4.14.2014

Sandwich Sundays Presents: Italian on Everything

Italian on Everything
homemade
B+
It's called Everything because it's a sub roll bedazzled with all the savory specks you usually find on an everything bagel. It's called Italian because this is a pretty faithful rendition of your standard Italian grinder: ham, capacola, mortadella and provolone, with a little parmesan arugula salad instead of the expected lettuce and tomato in oil and vinegar. So there you have it. And it was mighty tasty. That's what Sandwich Sundays are for.

4.12.2014

Hangover Burger

Hangover Burger at MTO Café
A
There's something awesome about shredded lettuce on a burger. It's a welcome mess. Maybe it's the way the crisp vegetable matter helps distribute the sauce slathered inside the bun, or meat juice from the burger, or melty cheese. I guess that could be a bad thing if you're eating a Big Mac, but it's definitely a good thing when it comes to this brunch burger at MTO Café, because the special sauce is not overly sweet, the cheese is Tillamook cheddar, and everything coming out of this perfect patty is savory and delicious. There's also thick, crispy bacon and a fried egg that's been cooked harder so the yolk isn't runny like every other burger these days. It's a nice alteration. The bun is light and slightly sweet but not brioche, just a great roll. Even the shoestring fries seem to be well calculated. This Hangover Burger is just right, and we think it's the best burger in Downtown Vegas.

4.07.2014

Fried Chicken Roadside Sliders

Fried Chicken Roadside Sliders at Double Barrel Road House
B-
This new barbecue joint and beer-friendly appetizer spot smack in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip doesn't really need to serve any good food, but these sliders are pretty tasty. Crispy, savory little chunks of fried bird are mounted on soft little buns and topped with grilled poblano peppers and sweet onions (almost a weird take on cheese steak veggies) with a squirt of ranch dressing. It's a flavorful, not-quite-Tex-Mex combination, and the crunch of the chicken under those buns is just the right bite you want when you order sliders. Double Barrel also does these mini sandwiches with barbecue beef or pork, Buffalo wing-flavored chicken or wood grilled portobello mushrooms.


4.05.2014

Pork Butt Torta

Pork Butt Torta at Truck U Barbecue
A+
Allsandwich was lucky enough to get one of the very first tastes of the new Las Vegas food truck Truck U Barbeque, owned and operated by former Border Grill chef Mike Minor, whose tasty treats have made a few appearances in this space already. Now he's doing his own thing, and if this incredible pulled pork sandwich is any indication, his own thing kicks much ass. Truck U is all about melding classic, sticky-sweet-spicy American barbecue flavors with the Mexican and southwestern cooking the chef has been focusing on for a decade, and though this sandwich is most definitely true 'cue, there's a little Latin influence. The pork is simply incredible, perfectly smoky, sweet and tender, a generous portion forced onto this puffy, delightful brioche bun. We're talking big, biteable chunks with a well-spiced, crispy crust on the outside, magically falling apart in your mouth. The meat is saturated in  plenty of the truck's signature Negro Modelo and molasses barbecue sauce, and the sandwich gets extra decoration from an ancho chile and honey aioli. Those crispy potatoes are actually duck fat fries, a wonderful bed for all that piggy goodness, with some creamy, crisp coleslaw on top. You really couldn't plan a better barbecue sandwich. We were expecting a lot from Truck U, and this first taste over-delivers. Hopefully the truck's beef short rib or chipotle brisket torta will be next up.

Turkey with Spicy Slaw

Turkey Sandwich with Spicy Slaw
homemade
A-
Look, it's real simple: buy good stuff if you want to make a good sandwich. Here, we've sliced and toasted slabs of a spinach feta loaf from Las Vegas' own Great Harvest Bread company, stacked roasted turkey and muenster cheese between them and topped it all off with hot coleslaw from Las Vegas' own Pickled Pantry. And boom, awesomeness. That slaw is pretty effing hot, so when you pick up a jar—and we highly recommend that you do—be cautious with it. It's not super crisp, but the crunch of the bread  creates the texture we were craving, with bonus points for the wonderful, herbaceous smell and taste of its toastyness. It's not that we made a great sandwich. It's more like we found one.

3.23.2014

Sandwich Sundays Presents: The Monk

The Monk
homemade
B+
The evolution of our signature vegetarian sandwich continues. We're calling this the Monk because it's an abbreviated version of the Monkey, and also because it's a little more serene and thoughtful. Can a sandwich be thoughtful? We think so. We tightened up the veggie selection to create a balance of fresh flavors and textural variation, and maintained the slightly rich, satisfying foundation of cream cheese topped with sunflower seeds. On top of that, there's a layer of thin cucumber slices, then meaty slabs of heirloom tomato and super-thin rings of raw red onion. On the ceiling: Inglehoffer creamy dill mustard with lemon and capers, a true treasure. Getting everything in one bite happens naturally, and it's quite delicious—sweet, juicy, cool, creamy and crunchy, with just a bit of sharpness from the onion and the rainbow tastiness of the mustard. The only reason this isn't an A sandwich is the bread, which is utterly delicious but too big and too crusty-hard to bite through. A thick and broad French loaf is hard to resist but not the best beast for sandwich building. Maybe we'll try it on a baguette next time. 

