12.21.2011

Hot Pastrami

Hot Pastrami at Zoozacrackers
A
To the short list of spectacular pastrami sandwiches on the Vegas Strip, add this beauty from the underrated Zoozacrackers deli at Wynn. Give it a few extra points because unlike the offerings at imported joints like Canter's and Carnegie, the Zooza crew makes all this stuff in-house: pastrami, corned beef, even the latkes. And it's very steady.

This simple, sublime sandwich comes on some pretty great bread, also baked in the resort. It's soft but firm seedy rye with just enough flavor. The pastrami is very different from those other places, and from what you're used to eating with store-bought meat. It's incredibly tender with zero bites of weird fattiness or gristle, thanks to a very complicated and lengthy cooking process. All the familiar tastes are there, including a subtle smokiness, black pepper, garlic and coriander. It's not overly salty. The flavors are round and smooth, beefier than other pastramis. Great stuff. They tack on some Swiss cheese and let you go at it yourself with the mustard.

Scrumptious bites like these make us continue to hit the Strip for our regular deli fix. It's hard to say this is better than the rest, as it's so different. But for now, there's not another place anywhere in Vegas I'd rather get a pastrami sandwich.

12.09.2011

Juicy Lucy

Juicy Lucy at Crossroads at House of Blues
C-
If you watch a lot of food TV, you might be pretty excited about this. The "Juicy Lucy" burger, originated somehow, somewhere, is all over TV whenever I switch to the Food Network or the Travel Channel or the Cheeseburger Channel or what the fuck ever. I've even seen a show where two different versions of this burger battled each other, and were judged by alleged experts. (Okay, maybe I'm jealous. Maybe we like to think there is no greater assessment of burger greatness than what is done right here at allsandwich.) What seems like a simple concept is portrayed as revolutionary through all this hype. The cheese is inside the burger! And armageddon ensues.

Whether or not the Juicy Lucy is a phenomenon that is sweeping our nation, this is the first time I've seen it on a Las Vegas menu actually called a "Juicy Lucy." And it's at an odd place, not because the House of Blues restaurant in Mandalay Bay is kind of a glorified bar and grill, but because it's traditionally been a soul food-inspired eatery which is now swinging toward Mexican food. Confusing, right? And smack in the middle of this mess is this rather basic burger, stuffed full of two different cheeses, overcooked, and dropped on a completely mediocre bun. The only flavor besides melty-gooey-cheesiness comes from the roasted peppers, which only make sense because of this vague new southwestern theme. Things are weird here. This burger isn't weird, but it sure is boring.

12.06.2011

Turkey Sandwich

Turkey Sandwich at Bread & Butter
A
Don't worry: I'm not still eating and blogging turkey sandwiches this far after Thanksgiving. No, this beauty comes to you because Bread & Butter, a new breakfast-lunch-bakery spot in the suburban town of Henderson (yeah, it's all still Vegas) is building quite a buzz. It's known for its sweet stuff and artisan breads, like this soft, fresh, light, perfect roll that somehow falls somewhere between brioche and pretzel. Baking isn't the only thing they do well here ... stuffed inside is house-roasted, shredded turkey, melted swiss, mayo and a tasty veggie relish with bell pepper, red onion, sunflower seeds and a light, refreshing dressing. This kitchen is always working on something new, and we can't wait to try its other sandwich creations.

11.28.2011

Steakhouse Burger

Steakhouse Burger at The Barrymore
A
I don't know if there's a better burgermeister in Vegas than Chef Anthony Meidenbauer. Dude started up both LBS Burger in the Red Rock and Holsteins in the Cosmopolitan, and at his latest restaurant creation --boutique throwback joint The Barrymore inside the Royal Resort -- the burgers are simply outstanding.

Behold the Barrymore's Steakhouse Burger, a juicy grass-fed beef patty resting on a delicious, almost flaky muffin-style bun, topped with bacon marmalade, a bit of fresh frisee, oven roasted tomatoes, garlic mayo and melty gruyere. It fits snugly between the concept of a back-to-basics, all-about-the-beef burger and a creatively crowned, wildly flavored burger. Besides the sturdy bun and the unbelievably tasty cow, my favorite element is the roasted tomatoes, adding a bit of fresh garden richness to every bite. Bravo, burgermeister.

11.25.2011

The Rave

The Rave at Johnny McGuire's
A+
In honor of the endless leftovers and turkey sandwiches being consumed today, allow us to introduce you to a proper Thanksgivingy masterpiece. The Rave, ordered here on a whole wheat sub roll, is packed with sliced turkey, cranberry sauce, provolone, sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce, green bell pepper, sunflower seeds, red onion, horseradish and hot pickled peppers. It is outstanding, vinegar-spicyness and nostril-burning horsey action mingling with fresh vegetable crunch and sweet-sour crantasticness. It is a bite of beauty and definitely our favorite Thanksgiving tradition buster. Johnny McGuire's continues to consistently amaze.

