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.

Krispy Kreme Pulled Pork

Krispy Kreme Pulled Pork at Truck U Barbecue
This is clearly insane, but also impossible to not order. It was a special from our beloved Truck U Barbeque food truck, and even though we also devoured fried chicken tacos and a burnt-ends brisket burrito that were off-the-charts delicious, we felt compelled to go to work on this super-sweet indulgence: Truck U's slightly smokey, slightly spicy, juicy and wonderful pulled pork and a slice of cheddar sandwiched between two Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts. We've seen other people make crazy sandwiches out of Krispy Kremes, but usually they cut one in half. Nope. Not Truck U. Two full doughnuts, over the top in an irresistible way.


Biloxi Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich

Biloxi Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich at Honey Salt
It took us way too long to finally devour this fried chicken sandwich, probably one of the most obvious things to order and easiest dishes to like at a restaurant that is ultimately easy to like. Honey Salt is one of Las Vegas' favorite neighborhood eateries, all cozy and comfort food-ish, and this is no doubt a scrumptious offering. But somehow we thought there would be something more to it. Yes, it's on an exquisite brioche roll. Sure, there's tangy Durkee sandwich spread and crunchy, creamy coleslaw onboard. And oh yes, the fried white-meat chicken is juicy and moist, crisp and well-seasoned, everything you want in a sandwich-filling fried bird. It's a delightful bite, and while we'd happily munch it again and again, it fell just short of the top mark, lacking that little something extra that makes a sandwich truly memorable. Still, we don't love Honey Salt any less.

Moshi Moshi

Moshi Moshi at Cheffini's
Our comprehensive menu tour at the most creative gourmet dog spot in Las Vegas continues with the Moshi Moshi, an umami-fied wiener if ever there was one. The frank is grilled to near-crisp perfection and then bunned up with caramelized onions, jalapeños, spicy mayo, a red wine sauce, sesame seeds and flakes of crispy nori. Yep, it's a seaweed dog. It's got loads of texture, plenty of heat, and deep, round flavors. It's just as easy to eat and love as the other dogs at Cheffini's, which is, at this point, completely unsurprising. And totally delicious.


Original and Cheese Sliders

Original and Cheese Sliders at White Castle
How did I go almost 40 years without ever eating a single White Castle slider? Easy. I'm a West Coast guy. I've never even been to New York. Could I have just grabbed some frozen White Castles at the grocery store and gone to town on them one night when I'd had too much to drink? Sure. Could've. But I never had the urge because hey, they look disgusting. And now that White Castle has opened an actual restaurant smack in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, I can see that the authentic version also looks nasty. But I have to admit—they are quite tasty, in their own disgusting way. You already know this. Everybody already knows this. The main strength of the White Castle slider is its perfect proportions of meat to stuff to bun, and the fact that it's small enough that you will have finished it before it has a chance to get soggy. This is the most onions you could ever fit on a sandwich this small without being able to see any actual onions. And then there's the one pickle, which just doesn't make any sense. Adding a square of nuclear-yellow American cheese is a great idea, the tang blending into all that onionyness and doing what it always does to cheap ground beef—masking its shortcomings. After my first few bites, it's easy to understand why these things are so famous and how they've become beloved. But that doesn't mean White Castle sliders are legit sandwiches.

The Krabtastic

The Krabtastic
I don't know how to explain this really. I guess it's just another cheap, quick sandwich I got to used to eating in my formative sandwich years. Everything here is from Albertsons: a kaiser roll, a couple leaves of butter lettuce, a pile of fake-ass crab salad from the butcher counter. Fake-ass crab salad is better than I remember. The chunks of fake crab—probably some cheap white fish—are bigger. There's quite a bit of diced celery and dill mixed in with its questionably creamy goodness. And there are baby shrimp in there, too. Don't misunderstand: I'm still embarrassed about eating this. But it's pretty tasty. Maybe.


Chopped Beef Brisket

Chopped Beef Brisket at Big Ern's BBQ
Did you know that we, the people behind allsandwich, have started a new barbecue blog? It's true. Check it out, if you want. Downtown 'cue spot Big Ern's was our first target. On a recent return visit, we indulged in this saucy, smoky brisket sandwich, which, despite the fancy looking bun and a serious load of meat, was only mediocre. The brisket was a bit too fatty and a bit too bland, while the sauce—even the spicier of two barbecue sauces available at Ern's—is a little too sweet. This 'cue will do in a pinch, but it misses the mark in sandwich format.


