12.28.2014

Shackburger

Shackburger at Shake Shack
A
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.

12.25.2014

Sandwich Sundays Presents: Everything on Everything

Everything on Everything
homemade-ish
B
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

Panchero at Cheffini's
A
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.

New York, New York

New York, New York at Steiner's Pub
B-
Our favorite neighborhood bar comes correct on its chili size, undressing the burger's top bun and adding plenty of rich, house-made chili, melted cheese and onions. A chili size, remember, is not a chili burger. The key is proper proportions: just a little bread, a nice thick patty, way too much chili. Truth be told, this sucker could use another ladle full of the stuff, especially since Steiner's chili is serious (diced sirloin, black beans, red chilies). But the kitchen keeps it compact in case you want to put the bread back on top and eat it like a true sandwich, which is admirable. I guess. Again, way too much chili is key. Why do they call it the New York, New York, and reference Donald Trump in the menu description? We're not sure. But that silliness could never take away from this deliciousness.

12.16.2014

Torta Pescado

Torta Pescado at Pinches Tacos
A-
Frequently we snap an underwhelming photo of an outstanding sandwich and this, amigo, is one of those times. Are we surprised that a truly great torta came from one of our favorite Vegas taco shops? Not at all. Pinches is consistently delicious, and maybe a bit overlooked due to its location in the Downtown Container Park. Up until now, we've overlooked its tortas, instead opting for pollo mole tacos. This fluffy yet firm, slightly sweet roll is absolutely stuffed with crispy fried, fleshy white fish, moist and flaky and lovely. There's a spread of refried pinto beans and another of guacamole, plenty of Mexican sour cream, cilantro, onion, and a Veracruz-style slaw. The sandwich is tender and crisp, meaty and fresh, hearty yet not heavy. The sign outside of Pinches reads "Real Mexican food made by real Mexicans," and we can't help but think how well Mexicans do sandwiches. We need to do a whole lot more tortas.

12.13.2014

Char Siu Pork Roll

Char Siu Pork Roll at Buddha Belly Deli
B+
Buddha Belly Deli is one of the most exciting sandwich shops to open in the Las Vegas valley in quite some time. Why? Because they're incorporating familiar, drool-inducing Asian flavors into classic sandwich structures, like a beef dip with pho au jus and a Sloppy Joe with red curry short rib. It's a fantastically fun menu, and our first stop was this big, beautiful pork roll. A mixture of brioche and Hawaiian sweet roll, this fluffy, buttery bread creation is piled high with delicious (if a bit dry) char siu roasted pork shoulder, sliced into thin, almost crisp shards. A traditional Vietnamese veggie trio of carrot, daikon and jalapeño joins the party, plus a sprinkle of crunchy slaw and a sweet hoisin barbecue sauce. It's fusion at its finest, subscribing to no rules other than the most important sandwich guideline—if it's delicious, add it to the mix.

12.10.2014

José Andrés Burger

José Andrés Burger at Umami Burger
A
At the California locations of Umami Burger, the porktacular José Andrés burger was a one-month special. At the Las Vegas Umami, planted firmly at the new SLS resort, this decadent bite is a regular item on the menu. Just another reason why Vegas rules. José creates a patty out of ground pork and cured ham, of course, and the Umami crew cooks it through but keeps it juicy, sweet and savory. There's also piquillo pepper confit—which is pretty much our favorite side dish at José's insane Bazaar Meat just down the hall at SLS—offering robust, rich sweetness; pure gluttony in the form of creamy, roasted garlic aioli; a little more depth from caramelized onions; and some nutty, sharp goodness from the addition of manchego cheese. It's truly delicious when you get a bit of everything at once, and it really doesn't eat or taste like any burger you've ever had. It's a true sandwich, and you should try one.

12.07.2014

Cheese Breakfast Biscuit

Cheese Breakfast Biscuit
homemade
A
If you want a great breakfast sandwich, make it yourself. You don't have to go all-out like we did: making cheddar jalapeño biscuits from scratch, slicing one open and melting even more sharp cheddar cheese on both sides, frying coins of capacola until crispy and bacon-esque, and wrapping everything around a fried egg with yolk ready to explode. Super-rich, slightly greasy, a little spicy, pretty much perfect. After building and devouring this sucker, we almost dare you to make a better breakfast biscuit bite.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese at Echo & Rig
B
It's hard to tell this crispy, cheesy mass is even a sandwich, and that's because Echo & Rig uses some kind of super-soft, thick, almost creamy bread to assemble its version of a grilled cheese. It's really good, actually, creating the sensation of not really knowing where the spongy bread ends and the delicious fillings begin. And there are some wonderful things inside, mainly specks of tender braised beef short rib and three wildly different cheeses—white cheddar, gruyere and parmesan. There's a certain sharpness in every bite, but even more richness. It's not a gooey grilled cheese per our personal tradition, but it packs plenty of flavor and toasty satisfaction.