11.17.2011

Clubhouse

Clubhouse at Peppermill
D
Time to rant: I love the Peppermill. The restaurant and the bar. They're great. You can't beat the old-school Vegas awesome atmosphere. But the food is just okay, never great. And you know what? Fuck a club sandwich. Who invented this thing? Is it not just an excuse to force you to eat an extra piece of super-dry, mouth-stabbing toast? Come on ... it's a BLT with turkey, right? Perfectly fine sandwich. And then you  go and ruin in by corrupting the sacred bread-to-goodies sandwich ratio. Also, most clubs I've eaten tend to go heavy on the mayo. Fucking why? Unnecessary.

To recap: club sandwiches are generally lousy, and the Peppermill's is particularly bad. But those fries were really good.

11.15.2011

The Hungry Pitmaster

The Hungry Pitmaster at Sassy Sal's BBQ
B
This is a daily special, a monstrous sandwich not on the everyday menu at this friendly little barbecue joint in northwest Vegas. And it's got the perfect name, because you better be more than hungry if you're planning to tackle this bitch, and pretty much everything in the barbecue pit is on top of this toasted bun. There's a pile of smoked beef brisket, a pile of pulled pork, a huge, wildly spicy hot link split down the middle, shredded cheese and yet another pile of creamy coleslaw. The coleslaw is actually pretty good, a nice cool counterpoint to the spicy and smoky flavors embedded in these juicy meats. There's a few squirts of barbecue sauce somewhere in this delicious mess, too. But as is the case with so many multi-meat sandwiches, the varying flavors of the brisket and pork get lost here, blending together into a muddled-yet-tasty mashup. Not the hot link, though. This guy stands strong, refusing to be outshined. A sandwich with just this link would be great ... oh wait, Sal's has that, too.

11.14.2011

Teri Sliders

Teri Sliders at Anime Ramen
C+
What the hell are these? Tiny, slightly Asian burgers at a brand new ramen bar themed with Japanese anime? Wait a minute, that doesn't sound crazy after all. It makes all kinds of sense. And these sliders, though painfully sweet with their sugary teriyaki glaze and Hawaiian-style sweet buns, are actually pretty tasty and almost addictive. The meat is something of an afterthought, a little beefnugget without much flavor, but there is crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, melty American cheese and extra sugar sauce on top. We might not be able to get into the anime stuff, but it's pretty easy to sit in this funky little joint and munch on these baby burgs.

11.12.2011

Beef Burger

Beef Burger at Central
B-
So there was plenty of excitement when excitable Frenchman Michel Richard opened his new version of Central in the lobby at Caesars Palace, but we were a little disappointed on our first visit. Was it not exciting? It was. Was the food delicious? It was. Was the service terrible? It was, but you gotta give a brand new joint some time to get their shit together.

And even though this burger was delicious -- and beautiful -- it came with a bit of disappointment, too. The flaky English muffin bun tastes great, but as you can see, it was sliced clumsily. The beef is juicy and thick, served with a ripe red tomato slice, melted cheddar and crispy potato tuile action on top. Overall, it's a great bite, but it left a little to be desired in the flavor category. But Central burgers will get another shot with us. We are suckers for excitement.

11.07.2011

Banana Nutella

Banana Nutella Sandwich at Lulu's On The Move
B+
Lulu's On The Move is a Las Vegas food truck, essentially a breakfast and bakery spot on wheels. For a mobile kitchen, this crew is remarkably flexible, having turned out everything from pizza to sausage, not to mention more sweet treats than you can imagine. And this creation combines the savory and sweet to create what we believe is the first dessert sandwich you can eat like a meal. Packed into a slightly sweet, light and fluffy brioche roll is a generous slathering of nutella, sliced bananas and toasted almonds. This combo creates some mouth-pleasing moosh and some crispy bites, and a whole lot of hazelnutty, faux-choco-goodness. It's so rich, we couldn't finish it. But we wanted to.

10.31.2011

McRib

McRib at McDonald's
F
Dear Clown: Go. Fuck. Yourself.

10.27.2011

The Kitchen Sink

The Kitchen Sink at The Kitchen
B+
This is a mighty Italian monster, in a rather surprising location. The Kitchen is a tiny cafe hidden in a southwest Vegas industrial/office park, and this is its signature sandwich. It's absolutely stacked with salami, ham and a pile of rare roast beef, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, onions and oil and vinegar dressing. It's one of those can't-believe-I-ate-the-whole-thing situations, but its meaty goodness is worth the impending sandwich coma. Also, the hard Italian roll is pretty substantial, crispy with a nice, slightly salty taste.

