Hebrew National

Hebrew National
Well hello there, summer. Toasted potato bun. Grilled Hebrew National jumbo beef frank. Beaver brand deli mustard with horseradish. Claussen kosher dill pickle spear. Here endeth the lesson.


Togarashi Chicken

Togarashi Chicken Sandwich at Glutton
We didn't expect new downtown restaurant Glutton to have a lunch menu full of delicious sandwich options, but there was this gem, right between a chicken salad sandwich with pickled tomatoes and a charcuterie panini with manchego cheese and fig preserves. (How good do those sound?) This selection, dropped on a French roll to create a sorta-banh-mi effect, features crispy chicken thighs breaded in light, crackly goodness with miso aioli, pickled vegetables and furikake, plus some greens action. It upgraded the typical banh mi, not only with much better bread but also the crunchy texture and rich, fatty meatiness of the poultry, both of which go great with the sweet brine of pickles. There are too many other interesting choices to get at this one again before trying something new, but it's a solid first step toward another great downtown sandwich destination. 


BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar SmashChicken

BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar SmashChicken at Smashburger
So far, the cow version of this sandwich is our favorite at Smashburger, so we decided to give the bird style a try. No disappointments here.  "Smashing" the chicken breast—which has already been sliced thin cutlet-style—in the same manner in which they treat their burgers on the flat-top grill proves to be an effective method with poultry as well, creating crispy, caramelized edges. Combined with thick slices of bacon and crunchy onion strings, it's a textural treat. What could be improved? Maybe the barbecue sauce could get spicier and less like ketchup, but overall this is a tasty chicken sandwich we'd eat again and again.


Hangover Slopper

Hangover Slopper at Tom's Urban
Temporarily straying from the Tom's Road Trip Sandwiches section of the menu, we discover one of the specialties of the house at Tom's Urban—the unfortunately named, incredibly craveable Hangover Slopper. This is the late night/early morning version of the Slopper, a super-solid Angus beef burger on buttery brioche smothered in pork chile verde, pico de gallo, queso fresco and cheddar and jack cheeses. And yep, you guessed it, now it has two fried eggs on top. It's a huge mess. It must be eaten with knife and fork. It's a silly something that could have only been conceived by someone drunk or stoned … and it's fantastic. The meat patty is satisfying in every way, the surprisingly spice green chile soaks into the bread to fabulous effect, and the eggs and cheese add over-the-topness. The burger or the chile would be great by themselves but they're better together. Two straight As for Tom so far.


KLC's Pastrami Reuben

KLC's Pastrami Reuben at The Sandwich Spot
The Reuben is a classic sandwich, one that lots of restaurants are happy to put their own spin on. The Sandwich Spot version gets it done, using wonderful pastrami as the core along with crunchy sauerkraut, creamy Thousand Island dressing and slabs of Swiss cheese. We doubled down on the salty crispness by adding thick slices of dill pickle, plus yellow deli mustard to bring it all together. This is also the first time we've ever had a Reuben on Dutch crunch bread, a Sandwich Spot signature and a delightful, satisfying way to work through any sandwich on this menu. It might look familiar, but this is one of the most unique Reubens we've ever chomped.


Double SmokeShack

Double SmokeShack at Shake Shack
National Hamburger Month isn't over yet, so let's get back into it. The SmokeShack is probably the single best bite at Shake Shack, and maybe it should be the signature burger. Maybe it already is, but it seems like the standard Shack burger is more popular and iconic. This one, however, offers more unique flavors, a spicy and salty combination not readily available at most fast-food burger spots. Shack's supreme-quality beef is topped with smoked applewood bacon—we're talking legit bacon strips with fat and everything, not the paper-thin bacon flakes that sometimes spoil fast-casual bacon cheeseburgers—and a sort of chopped cherry pepper relish, two elements that bring smokey, savory, vinegary notes to the beefy-cheesy party. Those peppers cut through all the fatty richness like no other Shack burger ingredient can. Add some creamy, tangy Shack sauce and it's quite the combo. The only thing that prevents me from going A+ on this one is the simple fact that too much of a good thing is a real concern when it comes to Shake Shack; I prefer these burgers with a single patty for perfect proportions. This double is a monster … a super-delicious monster.

Chicken Ring Slider

Chicken Ring Slider at White Castle
"Like our sliders? Then put a ring on it. Two lightly breaded, crispy Chicken Rings made with all white meat, that is." Gotta love the timely Beyoncé reference from White Castle. Also, the way they just throw Chicken Rings out there so casually, as if Chicken Rings are just an accepted part of our society. And I don't believe these are made with all white meat, because these things are chewy and rubbery in a very McNuggety kinda way. Stick to White Castle's more familiar fare.