12.03.2014

Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger at Wimpy's
D-
I really wanted Wimpy's to be great. It's unclear whether this middle-of-nowhere North Las Vegas burger stop is related to some sort of franchise, but it does use the Wimpy iconography. (You know, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." No? Am I the oldest guy in the room?) I drove all the way out to Centennial Parkway and Commerce just to get a Wimpy burger, all but sure this would be the next great find, a dive worth the trip, a burger worth talking about it. And yet, disappointment. It happens. It's not the fault of anyone in the kitchen here. They seem to mean well. It's just a matter of using the most standard, most boring, cheapest ingredients possible. The thing is cooked well enough but has no flavor or juiciness. The bacon and lettuce are crisp. The bun is soft. But nothing tastes like anything. Somehow the bread was room temperature, the burger was warm, and the rest was ice cold—including the unmelted cheese. This is what happens when you cook frozen patties. In a restaurant. That's supposed to be a burger joint. Sorry, Wimpy.

11.28.2014

The Round Two

The Round Two
homemade
C
When I was a kid, the leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich was something I anticipated almost as much as the dinner itself. We'd eat the traditional big meal in the afternoon, become superlazy, and then around 7 or 8 I'd creep into the kitchen and plaster two slices of Wonder Bread with white meat, mayo, salt and pepper. That's it. I was a minimalist turkey sandwich builder. Others would go hot with gravy, crafting open-faced masterpieces that sound real delicious right about now. But I don't have that in front of me. I have this. It was an attempt to replicate that minimalist childhood sandwich, but it turned out to be a lesson and that lesson is this: You can't make a great leftover sandwich if you don't have all the leftovers. I didn't have Thanksgiving at my house this year, but I did swipe some turkey, stuffing, and a mom-baked loaf of country white bread. That's not enough. I need all the proper tools at my disposable. I don't want that minimal sandwich anymore; I want the works. The best I could do was smear some tangy, fruity, cranberry-esque black currant mustard on this beautiful bread and stack turkey and mozzarella cheese inside, plus that nostalgic blast of salt and pepper. It tastes fine, but it's crying out for lettuce and tomato and bacon and yes, even mayo. I fantasized about toasting thicker slices of the mom bread and squashing dark meat, gravy and stuffing inside, melting it all together with some sharp cheddar cheese. But this is all there is. Next year, I'll do it right, or I won't do it at all.

11.25.2014

Ill-A-Delph

Ill-A-Delph at Coast 2 Coast Deli
C-
I've been wanting to sample the goods from this Las Vegas food truck for a long time, and when I finally got the chance, I'm sorry to say it was a bit of a disappointment. The menu supposes to specialize in sandwiches from across the country, or at least sandwiches inspired by different cities, and the description of this "Loaded Philly" sounded totally delish: a roll stuffed with shaved NY Strip and ribeye steak, beer-cheese sauce, caramelized onions, crumbled bacon, scallions and a ranch dressing drizzle. The meat was just sad, fatty and gristly stuff that was much closer to cheap ground beef than shaved steak. So it goes with cheesesteak meat; you never know what you're gonna get. The sauce, allegedly made with local brewer Tenaya Creek's Calico Brown Ale, was tangy and smooth and quite tasty, but there simply wasn't enough to go around. The onions were also barely present. The other ingredients were fine, though the roll was a bit dry and crumbly, and toasting it slightly seemed to be an attempt to cover for poor quality. It seemed like a great idea and it sure looks good, but the flavor just didn't follow through. If I find this truck again, I'll give it another chance, but I'll order something as far from a cheesesteak as is available.

Banh Mi Thit Nguoi

Banh Mi Thit Nguoi at Dakao Sandwiches
B-
A return trip to this little spot yields a different sandwich, one with cured pork and pork roll, but similar results. This super salty banh mi is plenty pleasant, chewy slabs of piggy inside a crusty baguette with all the familiar friends. I guess it's just proof that the most basic, cheapest version of this French-Asian sandwich—in this case filled with two different meats that are tough to distinguish from one another—is pretty good. The worst possible scenario is fairly delicious.