10.23.2011

Vegetable Masala Burger

Vegetable Masala Burger
homemade
B
Veggie burgers: not boring. This is Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burger, a vegan patty sold frozen made of potatoes, carrots, green beans, bread crumbs, bell peppers, onions, corn, ginger and a significant bit of spice. It's kind of the filling from a delicious samosa molded into burger form. So it's good, and we don't have to do much to make it so ... just grilled it up and dropped it on a kaiser roll with red leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion and spicy garlic mustard. Just another reason not to hate TJ's.

10.20.2011

The Outlaw Spicy Chicken

The Outlaw Spicy Chicken at Jack in the Box
D
I don't know if Jack in the Box is trying to kill me, just trying to hurt my feelings or what. Frankly, I'm insulted.

Available for a limited time only, thankfully, are the Outlaw sandwiches. There's a burger, and then there's this monster. It's basically Jack's version of Carl's Western Bacon Cheeseburger, only there's lettuce and tomato, and a spicy breaded and fried chicken breast filet in place of the burger patty. Yes on bacon, yes on barbecue sauce, yes on two giant onion rings. The deep fried munchosity of biting through the chicken and onion rings is a texture that doesn't occur in nature and there's a reason for that. You melt some fake ass cheese on these elements and splash on some cloyingly sweet bbq juice, and partner, you're in for an unpleasant afternoon.

10.14.2011

Jerk Chicken Sandwich

Jerk Chicken Sandwich at Buffalo Wild Wings
B
You might think of Buffalo Wild Wings as having kinda garbage bar food, and you might be right, but we know they do chicken wings right. They do chicken sandwiches pretty well, too. This is the one most spicy, delicious sandwiches on the menu, a blackened breast smothered with the BWW Caribbean Jerk sauce (one of the best of the never-ending wing sauce choices), topped with lettuce, tomato, and blue cheese dressing. The bun is the BWW standard "weck," but it looks and tastes like a kaiser roll to us. Call it what you want, it stands up nicely to this spicy, saucy beauty. It's a winner.

10.13.2011

Swan Mi

Swan Mi at Marche Bacchus/Jet Tila Pop Up Dinner
A
This is a very special posting to allsandwich, because it's a one-off sandwich that we will likely never taste again. It's a damn shame, too, because it's one of the best banh mi sandwiches we've ever tasted.

Just yesterday we got the news that chef Joe Swan is leaving his post at the brilliant French bistro Marche Bacchus. This, too, is a damn shame, because he's a very talented young chef who has seemingly done the impossible by improving the already stellar menu at one of Las Vegas' favorite neighborhood restaurants. Recently, Swan and his team hosted chef Jet Tila for a one-night-only collaboration pop up dinner, featuring dishes with a French-Asian twist. The "Swan Mi" was one of the highlights: house-made pork and duck liver lop cheung, pate, garlic aioli, mimolette, and Sichuan pickled daikon and peppers on the always-perfect Marche Bacchus baguette. It was a crispy, crunchy, meaty masterpiece, a wild combination of flavors of textures. It was delicious, so good that after a few too many glasses of wine we found ourselves in the parking lot yelling something like, "You should start a Marche Bacchus Swan Mi food truck!"

Best of luck to chef Swan; we hope sometime, somewhere, someone else gets to eat this wonderful sandwich.

10.10.2011

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll at Lobster ME
A
Lobster fast food? That's the plan for this little shop lost in the labyrinth that is the Miracle Mile Shops at the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas. But it's worth the search for this sweet, succulent treasure. An only slightly saucy lobster salad is squashed into a sweet, buttery-beyond-belief toasted roll, and then topped with three great chunks of meat from the tasty sea bug's claws. It's a pretty decadent sandwich, especially with the sweetness from the roll going toe-to-toe with the sweetness of the fresh, chilled meat. But somehow it all works out without going too far. This is a long way from Maine, but it sure doesn't taste like it.




10.04.2011

George's Club

George's Club at Triple George Grill
B-
Considering the Triple George is a quasi-steakhouse, a downtown power lunch-type spot, it makes sense that their club sandwich is all about beef. There is sliced turkey, and there is bacon, so perhaps it still meets the club requirement. But there is a powerful stack of rare roast beef and its flavor overwhelms all other ingredients, which also include fresh lettuce and thinly sliced tomato, mayo and cheddar cheese. The cheese was also a different, but welcome twist. Of course, marble rye is the way to go for any club foundation. Definitely a decent bite, not bad, just different.

9.30.2011

Pulled Pork with Cincinnati Chili

Pulled Pork with Cincinnati Chili at Top Notch Barbeque
B+
Top Notch Barbeque is a caterer/food truck in Las Vegas, casually styled as some sort of west coast-desert-cowboy barbecue cuisine, but the cook has some serious midwest roots. Also, he' s crazy. How else would you explain topping a juicy mountain of a pulled pork sandwich with spicy, volcanic Cincinnati-style chili? It's pure meaty madness, and you won't believe you ate the whole thing. With a fork.