3.20.2014

Prime Roast Beef

Prime Roast Beef at The Blind Pig
A
Two straight French dips on allsandwich? Sure, why not. This classic style of sandwich deserves to be recognized, especially when it's elevated as is the case at the new Blind Pig. Thinly sliced prime rib, still a beautiful medium rare, is layered on this crusty French roll with crunchy fried shallots, melty provolone, and a nostril-tingling horseradish cream. Every bite is beefy as it should be, and the melty-crisp textures are sublime. Then you get the toasty bread in warm, savory jus, too? Yep. That'll do, Pig.

3.10.2014

Texas Dip

Texas Dip at Roadrunner Saloon
B
A classic French dip doesn't need to be toyed with. As long as the beef is lean and juicy, the roll is fresh, and the little cup of jus is hot, you're good. The Roadrunner may call this a Texas Dip, but it's still just what you're looking for: thinly sliced sirloin—a bit too well done as a perfect dip should be rare to medium rare, but not a big deal, especially in this Vegas video poker bar—is generously layered on this long French roll, dabbed with a bit of creamy horseradish that you can't see but can certainly taste, and covered with melting Jack cheese. It's a big, beefy bite, and yes, that jus is hot. Just right.

3.09.2014

Baja Vegetarian

Baja Vegetarian at Sausagefest
A
If you're lucky enough to come across the Sausagefest food truck in Las Vegas, attack it. The flavors are magnificently huge, and maybe most impressively, they stay that way if you go the vegetarian route. This is a veggie version of a smoked apple and sage sausage, and every morsel pops with sweet and savory awesomeness. Inside its soft bun, it's topped with the truck's Baja style selections: avocados, tomatoes, onions and smoky chipotle salsa. It's spicy, it's fresh and it's crazy delicious. You'll never know or care that this baby is meatless.

3.04.2014

Crunch Burger

Crunch Burger at Bobby's Burger Palace
B+
In the pantheon of famous chefs doing burger joints, Bobby Flay falls securely into the "not fucking around" category. Note the sesame seed bun, no brioche or ciabatta or other, well, fuckingaroundness. Note the massive amount of American cheese—straight-up, tangy, processed—melted all over this simply seasoned burger patty, which is, by the way, medium rare and super juicy. Of course, he's Flayed it up by adding Lay's potato chips, his own personal touch. It's nice, lending salt and texture to a basic, delicious burger. If you order this instead of one of the creatively topped sandwiches at Bobby's Burger Palace, you're gonna have to sauce it up at the table with jalapeño green stuff, the A-1ish burger sauce, chipotle ketchup or something else. This burger is a bit too basic, but what's there is executed perfectly. We'll be back to the new Vegas location to try the other burgers soon.

Pancake PBJ

Pancake PBJ
homemade
B
This is how we do peanut butter and jelly over here. That's crunchy peanut butter, homemade plum jam from a friend, and the silver dollar buttermilk pancakes are just right. Boom.

3.01.2014

Chicken Crinkle

Chicken Crinkle
homemade
B
This homemade sandwich is a byproduct of a recent menu taste testing for Pterodactyl, a project we're very excited about. Anyways, the meat here is grilled chicken thigh that had been marinated in a gochujang-based sauce. The spicy-sour-sweet flavors were not quite strong enough on this attempt, but that's easily remedied. Even so, the chicken is tender and juicy and delicious—thigh meat is so forgiving—even if it's piled a bit sloppily on this potato bun. Those are butter lettuce leaves and crinkle cut French fries, adding some nice, fresh textures. Invisible is a smear of the homemade cognac mustard. So there's plenty of bite here, though the fries muddle things a bit. It could be refined a bit into a killer sandwich … but this is not the creation this particular chicken was made for. Stay tuned.

2.28.2014

Italian B.M.T.

Italian B.M.T. at Subway
D
Oh, Subway. These guys really are magicians. Their ability to take what should be simple and delicious and transform it into a cardboard-coated, flavorless shitlog is, in a really terrible way, astounding. I figured the Italian sub is the best shot at detecting any taste among Subway's offerings, and augmented the salami, pepperoni and Black Forest ham—wait, Black Forest ham is Italian? Pretty sure it's German—with provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and olives. I told them to get crazy with the oil, vinegar and seasonings. No matter what you add on, it always tastes like Subway. There's no escaping it.