11.23.2014

Turkey Chili Cheese Dog

Turkey Chili Cheese Dog
homemade
B
There's no downside to making too much chili. If you're making chili, you should make damn sure that you're making too much. It will give you an excuse to buy some simple hot dogs and buns, grate some cheese, and fashion an entirely different feast. This chili is seriously spicy with loads of roasted Hatch green chilies speckled among tomatoes, onions, ground turkey and a host of spices. (No, not sharing my chili recipe with you.) If your chili is tasty enough, you can get away with buying cheap, totally mediocre franks and buns, like I did, but I don't encourage such behavior. Get the good stuff if you want to create a truly transcendent chili dog.

Boar's Head Italian Sub

Boar's Head Italian Sub at Smith's
C+
It's a sad thing when all you have time for is the tearful grabbing of a pre-made grocery store sandwich, an unfortunate substitute that can never satiate the true craving within. And yet this Boar's Head prepared sub encased in plastic at our local Smith's market was surprisingly solid, a puffy multigrain bun stacked with provolone, salami, pepperoni, ham and lettuce leaves. It was badly in need of some oil and vinegar or maybe even a bit of mustard to moisten things up, but on a pre-made sandwich, there's a huge risk of sog. So dry will do, I suppose. But there was a nice portion of high quality meat stuffed inside, making for a pleasant if unspectacular workday lunch experience.

New Mexico Burger

New Mexico Burger at Bobby's Burger Palace
A
This tangy creation might be our fave burger so far at Bobby's, the celebrity chef burger joint that has yet to disappoint. Its juicy patty is generously topped with a smooth queso sauce, roasted green chilies and pickled red onions, a combination of creamy, fresh, spicy and sharp. It's an ideal flavor mix to match up with the simple, natural richness that exudes from a perfectly cooked burger. There are still other interesting options left to explore at BBP, but it will be hard not to order this again on our next visit.


11.22.2014

Chicken Cheese Steak

Chicken Cheese Steak at Capriotti's
B-
The Philly cheesesteak has been bastardized and has thus become boring. Making a cheesesteak with chicken is almost blasphemous, and yet it's still pretty tasty. Capriotti's version uses grilled chicken and melted provolone, and gives you the option to add peppers, onions and mushrooms. The super-soft sub roll Cap's uses—often a detriment—actually works well for cheesesteak purposes, with pliable chewiness that complements the melty meatfest within. So yeah, it's boring, but it'll do.

11.18.2014

The Fugazi

The Fugazi at Lulu's Bread & Breakfast
A-
Of course it's a delicious sandwich, it's from Lulu's. There's so much flavor on this thing, it doesn't even need that buttery ribbon of prosciutto. It coulda been a veggie sandwich with absolutely no drop off. But that slice of piggy is there, along with thick, juicy slices of ripe red tomatoes, a nice slathering of bright pesto, all topped with fried eggs. It's an exquisite combination, but the real winner is the roll, a soft, puffy brioche-kaiser hybrid decked out with everything bagel spices. Can you even believe that? It's outstanding. You could literally put anything on this roll and it'd be scrumptious. Of course, Lulu's, of course.

11.11.2014

Double Char Dog

Double Char Dog at The Wiener's Circle
A
So Chicago's infamous Wiener's Circle has landed in Las Vegas. There are casino sports book-adjacent locations at both the Red Rock and Santa Fe Station resorts, which makes perfect sense. Of course, you won't be insulted and abused at these eateries the way you could be at the Windy City original, but just because the experience is "watered down" doesn't mean the food isn't delicious. The Char Dog is as good a traditional Chicago-style hot dog as we've tasted in Vegas, with lots of yellow mustard and all those vibrant, colorful veggie toppings you expect. What pushes these wieners over the top is the cooking method; they're split and grilled for caramelized, super-savory satisfaction. When something is this good, why not double up? It's difficult to eat two dogs in one bun, especially with all these deliciously slippery goodies slathered all over, but it's worth the mess.



11.08.2014

Fourteener

Fourteener at Backcountry Delicatessen
B+
Our final Colorado sandwich on this trip comes at a casual, comfortable deli that wasn't around the last time we hungrily swept through Old Town Fort Collins. Backcountry has four locations in Colorado and one in Jackson Hole, and for what appears to be a mini-franchise, this shop has an impressive array of sandwiches on its menu, all utilizing top-notch ingredients. The Fourteener is stacked with deliciously rare, thinly sliced roast beef, powerful blue cheese crumbles, sweet roasted peppers, crunch romaine leaves and a zingy horseradish mayo. The sauce is a little lighter than you would expect, which actually works out perfectly with the strong, creamy cheese, with neither element overpowering the beefiness. The sub roll is spongy and tasty in its own right. Backcountry will definitely be a must-bite on our next Colorado sandwich adventure.