The Conquest

The Conquest at the Peppermill
The Peppermill strikes again with this meaty behemoth, sort of a hybrid between cheesesteak indulgence and patty melt satisfaction. A mountain of shockingly high quality, lean roast beef is the centerpiece. This is basically what Arby's would taste like if it was a righteous one-off sandwich shop instead of an evil fast-food empire. The foundation is grilled parmesan sourdough, which has also been plastered with butter during the toasty process and layered with melty cheddar cheese and crispy bacon strips. Attempting to cut through all that richness are sautéed peppers, onions and mushrooms, fresh tomato slices, and a bit of Thousand Island dressing for a creamy zing. It's tough to eat this monster but it's harder to stop eating it. Some of the staff at the Peppermill like to order it with turkey instead of beef, but I say this: Go on this conquest the way it was intended and you won't be sorry.

Peppered Pastrami, Turkey and Swiss Cheese

Peppered Pastrami, Turkey and Swiss Cheese at Port of Subs
I ate sandwiches at Port of Subs and Subway within days of each other and perhaps this goes without saying but Port of Subs is way, way better. It's still totally mediocre in every possible way, but it doesn't screw up easy stuff the way Subway does. Anyway, this is a pretty solid combination … pastrami and turkey get along very well together, and Swiss has enough of its own flavor to hold up against these salty meats. You can actually taste it, unlike the easily overshadowed mass market provolone that shows up on so many of these sandwiches. Wheat roll, lettuce-tomato-onion, mustard, oil and vinegar. I think I had this for breakfast.


Crispy Bao Bun

Crispy Bao Bun at Ku Noodle
A nasty little rumor says that José Andrés' five-month old Ku Noodle, a brilliant noodle shop at SLS, could be shuttering. That would suck, because the food here is outstanding. Take, for example, this sandwichy take on the steamed bun favorite bao. A sweet, puffy roll (not sure if it's steamed or not, but it has an amazing light and almost creamy texture) with a paper-thin outer crisp edge is sliced open and stuffed with luscious braised pork belly lacquered in a zingy hoisin-ish sauce, topped with pickled veggies, cilantro leaves and peanuts. It's got crunch, it's got acid, it's got lots of fatty richness, it's got freshness and it's got a pleasant sweetness. It's a helluva meal, but if you want it, apparently, you better move fast.


The Runnin' Rebel

The Runnin' Rebel at the Sandwich Spot
Just a few weeks old and the Sandwich Spot is already one of the most promising new sandwich spots in Las Vegas. They have a cool, Vegasy decor—despite the fact that it appears to be a California-based franchise—and a menu of simple but well-constructed creations, some of which have Vegasy names. This is one of those, a pile of hot salami with melted pepper jack cheese and bomb sauce, which is a funky combination of a bunch of other sauces. It's a bit spicy, a bit sweet, and it even tastes a bit like … meat? Maybe. It's a lovely complement to any pork or beef product, and the Sandwich Spot does a lot with those. Note all the extras that come on this sucker (lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, peppers, plus mayo, mustard and "secret sauce"), and also pay attention to the dense, slightly sweet Dutch crunch roll. You just don't see this kind of bread in a lot of sandwich shops. It's a nice little detail that proves these folks take their sandwiches very seriously.


Spicy Barbecue Chicken Melt

Spicy Barbecue Chicken Melt
Relatively simple yet highly effective: Cajun spice-dusted, grilled chicken breast, sliced into tender mini-strips and squished into a ciabatta with chipotle pepper-laced white cheddar, made toasty in the oven and then dabbed with Horsetooth Hot Mess porter, bourbon and coffee barbecue sauce. Lots of flavor, a little heat, a little sweet, lots of warm bread crunch. A pretty magnificent combination, as it turns out.