Pat LaFrieda Burger

Pat LaFrieda Burger at the D Grill
Pat LaFrieda is a pretty big name in beef. If you go to a restaurant in Las Vegas or New York or anywhere else and see his name on the menu, you're supposed to get excited about the hunk of beef you're about to eat. Every time I've had that experience, the results were fantastic … until now. But I'm not blaming the butcher for the mediocrity of this burger, it's just that it's the most normal burger I've ever eaten, a little overcooked and under seasoned. But it's still 100 percent USDA Choice Angus beef, including a little short rib in the grind for a little fatty flavor. I topped it with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle, so maybe it's my fault if this was a boring burger. But sometimes you just want it basic, and really, really good. This one missed the mark.


Crispy Turkey Breast Sandwich

Crispy Turkey Breast Sandwich at PDQ
The quality of the food at this new chicken joint PDQ—new to Las Vegas, anyway—came as something of a shock. I was expecting totally generic chicken tenders, and that's generally what it is, but everything tastes way better than I assumed it would. Case in point, this undeniably tasty, surprisingly juicy turkey breast sandwich, coated in crunchy fried goodness. The meat itself isn't very flavorful (this is turkey we're talking about) but the texture is pleasant and the moisture is, again, shocking. The outside is savory and crisp, the egg bun is lovely, and the lettuce, tomato and pickles are fresh and big and nice to eat. PDQ's "sweet heat" sauce, a tangy mayo-ish thing, adds a bit more to each bite. Nice work.

Mirage Burger

Mirage Burger at Steiner's
It's back to Steiner's Pub for a another solid burger named for a casino: "This one is a Wynner!" Ah, I see what you did there. Whatever. This one's got sautéed onions and mushrooms, bacon and melted Swiss, an ordinary yet satisfying combo. If the bacon's crisp, the mushrooms aren't too mushy and the burger patty is cooked just right, this one really is a winner. I've said it before and I'll say it again—bars are my favorite places to eat burgers.

Sandwich Sundays Presents: The Fake-Cago Dog

The Fake-Cago Dog
It was just supposed to be hot dog-grilling day at bro's house, but then we saw the big dill pickle spears and got a stupid-tasty idea. So, big-ass pickle goes into the bun with the all-beef frank with tomatoes, mustard, crunched-up Ruffles and some home-made fries. Really needs some onions and relish. But hey, it works. Sorta. 


Moon 'N' Doggie

Moon 'N' Doggie at RM Seafood
You can't eat this. The Moon 'N' Doggie was created by celebrity chef Rick Moonen during his competitive appearance on Top Chef Masters and has made appearances at several different venues as a one-time menu special, including at tennis' US Open a few years back. We finally got to devour one when it popped up on Moonen's limited time 10-year anniversary menu at RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, and it's pretty damn addictive. The roll is a toasty, buttery bun that you'd normally find embracing a lobster roll. The sausage is made chiefly with shrimp, with some herbs and seasonings mixed in to create mild, delicious flavors. It's topped off with a crisp Asian slaw and some crunch togarashi chips, making it feel much more like a familiar hot dog than a sublime seafood creation. It satisfies in all the right ways, but there's no guilt associated with eating this dog. It's just too bad you can't find it on the permanent menu.

The All-Natural Burger

The All-Natural Burger at Carl's Jr.
Really, how do we know? Carl's calls it fast food's first all-natural burger, but the fact is you could slap a standard, frozen, fast-food patty on an upgraded bakery bun, take care to pick out the best looking, most crisp, somewhat-close-to-fresh vegetables, and sub in cheddar for standard processed American cheese and no one would tell the difference. Hmm, this is a better fast-food burger, you'd think to yourself, never really knowing if this cow disc is, in fact, a grass-fed, free range burger. I have yet to meet the person who can tell the difference between grass and grain fed cow meat when it's in burger form. Steak, yes. Ground beef? Doubt it. So really what we've got is a Carl's Jr. burger that tastes better  than the other Carl's Jr. burgers, which really ain't saying much.


The S.O.B.

The S.O.B. at Lulu's Bread & Breakfast
At this point, I really don't know why I'd eat a breakfast sandwich anywhere other than Lulu's. The S.O.B. is a fried egg sandwich on a puffy, beautiful brioche bun with a southwestern slant—diced green chilies, pepper jack and cotija cheeses, avocado and spicy chicken chorizo offer an amazing contrast of textures and flavors. There's richness and sharp heat, satisfying unctuousness and plenty of bright freshness. And the damn egg is just cooked perfectly. Who does it better than these guys?