11.04.2014

Thunder Dog

Thunder Dog at Sports Authority Filed at Mile High Stadium
B
That's right: It's a Bronco dog. We were way too busy cheering Denver to a victory over San Diego and taking in the awe of the stadium to find out what kind of frank they use at concessions or even to squirt some yellow mustard on this monster. But here's what we do know: It's delicious. It's a foot-long. It's covered in sweet, smoky roasted peppers. And it's exactly what you want in a stadium hot dog since it avoided the typical concession follies of cold, dry buns and overcooked, over-salty meat tubes. Go Broncos!
 

11.03.2014

Louie's Ride to Leadville

Louie's Ride to Leadville at B&B's Pickle Barrel
B
Fort Collins' Pickle Barrel is simply one of my favorite sandwich shops anywhere. Its super-laidback, college town atmosphere—complete with a sturdy bar—reminds me of my humble sandwich-heavy upbringing in another college town, and any time I'm in Colorado I'm tempted to spend an entire day at the Pickle Barrel munching through the menu and drinking plenty of beer. But on this visit, I contained my consumption to this creatively named Italian sub. It's served sans lid but it's not an openfacer, contrary to what this pic might imply. Decked out with layers of ham, capicola and havarti, plenty of crisp red onion, lettuce and tomato, and sprinkled generously with oregano, oil and vinegar, Louie's Ride is full of familiar flavors and hits the spot. The substitution of creamy, slightly salty havarti cheese (on a sandwich that would almost always be laced with milder provolone) makes a great impression and stands out against these super-savory meats. The only drawback is an extra-fluffy sub roll with a little too much heft. But that's no big deal. The Pickle Barrel never disappoints.


11.02.2014

Buffalo Meatloaf Sandwich

Buffalo Meatloaf Sandwich at Henry's Pub
B
The annual Colorado sandwich trip has arrived! First up is a stop at Henry's Pub in beautiful downtown Loveland, a friendly little joint we always visit. This open-faced beauty drops a slab of surprisingly juicy, super tender and utterly delicious buffalo meatloaf on top of a toasted tile of multigrain bread, then covers the whole thing in a rich, garlicky tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. It's a knife and fork job, sure, but it's mighty tasty, simple and satisfying. And a great way to begin the annual Colorado sandwich trip.

10.22.2014

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled Pork Sandwich at Wendy's
D
No, Wendy's, no. No! Stay away from barbecue, you pigtailed fast food devil! Wendy's has had some sandwich success lately thanks to using these upgraded brioche buns, but this double-edged bread sword comes back around with this disaster, with far too much slightly sweet, pillowy bun and far too little (admittedly) tender, mostly flavorless meat. Pile on some mayo'd, crappy slaw and some "spicy" barbecue sauce, and congratulations, I'm angry.

Jinya Bun

Jinya Bun at Jinya
B-
It's not all sandwiches, you know. We are also pretty obsessed with ramen, mostly because the ramen scene in Las Vegas has exploded in recent years. The latest addition is one of our best, LA's Jinya, but they're serving more than just amazing noodles in rich broth variations. This pork belly steamed bun is solid, a mighty slab of succulent chashu piggy with a little green stuff, some cucumber, hoisin and aioli folded into soft, almost creamy puff-bread. It's tempting to order a couple of these and skip the noodles altogether. 

10.12.2014

Jerk Turkey Burger

Jerk Turkey Burger at Carson Kitchen
A
This is nothing short of the best turkey burger we've ever tasted. Rumor has it the kitchen mixes in a liberal dose of applesauce along with the spicy-sweet jerk seasonings, making for an unbelievably juicy burger patty with flavor for days. It's so good, it's tempting to accuse the kitchen of cheating. Is this really turkey? Somehow Carson Kitchen has made this usually pedestrian bite into something magically delightful. Also stacked on this soft, brioche-style bun is tangy, crispy coleslaw mixed with mango chutney, pushing the Caribbean flavors into overdrive. This is the only turkey burger you should be eating.

10.11.2014

Pan Manchego

Pan Manchego at Julian Serrano
B+
Okay, this traditional tapas dish is barely a sandwich, and a small snack of a sandwich at that. But it's so simple and delicious, it deserves all the love it can get. A sort of mini-baguette is toasted to crisp, savory perfection and filled with a sauce of fresh garlic and tomatoes plus year-old manchego cheese, that Spanish sheep's milk goodness with a nutty, caramelish flavor that blends so nicely with the acidic brightness in that tomato sauce. The simpler dishes at Julian Serrano are so brilliant, and this is one of our favorites. Think of it as a Spanish grilled cheese if you like, but just be sure to eat it.