Shack-cago Dog

Shack-cago Dog at Shake Shack
It's back to the Shack to start the new year with the meal that started it all. That's right, Shake Shack was originally a hot dog spot. Didja know? It's true, and once you get a bite of this classic Chicago dog, you'll understand. Shake Shack dogs are just as good as the burgers. An all-natural beef frank is split and griddled, nestled into a toasted bun, and truly "dragged through the garden," as they say—decorated generously with onions, pickle, tomato, Rick's Picks Shack Relish, cucumber and spicy sport peppers. Super-fresh veggies make a big difference. It's finished with celery salt and mustard, and it's every bit as addictive as any burger on the menu at the newest Shake Shack on the Las Vegas Strip.



Shackburger at Shake Shack
In less than 16 hours, Shake Shack arrives in Las Vegas. It's the only Shake Shack west of Chicago, and it swings open the doors right on the Strip at the New York-New York casino. It's kind of a big deal. I don't believe that because it's so good, though everybody raves about it. (This is my first taste of Shake Shack.) I think it's a big deal because this is the first time Shake Shack has opened in the same state as In-N-Out Burger, and in fact you could drive away from the Strip on Tropicana Avenue for just a few minutes and find In-N-Out. Those people who rave about Shake Shack's delicious quality and noble simplicity remind me of the west coast people who stand loyal to In-N-Out for the same reasons. So now, really for the first time, we can compare the two fast-food burger sensations side by side. I can't do that yet, because my sneak peek tasting at the Shack included this single patty Shackburger, and my normal order at In-N-Out is the Double-Double. Eventually, I will eat Shack's double, and then we'll see what's what. But for now, let's focus on this Shackburger and only sorta compare it to In-N-Out because, well, it's very similar. A thinner patty of obviously fresh, high-quality beef, not at all over-seasoned as to allow its satisfying meaty splendor to shine. It's all-natural Angus beef, freshly ground, a secret blend of specific cuts of cow, cooked medium unless you say otherwise. The bun is soft and almost spongy, different from In-N-Out because there's potato starch in it. Melty American cheese, lettuce, tomato, no onions unless you order them, and spread, er, Shacksauce. The sauce is certainly derivative of the ketchup-and-mayo "secret sauce" everybody uses, but it's thicker, creamier, more voluptuous and indulgent than most, including In-N-Out's. The Shackburger is not huge. It's the perfect size to force you to consider a second cheeseburger after you've quickly devoured the first. And it's decidedly delicious, pinpointing everything we love about a cheeseburger and all the satisfaction included therein. The whole point of the Shackburger is to take it apart, find the best possible everything, and put it back together again better than ever. And it's successful in that attempt. But yeah, I have to have the double. The thing is, the Shake Shack cheeseburger and the In-N-Out cheeseburger cannot be equal. They are too similar. They must be compared, and there must be a winner. Everyone must choose for themselves.


Sandwich Sundays Presents: Everything on Everything

Everything on Everything
Sandwich Sundays gets even sweeter when you pick up your supplies from Bagel Cafe. A holiday get-together proved the perfect excuse to get way too much meat, cheese, veggies, pickles, bagels and spreads from our favorite deli—nay, the best deli in Las Vegas!—and go to work. We couldn't decide what to put on our everything bagel, so we didn't—we grabbed it all. Turkey, ham, roast beef and pastrami, Swiss cheese and cheddar, lots of yellow mustard, tomato, cucumber, and pickles on the side. (Whitefish salad on the side, too, but that's another subject.) The result? Pure nap-inducing pleasure, a thick mess of meaty splendor. Add a soft couch and a football game and all of a sudden, holidays with the family is the best thing that ever happened.


Panchero at Cheffini's
Cheffini's refuses to disappoint. A holiday hot dog tasting presented the opportunity to try several of their wild wiener variations, including the Panchero—a lovely grilled frank topped with caramelized onions, red bell pepper aioli, diced and grilled bits of chorizo and a classic chimichurri sauce. And wow, do these flavors sing. Rich, sweet onions. Creamy, zingy mayo. Fatty, spicy, caramelized bliss from those squares of chorizo, which seem to magically work their way into every bite. You gotta give it up for sausage on top of other sausage. And the chimi, which could overpower any standard hot dog due to its powerful garlickyness, somehow fades into the background, a soft blast of brightness when you least expect it. Cheffini's hot dogs are magical.