Do you believe in second chances? I do.
That's why I'll probably try a cheesesteak again, even though I can't stand them. And it's why I keep sampling sandwiches that combine roast beef and horseradish, a popular combo that's difficult to pull off, judging from the lackluster versions I've tried.
Roast beef itself can be tricky. The meat is often overcooked and can be bland or filmy or slimy or gamey. Horseradish is a delicate matter as well; it can easily overpower everything else on a sandwich, leaving even the biggest horseradish lover longing for something more.
That's what made the Rare Roast Beef at Cafe Options all the more rare. (For more on Cafe Options, see this week's story at westword.com.)
The piles of thinly sliced and very rare roast beef -- roasted in the Cafe Options kitchen -- were delicious and fresh. The horseradish, which came in the form of horseradish havarti cheese, was both subtle and powerful, adding a huge supporting flavor without blotting out the other flavors.
And with those basics taken care of, the kitchen spiced up this sandwich with a couple of other ingredients -- grilled onions and aioli -- that pushed it over the top.
Not everyone believes in second chances. Not everyone gets one. But I'll give Cafe Options the benefit of the doubt every time.
For previous sandwich reviews, see the Our Weekly Bread archive.