10.07.2014

Coney Loose Burger

Coney Loose Burger at American Coney Island
D
Yikes. There's a lot of drunkfood in Las Vegas, but this Detroit transplant—perhaps the dim cousin to American Coney's disappointing Coney Island chili dog—takes it to another level, and by that I mean you must be inebriated to even consider consuming this mess. Where's the dog? There isn't one. There is, however, a flavorless mush swipe of gray ground beef under a big ladle full of chili, or the unspicy, not-quite-savory brew that passes for chili at this 24-hour Fremont Street stop. Toss on some onions and a stripe of yellow mustard, and apparently, you've got a Detroit classic. This "burger" is in dire need of some cheese, or anything that could fill in the flavor missing from the disappeared dog. The only explanation is that someone thought this chili was so good, it could hold up a sandwich all by itself. They were wrong.

10.06.2014

Steak Burger

Steak Burger at Dispensary Lounge
A-
There's at least one Las Vegas food writer who believes the half-pound burger (for just $5.95) at the classically weird dive bar Dispensary is one of the best in town, and so we went there with this guy, we marveled at the wall-to-wall carpeting and the water wheel, and we ate this burger. And you know what? He's right. This thing is a masterpiece of simplicity, a thick, juicy patty of fresh beef ground just right and cooked by someone who knows what they're doing. Put whatever cheese you like—we did American—and enjoy the ideal toppings of lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. Saturate your steak burger in one of the kitchen's house-made sauces or the chef's special spicy mystery mustard. Appreciate the ideal fries that come along with it. All those extras are just icing on the cake, though, as this thing is pure burger success.

10.04.2014

Vampiro

Vampiro at Tacos El Gordo
B-
There are people who try to tell me a burger isn't a sandwich, or a hot dog isn't a sandwich. That's just illogical bullshit. There will be someone telling me a Vampiro isn't a sandwich, either. But look at it. Furthermore, if those crispy corn tortillas were soft, would it be more of a sandwich? What if they weren't tortillas at all, but some other form of the same corn masa, perhaps griddled into a cake and used as bread like a Venezuelan arepa or a Mexican gordita or a Salvadoran pupusa? What then, hater? Would it be sandwich enough for you? That's what I thought. Instead of arguing with me, go to Tacos El Gordo and enjoy this crunchy creation, which I filled with caramelized carne asada to go along with toasted quesadilla cheese, guacamole, salsa, cilantro and onions. It's not as easy to handle as TEG's sublime tacos, but you're probably eating here because you're drunk/hungover, and a Vampiro is just as much fun. Maybe more.

Sloppy Joe

Sloppy Joe at Bunkhouse Saloon
B+
We're not sure if Sloppy Joes are coming into fashion, becoming a trendy menu item a la pork belly or deviled eggs. But if that happens, this is more or less how it's done. No filler on this big beauty—no slaw or lettuce or veggie of any kind. Just finely ground beef seasoned with tomatoes, onions and lots of other stuff, savory and slightly sweet, messy and delicious. The bun is brioche, puffy-soft and sweet on its own but toasted enough to hold up to the massive meat pile for at least your first four bites. After that, you're on your own, and that's how it should be.


9.23.2014

El Mexicano

El Mexicano at Cheffinis
A+
Congratulations! You are reading the 300th post at allsandwich. What an accomplishment this is for you! For almost five years now, you've been reading all about all kinds of delicious (and sometimes not-so-delicious) sandwiches in Las Vegas and many other places, demonstrating your commitment to this most important of foodstuffs. We salute you. And it's no coincidence that the 300th is an absolute treasure, maybe the best hot dog in Las Vegas. We've been fans of Cheffinis for years, happily and drunkenly munching its street cart goodies after wild nights downtown, and now these crazy-talented hot dog craftsmen have taken up permanent residence at Container Park. Do check out their new spot, and do sample El Mexicano. Somehow these guys make the bacon-wrapped and grilled frank into something that seems like it occurs naturally. It's like the skin of the dog is bacon, thin and crisp and savory and wonderful. Stacked on that meaty foundation are fresh chunks of avocado, onion and tomato, a bit of cilantro, plus a tangy green sauce, a tangier chipotle guava sauce, creamy garlic aioli and an acidic cherry pepper relish. It sounds like topping overkill but when you get a bite of everything—and you do, on almost every bite—it's absolute bliss, full, wild flavor balance with the familiar sensation of soft bun and snappy meat tube. The Cheffinis crew knows what they're doing.