Honestly, Top Notch earns its name as one of the best barbecue suppliers in Vegas, and it's pulled pork is as good as any in the city. You can also get it topped with creamy coleslaw, if you're not in the mood for this monster. But with the chili added, and with the soft egg bun absorbing lots of pork and beef juices, this really becomes more than a sandwich, something like a barbecue/chili version of Philippe's famous French dip. Mighty and tasty.

9.28.2011

Grilled Queso Blanco

Grilled Queso Blanco
homemade
B-
It's a safe assumption the original grilled cheese was conceived much like this one, as a quick and tasty sandwich improvisation. We just happened to have some fresh Mexican farmer's cheese in the fridge, and we just happened to have some couple-days-old bread mom baked. Not just any plain bread, but cottage cheese and dill bread, a big, flat, round loaf of it. So we sliced it, tossed it on the griddle, dropped bombs of queso on it, splashed on some Tapatio hot sauce, and there you have it. Slightly spicy, very cheese, and very savory from the homemade bread. Plus, crunchtastic.

9.19.2011

Kalbi Burger

Kalbi Burger at Bachi Burger
A
Oh sweet lord, my infatuation with Asian burgers continues. Bachi's Kalbi Burger grinds some sweet piggy into the beefy patty, adding to the juicy succulence of this perfectly sized sandwich, and spices things up with soy, garlic, ginger and chili paste. You will definitely notice, with your first bite, that this isn't just some vaguely Asian-flavored burger. It's definitely got that Kalbi short ribs-barbecue-ish tang. On a soft, nicely chewy bun, there's also lettuce, kim chee, green onions and something called Ko Chu Jang mayo. Wonderfulness abounds, with the great texture of the meat swimming in the sharply flavored, distinctly Korean glaze and the slightly funky -- in a good way -- kim chee packing some crisp punch.

9.12.2011

Steak Banh Mi


Steak Banh Mi at Tbones
B
Hold up, a banh mi sandwich at a fancy Vegas steakhouse? Yep, there it is, smack in the middle of T-bones' special "T-Time" happy hour snack menu: thin-sliced ribeye on a crusty baguette with some zesty mayo, pickled cucumbers, red onions and carrots, and a little crispy taro chip action. It's not authentic, but it's not supposed to be, and it's not spicy but it packs a meaty punch. If a Vietnamese mainstay can make its way onto the finger foods menu in Summerlin's neighborhood casino flagship, that's a good thing.

9.07.2011

Green Eggwich

The Green Eggwich
homemade
B-
Sometimes you're too lazy to even throw some pants on and go out to breakfast on a Sunday morning. That's when things like this happen: scrambled eggs with fresh basil and cilantro, dropped on a toasted kaiser roll. Done deal. Not bad, but a little dry. And no, I didn't have any bacon in the fridge. Duh.

8.30.2011

Number 40

Number 40 at Mr. Sandwich
A+
It's the bread. It's warm. And crackly.

Is banh mi my favorite type of sandwich? Some days, yes. I am currently infatuated with Asian food, almost as much as I am obsessed with sandwiches. But there is something about banh mi that is bigger than just a temporary craving. It goes deep, straight to the heart of what makes a sandwich great.

If we are to believe the origins of the sandwich -- that some rich dude playing cards demanded that his meat supper be served between two slabs of bread, so he could eat without using both hands or a knife -- then I put forth the theory that banh mi, among other types of sandwiches, is something of an evolution of the species. Sure, there is meat tucked inside bread, but that is not what makes it great. Yes, there is a balance of taste (salty, sweet, spicy, sour) and texture (crisp veggies, mushy cold cuts). But what separates a terrific banh mi sandwich, the kind found at Mr. Sandwich, from a mediocre-to-worse one, like Lee's and most other places in Las Vegas, is the bread. It's warm. And crackly. It's an exceptional French baguette, and it'd be fine to sit and munch with a few pats of butter; no need to transform it into this culture-spanning masterpiece of a sandwich. But that's what they do here, and behold, they are good. It's sandwich evolution because it's all about the bread, as the fillings serve a complementary role. And I love this backwards sandwich world, because a beautiful, delicious baguette is as close to art as food can get, while meat ... is just meat. Anybody can make a decent hunk of meat.

There are many different decent hunks of meat available at Mr. Sandwich, but the best comes inside the Number 40. These are salty, smashed up sardines, doused in a slightly spicy, rich sauce, and slathered in a creamy mayo-type concoction. There's just the right portion of fishy goodness inside our beloved baguette, augmented by -- of course -- do chua, that snappy combination of fresh pickled carrot and daikon, plus raw cilantro, jalapeno and cucumber. Super clean tastes across the board, decadence with the sardines, garden goodness holding it down. Mr. Sandwich, you should be annointed to Sir Sandwich status.


