The Elliot Ness

The Elliot Ness at Eddie D's Famous Italian Sandwiches
Okay, we are a little obsessed with Eddie D's sandwich shop. And yes, it is close to headquarters, but that doesn't change the fact that it's overall delicious. (We had a little something to do with this.) It's currently ranked as our top shop in Vegas, trailed by Johnny McGuire's, 'Wichcraft, Capriotti's and more. These rankings can change at any time, so stay tuned ...

You're not going to find the Elliot Ness on the menu. It's a recurring special on the chalkboard up front. It's got a great name, but it's an average sandwich -- pastrami, melted cheese, coleslaw, Russian dressing -- with the exception of one element: French fries. Maybe this is Pittsburgh-style, a la Primanti Brothers? The chewy roll brings enough starch to this party, and these thick (and tasty) steak fries are a carb overload. The potato-ness overpowers what turns out to be pretty good pastrami, very lean and thinly sliced.

This grade is probably a bit low for this sandwich. But there are too many A-level options at Eddie D's to stick with this. For example, if you want a true untouchable, try the meatballs.


Crispy Cornmeal Salmon Sandwich

Crispy Cornmeal Salmon Sandwich at Hash House A Go Go
Hash House A Go Go is a Vegas breakfast/brunch favorite, with lines going out the door on weekends. Its "twisted farm food" concept and huge portions are a lot of fun, which explains why the place has received celebrity attention and the benefits of TV appearances. Most of the food is good, even if it's too much food to finish.

When giant portions meet sandwich, it's usually disastrous. The whole point of a sandwich is convenient deliciousness, right? Who wants a messy ass sandwich? This thing is very big and slightly messy, but the gigantic cornmeal-fried hunk of salmon was worth the trouble. The huge wheat bun could have been a bit more soft, but it was tasty and did its best to support the fish, probably around a 14-ounce filet of fresh farmed salmon. Cornmeal is probably my favorite fried fish coating, so perhaps I'm a sucker for this one. It was moist and juicy inside without any raw spots with a thin, crispy coating, and the kitchen didn't screw up and oversalt the cornmeal. The fish alone was great. The red onion, red leaf lettuce and bland chili mayo didn't offer much.


Buffalo Burger

Buffalo Burger at Burger Bar
I'm tired of writing about burgers. Why is everyone so enamored with such typical foodstuff? I tell ya, it never ends. Every few weeks someone is asking me What's the best burger in Vegas? or What's your favorite burger? For the most part, a burger is a burger. If you go to McDonald's, it's gonna suck. If you go to a place like Burger Bar in Mandalay Bay, it's not gonna suck. It's not complicated. And other than pizza, I can't think of anything more subjective than burgers. There's no such thing as Best Burger Ever; it depends on how you like your burger. Yes, I picked In-N-Out over that famous burger at Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace. Get over it.

To me, it gets a little tricky comparing burgers from a restaurant that serves only burgers to fancy, upscale eateries that happen to do a great version of the hamburger. Burger Bar was pretty much the first gourmet burgers-only joint to pop up on the Vegas Strip, and while there are quite a few more these days, I think it's still the best. You can build your own, like I did with this buffalo, provolone, roasted pepper and bacon burger, or order a signature burger with chef-tested and approved flavor combinations. If you really want something special, I recommend ordering one of the kitchen's creations. But it can be fun to experiment. That's what I did here, and it was a success. Buffalo is my favorite substitute for beef because it maintains so much flavor with a lot less fat. This meat was cooked perfectly, medium rare, juicy and satisfying. The combination of crispy bacon and sweet peppers was a little weird, something I've never had together before. It worked, but I might have been better off using something with a softer flavor for my veggie topping.

The Dante

The Dante at Eddie D's Famous Italian Sandwiches
Is this the first case of disappointment at our beloved Eddie D's, or merely a letdown caused by personal preference? It's hard to say. But the Dante, one of the many cold sandwiches on the menu named after a character from The Sopranos, certainly is simplistic: A crackly Italian sub roll with tons of prosciutto, roasted sweet red peppers and fresh mozzarella. The bread, cheese and peppers are wonderful but mild, requiring some extra kick. But there's no mustard, oil or spread of any kind on this sandwich to contrast those flavors and textures and add some extra moisture. And then we get to the real problem ... A thick pile of prosciutto that clumps together, creating a wet, fatty mouthful of something that looks and feels like raw chicken. Tough to swallow. I like prosciutto, but typically as a secondary meat on a sandwich, a situation where its decadence can complement rather than bat leadoff. The Dante just isn't working.