Brioche Donut

Brioche Donut at Metro Pizza's beer and pizza dinner
at Lulu's Bread & Breakfast
A
It's no surprise that one of the most epic ice cream sandwiches ever created was done so at Lulu's Bread & Breakfast, one of our favorite local sandwich depots and the offshoot of stalwart Vegas pizzeria Metro Pizza. The occasion: a multi-course pizza and beer pairing dinner that filled us so completely full, we wanted nothing to do with dessert … until this baby arrived. A sweet, fluffy cloud of brioche converted into doughnut form was split and stuffed with caramel-sea salt gelato, studded with chocolate chunks, and then drizzled with a little extra ganache and powdered sugar just for fun. The beautiful texture of the dough against the thick, creamy gelato was nothing short of ethereal. As if we weren't swimming in sandwich happiness already, Wasatch's Black O Lantern pumpkin stout was served along with this treat. Too much awesome.

9.06.2014

Canteen Banh Mi

Canteen Banh Mi at Made L.V.
A+
Leave it to the powerhouse team that brought us neighborhood favorite Honey Salt to create the banh mi of our dreams. As we've always lamented, the main problems with the typical banh mi sandwich are the frequent use of low-quality bread, a too-high bread-to-fillings ratio, and the common use of unfortunate ingredients between the bread. Everything's solved at Made L.V., the new Tivoli Village tavern, as a soft yet still substantial French roll—not sure if this is officially a baguette; it's a bit bulkier—is positively crammed with house-made paté and country ham, salty meaty satisfaction galore. The obligatory pickled veggie salad is here, along with fresh herbs, jalapeños and sriracha mayo, everything blending together in each bite for crispy, savory, fresh, creamy, spicy, beautiful balance. It's everything we love about banh mi elevated to the level this iconic sandwich deserves.

The Natural

The Natural at Farmer Boys
B-
I'm almost feeling Farmer Boys. The Natural is a third-pound patty of all-natural beef, ground and shaped to a nice, loose and juicy consistency, dropped on a fluffy, chewy potato bun and topped with two slices of American cheese, yellow onion shards, Thousand Island dressing and dill pickles. The double cheese meltiness and simple, classic toppings are quite pleasant, and the bun is impeccable. But it could use some lettuce crispness, and the meat is a bit bland. This seems to be a recurring threat with burger joints that go the natural/organic/farm-inspired route. We appreciate the plain beefy flavor of grass-fed cow, but that doesn't mean you can't season this bitch up. It's a solid burger, it just needs a little more attention.

9.01.2014

Rueben

Rueben at MTO Café
A
We're not sure if the fine folks at MTO Cafe spelled this classic sandwich wrong on accident or on purpose, but we don't care. It's probably the best reuben in Las Vegas. One bite and you're overwhelmed by juicy, powerfully flavored corned beef … and then you realize this is corned buffalo. Boom. Mind blown. It's rich and tender and eats like a much fattier meat, and how this kitchen got this lean meat to taste so amazing is an act of pure wizardry. Top this majestic meat stack with melty Swiss, a Russian dressing-like "special sauce" and a bit of crisp sauerkraut, and you've got a powerful package enclosed in toasty rye. Even the fries are great! MTO already impressed us with its killer Hangover Burger; with this "rueben" staying on our minds, we have to wonder if this friendly breakfast and lunch joint—soon to expand to Summerlin—isn't secretly one of our top sandwich shops.



8.30.2014

La Sureña

La Sureña at Rika Arepa Express
A
The Rika Arepa Express food truck hasn't displaced Viva Las Arepas as our go-to spot for these scrumptious masa cake sandwiches, but damn, this thing is delicious. The toasty griddled corn concoction is a little sweet and savory—maybe just a bit on the dry side—and absolutely stuffed with juicy, marinated and grilled chicken meat (dark and white), succulent slabs of a spicy smoked sausage, and mounds of creamy, rich avocado. It's one of the most satisfying bites you can imagine, hearty and bold and impossibly cheap ($7). It's a fantastic meal all by itself. Grab yourself one whenever you get the chance.

8.23.2014

Detroit Coney Classic

Detroit Coney Classic at Haute Doggery
C-
After showing early promise, Haute Doggery has us a little worried. Its selection of gourmet dogs still makes it a solid stop if you're wandering the Linq, but this wiener—a grilled beef frank traditionally topped with chili, cheddar, onions and mustard—leaves a lot to be desired. The dog itself is fine, but the bun is cold and dry and there aren't enough toppings. Plus, what's there doesn't bring a lot of flavor, and that's simply unacceptable for a joint that wants to be known for a fun, over-the-top take on a hot dog stand.


