Interested by some earlier posts on this board, and after a morning at the PCC Swap Meet, four of us hit Connal's for some lunch yesterday (Sunday). You order at the counter in- or outside, pay and they call your number. Many sandwiches and grinders, hot and cold, + burgers and salads and some Mexican meals are on the menu, few more expensive than $5. French dip is their thing, so two wanted that, one ordered a pastrami dip, and I got a beef and cheddar melt on sourdough. For drinks we tried a chocolate shake, a strawberry shake, one Mr. Pibb, and we decided to split two sets of frings. BTW, several semi-exotic shakes are offered as well, like cherry or mango or cookies-n-cream.
The sandwiches come wrapped in white paper and cut in half. The beef dips are good-sized, easily 8-10" long and piled high with an inch or more of very thin, roast beef . The meat is moist with a hint of garlic--is it pressed? probably not, yet...hmm and the generic white bun is fresh but otherwise unadorned with condiments; the bread absorbs some of the au jus, but none is served on the side. Neither person who ordered the beef dip finished it, citing the size. The pastrami dip was similar to the beef, with very thin moist meat, a couple of pickle rounds and some mustard; easy to eat, but not very authentic flavor, IMHO. The beef and cheddar had less meat and more grease, but was satisfying nonetheless, a kind of comfort food/cholesterol disaster.
The frings (fries + onion rings) were okay. One set of fries was overly sprinkled with seasoned salt, while the other was mysteriously lacking any. The fries were not outstanding, not very crisp. The onion rings on top of both were the thin crumby type (I prefer thick, battered style) and not very flavorful either. [Avocado fries are an intriguing item on the menu, but when asked, the man said they were "just fries served with an avocado sauce." "Guacamole?" he was asked. "Kind of..." he said, his voice trailing off and attention beginning to wain. We passed.]
The chocolate shake was slurped down and proclaimed good, but the fresh strawberry shake, for which we had waited a while, had an odd co-taste. Was it coffee or chocolate? We all tried it and settled on chocolate, presuming the residue of the other shake somehow got mixed in. In any case, it was disturbing enough for me to bring it back to the counter. The woman was indignant that it couldn't be mixed, strawberry and chocoloate or strawberry and anything else. I insisted that whatever it was, we all tasted more than just fresh strawberry but she again refused to consider this, shaking her head, looking past me. I left her with the shake (politely on the counter, not on her head, though a boy can dream) saying it was unsatisfactory, and she offered no replacement, not even a soda. There goes $3.25.
At roughly $9/pp and especially in light of the attitude, not a standout place. I don't know what I was expecting, but with the name "Sandwiches by Connal," I thought it might be a kinda haute couture of bread and meat meals, or some type of institution like Philippe's, offering something unique. Didn't find any of that, but it is a clean, affordable with a steady stream of customers.
1505 E Washington Blvd
Pasadena CA 91104
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