2.21.2014

Chicago Dog

Chicago Dog at Al's Beef
B
Perhaps it makes sense that the Chicago dog at Al's Beef is almost awesome, because they are more focused here on their namesake Italian beef sandwiches (to be all sandwiched soon). Still, this is a better than solid rendition of the classic, complete with all the necessary components: poppy seed bun, snappy beef frank, yellow mustard, nuclear green relish, onion, tomato, pickle spear and sport pepper. The bun is incredibly soft, steamed to pillowy perfection. The dog itself is delicious. Everything together is just a bit mushy, as the veggies don't have enough crispness to balance everything out. But there's sweet, sour and savory, and it's good enough to have another … after one of those beef sandwiches.

2.15.2014

Griled Pub Cheese

Grilled Pub Cheese
homemade
D
Experiments can go awry. I didn't realize this pub cheese in a plastic tub is actually Pub Cheese, as in, the brand is called Pub Cheese. But it is. No matter the brand, trying to make a legit grilled cheese with spreadable cheese product is a challenging endeavor. This is cheddar and horseradish flavored Pub Cheese, so it tastes good. But I'm still not sure if it officially melted. It doesn't look like it melted, but it feels like it did. It's hot. Overall, the results are just odd … the two main reasons this is not a real grilled cheese are the lack of gooey meltiness and the use of whole grain bread. Ah well, back to the drawing board.

2.13.2014

I Love Bacon

I Love Bacon Burger at I Love Burgers
B-
Jack in the Box has launched a new burger with a blended patty of beef and bacon. Rather than subject myself to that masterpiece, I thought I'd revisit a bacon patty burger that we Vegas eaters have had all along. This version is available at one of the unsung gourmet burger joints in Las Vegas, I Love Burgers, which has locations at Palazzo at Town Square. The I Love Bacon burger is made with ground brisket and bacon, and of course it's topped with bacon strips and maple-flavored aioli to complete the overindulgence. Lettuce, tomato, crispy onions and smoked gouda round it all out, built on another sweet, puffy bun that all fancy burger joints are using these days. There is substantial smoky, porky flavors in the patty, and it's as juicy as you'd expect, but the best part is the texture. All that extra fat forms a crispy, almost crunchy edge when smashed onto the grill, creating an uncommon bite among burgers. It's definitely greasy, but mostly worth it; if you're ready to feel about yourself, this might be the burger for you.

2.09.2014

Turkey Cognac

Turkey Cognac Sandwich
homemade
A-
If you use only the best ingredients, you don't need very many to create a terrifically satisfying sandwich. Start with the bread. These slabs are sliced from a country white loaf baked 12 hours earlier by the wonderful folks at Lulu's Bread & Breakfast, beautifully soft, chewy and delicious inside—just perfect texture—and crusty and crispy around the outside. Anything between two shingles of this stuff is going to be lovely. I plastered them with homemade cognac mustard, loaded with vinegar tang and brown and yellow mustard seeds, and layered on baby greens and lemon-rosemary turkey breast from the local Whole Foods deli case. Nothing beats great fresh bread. Nothing.

Manhattan Burger

Manhattan Burger at Mr. Mamas Cafe
B-
Is it still a patty melt if there's bacon on it? Let's go with "yes," even though at Mr. Mamas they call it the Manhattan Burger. This greasy spoon serves up some greasy-good grub, including this thick, salty beef patty pressed between incredibly buttery toasted sourdough, lots of melty cheddar (or the cheese of your choke) and thick slabs of bacon. This is the kind of sandwich that's going to stick with you all day, coating your existence in butter and beef grease. I mean that in a good way.

1.27.2014

Torta de Pierna

Torta de Pierna at Las Cazuelas
A
Tortas are supposed to be blowing up right now. Maybe they are; in recent weeks in Las Vegas, at least two Mexican eateries have popped open with an emphasis on tortas. But at Las Cazuelas, which has been open for four or five months now and serves spectacularly satisfying Poblano food, there are different kinds of sandwiches to choose from. This porky beauty is a great starting point, a puffy sub-ish roll with soft texture and chew and great flavor, packed with adobo-syle marinated and roasted pork which has been cooked down to shreddy, juicy bliss. There's creamy avocado and a smooth bean spread, too, adding to each wonderful bite. Next time we'll have to munch the sauced up, slider-sized creations known as chanclas, but after finishing off this baby, we're full.


1.13.2014

Grilled Brie and Cranberry

Grilled Brie and Cranberry at Lulu's Bread & Breakfast
A
Another sandwich titan from our beloved Lulu's, another seasonal creation you must feast on before winter departs. Thick slabs of creamy, rich Brie are melted fabulously within even thicker slabs of Lulu's house-made country bread, swirling around tart dried cranberries and strips of crispy bacon. That's it. There are only three things on this sandwich, and yet it's packed with decadent flavor, balanced between smoky, salty, sweet and the mouth-enrapturing glory of all that cheese. Amazing.