8.17.2014

Sandwich Sundays Presents: The Colby Burger

The Colby Burger
homemade
B
It's called this because it's full of Colby cheese, right? Wrong. It was made by brother Colby, one of the originators of Sandwich Sundays. It's his take on a Juicy Lucy, a massive beef patty magically stuffed with cheese before being cooked into a gooey, greasy, delicious mess. He filled these babies with sharp cheddar, creating a lava flow of cheese when you cut or bite into them. We grilled 'em and plopped 'em on soft rolls with griddled ham, homemade spicy brown mustard, and yes, another layer of cheese … Colby Jack! There's no doubt that this is the cheesiest burger ever consumed.

8.14.2014

Philly Joe

Philly Joe at Hank's Philly Steaks
B
The owner's of Hank's hail from South Philadelphia, and they claim to be the only true Philly steak shop in all of Las Vegas. We are not concerned with such proclamations. All we care about is if this cheese steak is delicious, and it is. The Philly Joe blends tangy Cheez Whiz with an American cheese sauce created at Hank's, and drops a lot of it all over these tender, satisfying slices of hand-trimmed ribeye steak. This is not a chopped steak sandwich, with thin ribbons of meat, which seems to be the most frequently munched style of cheese steak sandwich around town. This is a little bigger and bolder, topped off by a truly wonderful soft roll holding it all together. Is it the best? Not sure. But it's good enough to go back for more.

8.13.2014

TNB Cafe Signature Hamburger

TNB Cafe Signature Hamburger at Truffles N Bacon Cafe
A+
I don't want to like this burger, which seems ridiculous and gimmicky and gluttonous. I damn sure don't want to love it, but I do. It's undeniably delicious, and despite the indulgence of its toppings, it works. It really works.  The first thing you'll notice: Despite the fact that this beef patty is absolutely drenched with melted cheese, there still appears to be a need for a "slice" of crispified mac and cheese onboard this luscious cruise ship. That mac is fantastic; You'll want a side order of the stuff. All this meltiness, all this velvety cheesy texture is almost too much to handle, almost too rich to be awesome. But not quite. Because there's bacon jam on top, a thin but powerful layer of swine as condiment, and it's sweet, spicy, salty and salacious. There's a little sriracha ketchup inside this soft brioche bun, too. But it's undetectable. The flavor that's not overpowered by cheese, more cheese and bacon amazingness—the flavor that you need most—is cow. The burger patty itself is cooked exceptionally, juicy and just right. Truffles N Bacon Cafe is a tiny little hideaway in a weird little antique mall, but it'd be worth braving any environment to get your mouth on this masterpiece.

8.09.2014

Fried Catfish

Fried Catfish Sandwich at Brooklyn Bowl
B
Call it a fancy po' boy. Brooklyn Bowl's fried catfish sandwich drops huge, flaky filets of crunchified fish on a fluffy soft French roll—super soft—plus lettuce, tomato, onion and a light, sweet, slightly tangy corn tartar sauce. It's a mighty mouthful and supremely satisfying, with perfect proportions of meat and vegetables and stimulating textural contrasts. The only drawback is perhaps the fish coating could be flavored with some spice, to add some eat to the overall mix. But we're not complaining.


7.29.2014

C.B. Hash

C.B. Hash at The Goodwich
A
Is the breakfast menu at The Goodwich the greatest thing ever? Six sandwiches for $3, $5 or $7, impossible to choose a favorite, each crafted with love and talent. We are determined to work our way through what is surely the best breakfast sandwich selection ever assembled, starting with house-made corned beef hash plastered between two tasty, toasty slabs of marble rye with melty Swiss cheese, a fried egg and liberal splashes of green Tabasco. The hash is melt-in-your-mouth lovely, a blend of salty, fatty, and toothsome, flavor-absorbing potato morsels. And look at that cheese stretch! It's a work of art, and it tastes beautiful, too.

7.26.2014

Egg Sandwich with Salami

Egg Sandwich with Salami at Capriotti's
C
So a few select locations of Capriotti's serve a simple breakfast menu. This is mostly occurring at mini-Cap's stores in food court locations. At the Green Valley Ranch Resort spot, it seemed like a good idea to snag an eggwich before work. It turned out to be a mediocre idea. This is a version of the NYC egg sandwich, a soft kaiser roll with a quick scrambled egg, cheese and maybe a meat of your choice. I went the salami route, and was happy to discover they actually grilled the slices of meat for a bit on the flat top to achieve some crispy, greasy goodness. The roll was nice and fluffy, too. But overall, this is just too bland a bite. Don't be afraid to put a spicy, creamy spread of some sort to make breakfast come alive. Or, maybe don't be so skimpy with your salami. 