8.23.2011

S'mores Ice Cream Sandwich

S’mores Ice Cream Sandwich at Trader Joe's
B+
We at allsandwich have learned through experience you can’t always trust foods that are clearly one thing, but claim to taste like a different thing. And so we treated the box of S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches that somehow found its way into our Trader Joe’s cart a couple of weeks ago with some skepticism. As it turned out, we had no need to.


This is not a completely perfect ice cream sandwich. The cookie “bread,” made of graham cracker in this case (naturally), is just the tiniest bit too soft, leaving the sandwich without much textural variety. But for a store bought treat, the ice cream is divine. Fluffy and indeed somewhat marshmallowy in texture and flavor, it also has a nice light swirl of chocolate to complete the classic s’mores trifecta of delicious.


By the way: we don’t usually review ice cream sandwiches here. But since allsandwich is located in Las Vegas, and it’s currently 147 degrees here (with the comfort index figured in) we’re going to go ahead and say, “Oh hell YES” to ice cream sandwiches.

8.22.2011

Traditional Gyro

Traditional Gyro at Market Grille Cafe
B+
Is a gyro a sandwich? Yes, dummy, it is. Pita bread is one of the world's great breads, and the warm, soft pita served at Market Grille Cafe is decent stuff. Even better is the flavorful blend of beef and lamb inside its traditional gyro, well spiced and ultimately savory. Anybody who says Mediterranean food can't be meaty-delicious needs to try one of these, especially because MGC serves a generous portion of meat in its gyros. Topping it off, you've got chopped lettuce, red onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, with a sprinkle of feta cheese and a slathering of creamy yogurt dill sauce. There are so many mingling flavors going on in this sandwich ... how could you have ever questioned it's validity in the first place? Shame on you!

8.08.2011

The Cheffini

The Cheffini at Cheffinis Hot Dogs
A
It's late Saturday night, and you're drinking. You're on East Fremont Street in Downtown Vegas. You stumble out of your favorite bar looking for something to munch (knowing there are few restaurants in the area) and then you catch sight of this little hot dog cart. So of course, gimme one with everything.

The guy serving it up called it a Columbian Dog, but it turns out it's the specialty of the house. Er, cart. Let me try real hard to remember everything on this dog, besides the always tasty Hebrew National weiner and the soft sesame seed bun: There were jalapenos, onions and tomatoes. Definitely mustard and relish. Was there lettuce? Bacon? Not sure. Crushed up tortilla chips, yes, and also pineapple sauce. Wait, what? Yes, pineapple sauce. And shit, I think there was mayo and avocado, too.

Look, sometimes you just gotta go with it. Was it crazy? Yes. But it was delicious, a textural delight, sweet and spicy and soft and crunchy. Kinda makes you wanna find any old hot dog stand and just tell 'em you want everything they got, huh? It won't be the same, though. Not everybody has pineapple sauce.

8.07.2011

Mastodon

Mastodon at Kuma's Corner
A-
We close our Chicago sandwich escapades with a return to Kuma's Corner, perhaps the greatest burger bar on the planet. Vegas is burger city, yes, but we don't have anything like Kuma's. It's the metal, baby.


There are so many interesting options to beef up your burger here, and we must admit, the Mastodon is not the most exciting. It's basically the best version of a Western Bacon Cheeseburger you could possibly imagine, with its fried onions, bacon, barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese. So if this burger must receive an A-, we'll take credit for the minus because we should have ordered something more exotic. But that's not to say the Mastodon isn't satisfying; in fact, it's the most satisfying BBQ burger we've ever munched. The meat patty is huge and perfectly cooked, and the sauce is not too sweet. Like it's namesake, this sandwich is pure awesome.

8.04.2011

Cheezborger

Cheezborger at Billy Goat Tavern
B-
The Billy Goat Tavern is famous for several reasons, but the food at this cool, old school bar is famous for inspiring the classic "cheezborger, cheezborger" Saturday Night Live sketch. There is much more on the menu than just the cheezborger, good looking stuff like a ribeye steak, corned beef or salami sandwiches, and hearty breakfast options. But, cheezborger it is, at least on this visit.

This is a totally respectable diner burger. Take the staff's advice and order at least a double, even better a triple, because the beef patties are very thin, if still flavorful. This cheezborger is just a single but augmented by a nice big fried egg and some crispy bacon strips. You'll wanna add this stuff, too, or at least hit the do-it-yourself condiment bar from some dill pickle chips, fresh white onions, mustard and ketchup. The cheezborger needs a lot of toppings, because not only is the meat thin, but the bread is big and puffy, a nice soft kaiser roll. So order big, get it how you want it, and enjoy. And get some beer, too. This bar is pretty awesome.

