Dish 181: Wet roast beef sandwich at Nick’s Old Original, several locations

I never dreaded going to the doctor when I was little. Getting shots, maybe, but the waiting room was worth it. Heaps of HIGHLIGHTS magazines taller than a toddler. Brightly colored toys that my parents refused to buy. That giant wire structure with the beads you can push back and forth along the vibrant wiggles. And best of all, an epic six-foot-wide fish tank. There were tiny electric blue tetras, orange and white clownfish like Nemo, yellow and blue angelfish, mean-looking catfish,  indigo purple tangs with neon yellow tails, snails, crabs- I could go on for days!

Obviously people don’t run around advertising how much they enjoyed the fish tank at their pediatrician’s office, so I was a little surprised when, upon mention of Nick’s Roast Beef, Tim said, “Oh, you’ll like it. They have a fish tank.” (Am I that predictable? A bar does something incurably weird, and he knows I’ll love it?) Sigh, indeed, the Nick’s fish tank was awesome. Somewhat understocked in comparison to Dr. Miguel’s kickass setup, but what can you do? We’re in a recession.

While we’re on the subject of roast beef, it was hearty, piled high and served au jus, or, as they call it in these parts, “wet”. The regulars are laid back and know how to treat a lady right, by showing her where they hide the handbag hooks under the counter and occasionally expanding their conversation to include the two good natured young folks sitting nearby. Even the paper cutouts representing donations to XYZ charity had a sense of humor, and spelled out rude phrases and names like “Ben Dover” over several pieces of paper.

One of my uncles evicted the heifers from his barn and turned it into a bar—it’s quite nice, actually, has a pool table now, satellite TV, and a couple of taps—and I couldn’t help thinking that what he really needs is a fish tank, for that finishing touch.


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