The Parma

The Parma at Parma
Hell yes. We've known Parma Pastavino & Deli as a great little neighborhood Italian joint, but only recently did we stop by for lunch and experience one of the best Italian subs in Vegas. Even more incredible than the taste of this beautiful sandwich is the fact that at six bucks, half of one of these is all you'll need.

Piled on a very flavorful, very crusty hard roll are a variety of meats and cheeses, and the selection could change at the chef's whim. But rest assured all are imported, high quality ingredients like hot capicola, pepperoni, mortadella and classic picnic ham, augmented by provolone and parmesan cheeses. Shredded lettuce, tomato, red onion and a red wine vinaigrette dressing are pretty familiar complements, right? But the kicker is a spicy, vinegary spread of marinated olives and pepperoncini, an element that makes an ordinarily delicious sandwich unique to this shop. Bravo. Maybe we'll get a whole one after all.


The Engineer

The Engineer at Firehouse Subs
I don't really understand you, Firehouse Subs. Your sandwiches are fine, large soft rolls stacked with mighty portions of meats, but your flavors are merely ordinary and your gimmick is ... firemen? Because firemen are extra hungry? Or everybody loves firemen so they'll probably love your sandwiches? This franchise was founded by firemen, fine, I get that. But what does that have to do with a delicious sandwich?

There's nothing confusing about this straight-ahead sub. The Engineer has a nice pile of smoked, sliced turkey breast (standard stuff without a lot of smoky flavor), mushrooms, Swiss cheese and your everyday hoagie vegetables. In fact, at Firehouse Subs they call it "fully involved," which means lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo, onion and a pickle spear on the side. Most sandwiches here come warm, though not necessarily toasty a la Quizno's. They're also huge; a large is at least two meals. The new shop that just opened in my 'hood boasts a nice collection of hot sauces if you want to spice things up a bit. The Engineer is tasty and satisfying, but it could definitely use a few shots of something.


The Bearcat

The Bearcat at Johnny McGuire's
How come nobody else is talking about this Johnny McGuire's sandwich shop at the annoying outdoor super mall known as Town Square? It's deliciously consistent. Fine, I'll do it.

It doesn't make sense to call a sandwich The Bearcat, but it sounds awesome. Let's agree on that. This is a wheat roll, soft and fresh, and there are fairly normal toppings on board, but the thing that sets this sandwich off is the purple cabbage coleslaw in a barely creamy, slightly zingy sauce. The menu says there's Thousand Island dressing on The Bearcat, but if that's true it must be blended innocently into this slaw. It's the perfect amount of moisture and a very pleasant taste and texture, a crunchy-drizzly dynamic. Meatwise, you've got plenty of turkey and some crisp bacon, with Swiss cheese, tomatoes, onions and green bell pepper balancing things out. Another fine creation from JM.


Half Pastrami

Half Pastrami at Bagel Cafe
In the case of the traditional deli stacked-meat sandwich, sometimes a half is all you need. Most times a half is all you need. So I usually pair this bad boy with a cup of Bagel Cafe's matzoh ball soup, which is much more food than I need in one sitting.

Bagel Cafe's pastrami is right up there with the best in town, and unlike most deli-type spots, they actually make it in-house. It's sliced thin, juicy with the right amount of fat, and salty with just a bit of spiciness. A dab of spicy table mustard is all you need on this meaty beast, ordered here on simple (also homemade) rye. This is as good a basic pastrami sandwich as you'll find in Vegas, just as tasty as those imported NY and LA sandwich spots as the Strip. And at the Bagel Cafe, you're not gonna take a hit in the wallet.


BLT Burger

BLT at BLT Burger
Even though the "BLT" in BLT Burger doesn't stand for what you think it does, it's still made up of what you think it is. BLT is another Vegas fancy burger joint, one of the better ones, and its name comes from Laurent Tourondel, the chef originally behind the BLT family of restaurants. I'm not sure if he's affiliated with this burger shop anymore, but it doesn't matter. The burgers are still good. This one has a seven-ounce patty of grilled angus beef, double smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, BLT burger sauce (which is probably fine but I don't remember tasting) and strong blue cheese. Man, blue cheese and bacon go together.

But the best parts about this burger are the bun, a standard issue, soft-yet-firm sesame seeded roll, and the meat, a custom grind of sirloin, brisket, chuck and shortrib. There's probably a lot more chuck than anything else, but it's a nice, fatty blend, full of beefy flavor with a great texture. And even though this one seems relatively unfancy, it's my favorite burger on the menu.