8.01.2011

Green Goddess

Green Goddess at Goose Island Clybourn
B
I like when I go to a bar for a sandwich and there's a section of the menu called "Beer Food." Makes sense.

Goose Island appears to be one of Chicago's favorite craft breweries, and there are tasty suds galore up in here. There's some pretty good food to go with 'em, too. The green goddess sandwich is a crusty, warm baguette with a decent-sized pile of rotisserie chicken (mostly dark meat -- yum), artichokes, frisee, ramps and a light, creamy, seemingly whipped spread probably based on green goddess dressing. The dressing is mayo, sour cream and a bunch fresh herbs; this sandwich spread might be the same but it wasn't mayonnaisy at all. It was closer to cream cheese without the overpowering cheese taste, flavored instead with lemon juice and maybe basil or tarragon. Not sure. But it was unique and delicious, and added a nice subtle touch to this sandwich.

7.29.2011

Absu

Absu at Kuma's Corner
A+
Kuma’s Corner has a serious reputation – as soon as we mentioned we’d be visiting Chicago, we were inundated with recommendations to check it out, and when we arrived in the windy city, our hosts had already made plans for us to lunch there. That lunch was in fact the only plan they made for us.


If you’re not familiar – Kuma’s boasts loud heavy metal, a bustling bar and the best burgers on the planet. Each of the offerings is named for a band, and while many are topped with the same fixings you’ll find at your neighborhood bar, these enormous burgers are anything but ordinary. Juicy and delicious, the hamburger patty on a Kuma’s burger is a 10-ouncer, which is only possible if you weigh it after it has been cooked. I went for the slightly spicy Absu, topped with spicy tomatillo salsa, pepperjack, red onion/avocado relish, queso fresco and a trio of breaded, deep fried chiles on a chewy pretzel roll. Yum is right.


Everything about the Absu was delightfully delicious, but the deep fried chiles were the clear MVP. Breaded in a nice thick batter that managed to be both substantial, crispy and light all at once, the chiles added a spicy bite and a good amount of crunch to a perfectly saucy burger.

7.28.2011

Cajun Turkey with Avocado

Cajun Turkey with Avocado at Heidi's Brooklyn Deli
C
This place confuses me. The first thing on the big menu boards reads "pie," and it smells like they're baking fresh ones, but when I get to the counter, dude tells me they don't have pie. Never have had pie. Those signs are old. How do you explain my nose sniffing out cherry pie? Then he punched me in the nose. Not really.

The problem with this sandwich is it's boring at best -- totally standard sliced turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, bland rye bread -- and creepy at worst, thanks to too much "Cajun" mayo and not enough avocado. It's a good sized meal and satisfying, if you wipe off the gunky weird spread. Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing. If this is supposed to be a Brooklyn deli, I shoulda gone with pastrami or corned beef, huh?

7.25.2011

Red Slider

Red Slider at Sloppi Jo's
A
Pay no attention to the slider on the left. It's a green chile slider in a tortilla, served from the oh-so-awesome Vegas food truck known as Sloppi Jo's, and while it is super spicy and delicious, it cannot be reviewed because it's in a tortilla. (But it's really fucking good and you should eat one if given the opportunity. Seriously. Come on, this is why we link everybody's website to these reviews, so you can track them and eat their food. You won't be sorry.)

Ahem, excuse me. On the right you'll find the slider version of Sloppi Jo's great red burger, a thick and juicy mini-patty of substantial beefiness with bacon, caramlized onion, cumin, a tiny melted pool of havarti cheese and red chile aioli. It's not as spicy as the green chile, but it's hearty, rich, hot and amazing. It's a whole lotta flavor packed into a few oozy, melty, juicy bites. This is the best mini burger I've ever had, on a truck, off a truck, in a restaurant, whatever. The best. The only slider I ever liked better was ... um ... in a tortilla.

Sandwich Sundays Presents: The Monkey

The Monkey
homemade
B+
You gotta have a nice veggie sandwich on your roster. You just have to have at least one. The Monkey represents the quest for that perfect combination of vegetables, toppings and bread. It was a real nice try. Almost there.

The bread: kalamata olive ciabatta purchased from the local Whole Foods store, soft, chewy and rustic. The spreads: straight up cream cheese on the bottom, smooth honey truffle mustard on the top. And the goods: sunflower seeds, chunks of juicy green bell peppers, ripe red tomato slices, avocado slices, thin shreds of red onion, and fresh arugula. Overall, a very interesting combination of flavors. The different shape of the bell peppers made for an interesting if not improved bite. We're all about finding new and delicious substitutions for lettuce, and arugula always is a nice, spicy experiment. Maybe there's a better combo here. Stay tuned.