Texas BBQ Thickburger

Texas BBQ Thickburger at Carl's Jr.
D
What's on the latest monstrosity from Carl? A third-pound Black Angus beef patty (or a half, if you like), American cheese, "smoked brisket" in cloying "mesquite BBQ sauce" and fried jalapeño and onion bits. The brisket goes on the bun first, a mushy amalgam of fat and sugar. There's no trace of the guilty pleasure satisfaction that comes with putting additional meat on a cheeseburger. Carl's Jr. makes what is probably the best-known barbecue burger on the planet, the old Western Bacon Chee, so it's kind of disappointing that this adjustment—brisket for bacon, fryer leavings for onion rings—is so much crappier. But then again, it's certainly not surprising. I will say this: the new buns at Carl's are an improvement. A tiny improvement, but progress all the same.


7.17.2014

Chicken Fried Foie Gras

Chicken Fried Foie Gras at Comme Ça
A
Dude. Do you understand the concept of dirty food? Stuff that is so rich, so over the top, so decadent, that it can't be described any other way? This is the dirtiest slider ever invented or consumed, and it defies description. A sweet roll. A mound of crunchy, ridiculously guilt-inducing chicken-fried foie gras, pure pleasure in every way. Way, way, way too much black truffle gravy. Caramelized onions. Ho. Lee. Fuck. Dirty, y'all.

7.13.2014

Regular Al

Regular Al at Al's Beef
A+
So we're told this is the way to eat your Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich: with provolone cheese, plus the combination of hot giardiniera and sweet peppers, plus "dipped." What does that mean? It means this finely shaved roast beef, which is simmered in a savory gravy forever, not only goes straight from the gravy to your roll—bringing all kinds of delicious juices to the sandwich—but then the entire sandwich takes a quick bath into the gravy. Is it messy, a little bit soggy, and impossible to eat without getting a little Al all over you? Yes. Is it worth it. Oh hell yes. Not surprising to many of the Windy City transplants living in Las Vegas, this is the best Italian beef we've ever tasted. The meat is incredibly tender and delicious, a great dish on its own. Augmented with the sweet, spicy, vinegary blast from the peppers, it's just amazing. Of course, you don't have to do it up with the works like this. But this is perfection, guilty pleasure food we want to eat every day.

7.11.2014

Vegas Burger

Vegas Burger at Bobby's Burger Palace
A-
It's summer in Vegas. It's time for a burger. And it was time to return to Bobby Flay's new (to Vegas) burger joint to eat the Vegas Burger, a perfect patty topped with white American cheese, Fresno chilies and Lay's barbecue potato chips. It sounds a little ridiculous, but it's mighty tasty. The dominant factor in its awesomeness are the juicy, beautifully cooked and seasoned beef, and the double dose of cheese melted completely over the patty. BBP makes burgers you'd make at home if you knew what you were doing. It's as simple as that. And they keep the toppings minimal, allowing you to sauce your own burger with a variety of condiments available on your table. I smothered this sucker with green jalapeño sauce and some chipotle ketchup, spicy-sweet flavors that played well with the chilies. BBP isn't revolutionary, but it is one of the top burger joints on the Vegas Strip, a fun and delicious spot without the pretension and high prices of other celeb chef restaurants.

Tzatziki Burger

Tzatziki Burger
homemade
B-
It only recently occurred to us that a veggie burger patty—especially one with a bit of Indian spice like this one—is a perfect fit for cool, creamy tzatziki sauce. So we put these friends together on a potato bun with some greens, and boom, a sorta Greekish veggie burger that satisfies. It would have been better with some sort of crunchy, spicy pickled thing on top, but hey, it's a process.

Irish Club

Irish Club at Bennigan's
C
The allsandwich summer vacation continues in … wait for it … Iowa. Whatever, don't judge. The most famous Iowa sandwich is probably the deep fried pork loin sandwich, but our first taste off the plane in Des Moines was at Bennigan's, which I didn't believe was a real place until I ate this monster—turkey, roast beef and corned beef piled high on a pretzel bun with strips of bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion. There was a Russian dressing-like spread, too. It was a lot to handle, a meat load that ate more like a burger than a sandwich. But in the end, it was just something odd at a decidedly not odd chain restaurant. I'm also pretty sure the Bennigan's menu claims to have invented the Monte Cristo, which is some amazing bullshit.