Slaw Be Jo

Slaw Be Joe at Capriotti's
It's a little weird to eat a Cap's sandwich on an actual plate. We're all just used to munching through these suckers on top of the paper they were wrapped in, probably over our coffee tables while we watch basketball on TV at home. But I guess that's what happens when Capriotti's lands at the fancy new Downtown Summerlin shopping complex. Anyway, a plate does nothing for the appearance or taste of this bland sandwich, chunks of dry, house-roasted beef, provolone, coleslaw and Russian dressing slathered all over a submarine roll. Cap's sandwiches are consistently mediocre, and at this point, the only reason we eat them is when other people want to meet there. Let's do better.


Spinach Muenster Breakfast Ciabatta

Spinach Muenster Breakfast Ciabatta
This was an easy win. A fried egg sandwich on a soft, spongy ciabatta roll? Of course. Melt way too much Muenster cheese all over everything? Boom. Sautée baby spinach and garlic and stuff some of that rich goodness on this sucker? Absolutely. There is, of course, one obvious omission, and that's crispy bacon. There's always next breakfast.


Three Meatball Sub

Three Meatball Sub at Meatball Spot
I'll confess: I wanted to make fun of Meatball Spot. That's the only reason I went to eat there. It started out as a silly Italian restaurant concept with a sorta celebrity chef attached, planted in a mega-mall south of the Strip. It evolved into a quick-serve counter in another mega-mall, the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood on the Strip, with the alleged attachment of P-Ho resident performer Britney Spears as an investor. So, yeah, it seemed a safe assumption that the food would be a joke. Turns out this meaty, spicy, messy, tasty sub is pretty kick-ass. The meatballs themselves—these are the "classic" variety, a blend of beef, veal and pork—could be a little more moist and a little less firm, but those issues are less of a factor piled into a respectable, dense roll and smothered in a spicy tomato-meat sauce and parmesan cheese. If Brit has anything to do with this delicious sandwich, congratulations.

Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger at San Gennaro Burger
So Vegas burgers are great and fancy and even the food court burger stop in a giant, beautiful casino resort like the Venetian is gonna be way better than any fast-food burger or any burger you cook at home or anything you're used to eating. Nope. Sometimes the haters are right. Sometimes what appears to be an overpriced, totally mediocre burger is exactly that. The relatively new San Gennaro Burger makes a decent effort with brioche buns and fresh, crisp produce, but the whole isn't greater than the sum of these parts. Not melting the generic American cheese over the beef patty is a sin of epic proportions, as is failing to season your meat. If you find yourself in the Venetian with a burger craving, head over to Mario Batali's place or Daniel Boulud's place. You're still going to pay too much, but at least you'll have a delicious meal.


Prime Rib Philly Cheesesteak Dip

Prime Rib Philly Cheesesteak Dip at Tom's Urban
Maybe you've never been in a sandwich situation where you had to choose between a French dip and a cheesesteak, because maybe there aren't many restaurants that offer both. At Tom's Urban—or at least the new Las Vegas version of Tom's Urban, which unsurprisingly takes things to a whole 'nother level—you get to have both sandwiches at once. How about 12 ounces of rare, thinly sliced prime rib on a buttered brioche roll, ready to dip into a seriously savory beef demi-glace jus? How about adding on havarti cheese and grilled-to-caramelization onions? Okay, maybe it's more dip than Philly, but it brings the melty goodness you want from a cheesesteak, plus that undeniable satisfaction that comes from shaved beef, gooey cheese and grilled onions. It's a killer. It's one of those sandwiches where there seems to be no way to eat more than half, but you're going to keep going because it's just that good. We're coming back to Tom's. This guy knows how to sandwich.


Italian Hero

Italian Hero at Montesano's
Cappicola, Genoa salami, mortadella. Is there a better all-pork meat combination? Salty, slightly sweet, oily, a little spicy, fatty, wonderful. Put them on a crusty sub roll with some thick-sliced provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, oil and vinegar, and you've got a fan in me. Longtime Las Vegas Italian deli Montesano's augments their classic Italian sub with onions and pepperoncinis, plus a roll that has a little more chew to it. But this one is all about the meat, and they don't go light with these high quality piggy slices. They also layer the meats just so, creating a thick, savory, juicy bite every time. This is one sandwich where it's a good thing if the meat-to-bread proportion seems a little heavy on the meat side.