Prime Rib Dip

Prime Rib Dip at Red Robin
B
The big fancy burgers at supermegaburgerchain Red Robin are pretty good. So why would you order a glorified French dip here? Well, it's pretty glorious. And sometimes you just want a hot beef sandwich and some hot beef juice to dip it in.

Red Robin claims to use prime rib in this sandwich. Maybe it is. Doesn't matter. It's tender, juicy, and flavorful enough. There's melty provolone cheese and caramelized onions. But the second most important part of a dip, after the beef, is the bread. It needs to be strong enough to survive a salacious dunking in au jus, yet still soft enough to bite and chew, all while maintaining its own flavor. This rustic roll does the trick. A solid choice, especially when you can't decide which weird Red Robin burger to order.

7.19.2011

The Cadillac

The Cadillac at P.J. Clarke's
B-
Does this look like one of the famous sandwiches of all time, an iconic hamburger, a cornerstone in the history of New York City? Well, it is. This is the Cadillac, named such by Nat King Cole, from the recently opened Vegas version of the venerable P.J. Clarke's saloon. In NYC, this is an institution, apparently. In Vegas, this is just another "classic, simple bar burger," along the lines of the beloved Bradley Ogden burger. On the Vegas Strip, there are eight million fancy gourmet burger places, and then there are restaurants that serve burgers like this so they can say, "Hey, do you really want another fancy gourmet burger? No, you don't. Eat this simple burger."

Emphasis on simple. This thing looks and tastes like the homeburgers my mom or dad used to cook in a frying pan when I was kid. This is not a bad thing. The bun is super soft and squeezable, a nice texture alongside the crispy, thick smoked bacon, melty American cheese and a nice fat patty of freshly ground Angus beef. There's a slice of bermuda onion served on the plate under the burger, which is supposed to serve some purpose but I don't know what purpose is. I didn't eat it. I did, however, wipe some Grey Poupon on the inside of the top bun. It is simple. It is classic. And considering how local foodie critics have drooled over this thing, I am a bit surprised at how simple and homey it is. I could literally go home and make this thing right now. That doesn't mean it doesn't taste good, but it's not really what I want when I order a burger at a bar in a restaurant. Just sayin'.

7.15.2011

CCBLT

CCBLT at Comme Ca
A+
There's no doubt about it: the food at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas is awe-inspiring. Sandwich-wise, we figured the great burgers-and-more-store Holsteins would be the place to go in this cool hotel casino, but turns out there are plenty of badass sandwiches up on level three, too, at David Myers' Comme Ca. (That's the celebrity chef name behind this place, but perhaps props for this delicious treat should go to the pork friendly chef Brian Howard.)

The C.C.B.L.T. puts a succulent twist on one of the most boring classics, throwing great slabs of juicy, fatty, amazing pork belly on lightly grilled bread with crispy bacon, crunchy romaine hearts and a fresh-from-the-graden tasty tomato jam. It's really a simple sandwich, but completely overloaded with salty piggy flavor. Every sandwich on the lunch menu at Comme Ca looks like a winner, but this one's above and beyond, an easy addition to the A+ list.

7.12.2011

Chicken Nastro Azzuro

Chicken Nastro Azzuro at Radio City Pizzeria
A
This brand new Summerlin pizza joint does a damn good chicken sammich. They pan-fry chicken cutlets so they are nice and juicy and crispy with an Italian breadcrumb coating, and post 'em up on a soft, chewy ciabatta roll with shaved prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and a rich, sweet balsamic syrup. That's a lot of great stuff, and as you can see, there's a lot of chicken piled high on this baby. Go eat one. Another word of advice: this is one of those sandwiches that needs to be taken down with the quickness, 'cuz the sog factor can come in and ruin all that crispy chicken perfection. But yeah, it's huge, so good luck.

7.11.2011

The Larry Bird

The Larry Bird
homemade
B+
This sandwich is a kalamata olive ciabatta with melted habanero jack cheese, chipotle turkey, red and green heirloom tomatoes and arugula. There are a lot of potent flavors in this sandwich, and while they may not often find their way into a sandwich together, happily they all work together very nicely. The tomato adds a nice brightness and tempers the peppery-ness of the arugula and the heat from the (pretty spicy) cheese. And really, the flavors balance and mingle nicely, but you're dealing with two kinds of heirloom tomato, chipotle turkey and habanero cheese on your sandwich! How could it be anything but awesome? That's right. It couldn't.

