tip Sandwich From Margaret’s

It was a good, and very expensive, sandwich.
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When the JW Marriott Hotel opened in the downtown Dallas Arts District this summer, three new restaurants also opened inside it: Vincent’s, an outdoor rooftop bar; 800 North, a ground floor bar; and Margaret’s, a restaurant on the 11th floor. Jonah Friedmann was tapped to be the executive chef overseeing all three concepts. (If his name looks familiar, it’s because he was named “Rising Star Chef” at the 2022 CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards.)

I’ve stared into the Margaret’s dining room from the D office across the street like a little creepy owl. After weeks of yearning, it was time for a meal. What caught the eye of my lunch companion was The Chicago, a wagyu tri-tip sandwich that will set diners back $38. Sure, it sounded terrific; the menu lists the ingredients as shaved tri-tip piled onto toasted garlic bread with horseradish crema, provolone, and romesco. But we also had to see if it was worth the money.

Ordering the sandwich got the nod of approval from our server. Shortly after locking it in, we were presented with a box of Town Cutler steak knives for the sandwich with different colored wood-grained handles. Friedmann tells me The Chicago is the only sandwich on the lunch menu that gets the fancy knife. Usually those knives are reserved for some of the steaks at dinner. We snagged a knife with a rainbow handle. “Margaret’s” was etched onto the blade.

The Chicago comes with sweet potato fries (the default for all sandwiches at Margaret’s) and a small bowl of beef jus for dipping. Friedmann says he likes to serve sweet potato fries to balance out savory mains like sandwiches and paninis. After a ceremonial cutting with the steak knife, we dug in.

The meat, thinly sliced and well-seasoned, is very tasty. The wagyu is from Wagyu Excelente in Midlothian, and it’s marinated and shaved in-house. The romesco, my favorite bit, is bright red and adds a pop of acid to the sandwich. It’s made with roasted red peppers, a blend of heirloom tomatoes from Profound Farms, sherry vinegar from Spain, and toasted Marcona almonds.

The size of the sandwich took me back a bit. It doesn’t match its hefty price tag. The bread was a little thin; ideally if I need to dip a sandwich, the bread should be thicker so it doesn’t dissolve. The arugula was also heavily salted, but I feel that may have been a one-off thing. Overall, the sandwich was solid. Which begs the question: what on earth makes it worth nearly $40?

“We do about 7 oz. of this steak that’s shaved in the sandwich,” Friedmann says. “So realistically, if you go to a restaurant at dinner and you buy a 7-oz. piece of wagyu steak, you’re paying upwards of $70 to $90 dollars. It’s an expensive sandwich, but essentially we are utilizing the same amount of meat you get any type of dinner.”

I didn’t have a scale at this lunch, so I can’t confirm the weight. If anything, I wanted more meat so the wagyu could really shine, especially if it’s prime grade. Gimme all $38 worth!

We also tried the Just A Good Burger, which, as the name suggests, is a basic burger with a double 4-oz. patty, Tillamook cheddar, chipotle bourbon ketchup, bearnaise ailoi, pickles, heirloom tomatoes, and Boston Bibb lettuce. The patty meat is sourced from Wagyu Excelente too, and it’s a blend of wagyu beef and Angus. It runs for $24, and it really is a great burger.

Friedmann says he modeled the Chicago sandwich after the Italian beef sandwiches he grew up eating in Chicago from Rosati’s and Portillo’s. The burger was also inspired by childhood memories of eating basic meals at the dinner table, he says.

Friedman wanted to merge the sandwich with Texas cuisine, so he elevated the sandwich with wagyu tri-tips, plus the horseradish crema and romesco. All that, plus the swanky knife, makes The Chicago the “hero” of the lunch menu, Friedmann says. It also happens to be one of his favorites.

“It’s an homage to how important and amazing a simple sandwich can be,” he says.

A simple sandwich with a complicated price tag.

Author

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun joined D Magazine as the online dining editor in 2022. She previously worked at the Dallas Morning News,…

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