7.10.2011

Bozeman Beef Dip

Bozeman Beef Dip at Timbers
B
The French dip seems to have become an American bar food staple, and that's fine with me. Bar food needs to be hearty, and that's a good way to describe a pile of roast beef on a hoagie bun with some au jus on the side for your dipping pleasure. The version of this classic sandwich available at Timbers, one of the larger Vegas video poker/bar/munchhouse chains, is one of the better dips I've had in these run-of-the-mill bars. The beef is slow roasted, tender and delicious, and complemented by sauteed onions, melted provolone and just enough creamy horseradish. The roll is grilled to provide some firm sandwich infrastructure, all the better for beef juice saturation. Nice work, Timbers.

7.07.2011

Chili Cheese Smashdog

Chili Cheese Smashdog at Smashburger
C
This is it. This is the meal that turned me around on Smashburger. You see, the topic of best burgers in Vegas is a hot one, and I am regularly asked/required/tortured to eat/write/compare burgers until I can't take it anymore. So like everybody else, I am something of a Vegas burger expert. And also like everybody else, I have my favorites. Fukuburger is one. In-N-Out always will be up there. There are others. But lately, Smashburger has been around the top of the list, too.

Now it's sliding down, as if it slipped on a buttery, greasy chute to mediocrity. The burgers are very good. The smash-it-on-the-flat-top-grill method is solid, and the toppings are fresh and high quality. But the thing is greasy ... too greasy. A real burger shouldn't be without some dripping fatjuice, but Smashburgers go a little too far. And I realized that when, after having almost every burger on the menu, I tried this dog. It's a perfectly decent, all-beef weiner, topped with beefy chili, grated cheese, onions and pretty jalapeno slices. But they rock the smash method on dogs, too, splitting this sucker open and smushing it flat. With burgers, it creates juicyness. With dogs, it dries 'em out. So it's shiny and greasy on the outside and flaky and super-salty on the inside. Mediocrity. Further oiling things up is the fact that they butter toasted the poppy seed bun. So now you've got greasy dog, greasy chili and greasy bread creating a yucktacular film in your mouth, which is melting, by the way, from these fresh 'penos. A bit much? Yes.

I still like you, Smashburger. I will still eat you. Just not as much.

7.05.2011

Swiss Burger

Swiss Burger at Cafe Cortez
B-
This unheralded downtown Vegas diner is becoming a favorite lunch spot for me because the simple, nicely cooked burgers are so consistent. This easy choice has a thick slab of melted Swiss cheese and sauteed mushrooms and onions as adornment. Granted, you can find a mushroom and Swiss burger on pretty much every menu, and there's really nothing special about it. But these are the mushrooms and onions you dream of when you order something like this, perfectly griddled to that state of buttery-yet-still-crispness. Cortez done the plain old burger just right.

7.04.2011

Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich

Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich at McDonald's
C+
Whatever the word "premium" means at McDonald's, that's what this tastes like.

I was surprised. It was okay. The bun, which is supposed to be "bakery style," was a little hard, but the lettuce and tomato were in good shape, the bacon actually tasted like bacon, and the chicken was consistently crispy and appeared to actually be all white meat just like the clown says. The cheese. allegedly Swiss, is weird and shiny and has no taste, and the chicken's golden coating could use some more flavor. But all in all, this was a decent sandwich for McDonald's, and I didn't feel like I was going to die after eating it.

6.28.2011

Corned Beef

Corned Beef Sandwich at Del Mar Deli
B-
I figured a sandwich at this casino deli would be pretty good, because the homies at Bagel Cafe used to run this little quick food outlet. But they don't anymore; now the South Point Casino handles it. They probably haven't changed much, and why would they? This corned beef has the perfect lean-to-fat ratio, and it tastes great. Problem is the bread. Call it rye if you want, but it doesn't taste like it. It's too soft, not really chewy, and just cannot handle this massive meat mountain. Also, I appreciate that Del Mar has quick mustard dispensers for you to add your own, but get a legit deli mustard option. Can't do corned beef without it.

6.26.2011

Slap & Tickle

Slap & Tickle at The Beat Coffeehouse
D+
I love sandwiches at The Beat, but very few sandwich spots are batting a thousand. There's almost always gonna be something on the menu where things get a bit slippery. The idea behind the Slap & Tickle is a good one, mixing sweet and salty and spicy. But the execution isn't there.

It's got organic peanut butter and homemade jam -- I believe it was strawberry in this case -- with smoked bacon on pan de mie. That'd be fancy French for completely unfancy white bread. I feel like there may have been jalapeno on the sandwich as well, but I could be wrong. Using such an ordinary bread is the first mistake. The second is the bacon. It wasn't crispy. Droopy, soggy strips of swine, even if there are some smokey, savory flavors, will never cut the mustard on a sandwich, particularly not when the other ingredients are sweet and gooey. Also, too much jam and not enough peanut butter. If you're gonna go crazy with a peanut butter bacon sandwich, you've got a pick a team: PB or piggy. Let one dominate and the other complement. This sucker can't make up its mind.