Double Shack Burger

Double Shackburger at Shake Shack
Since we got a little obsessed with Shake Shack this year (as it came to Vegas with not one but two locations) it only seems appropriate to close 2015 with another go 'round at the Shack and a definitive statement, for once and for all, whether it has tested our fast food burger loyalty to In-N-Out. As originally discussed last December upon our first-ever Shackburger tasting, the only way to properly compare the two chains is to get a double from both, and make sure they have the same toppings. So we did it. And In-N-Out still wins. Although every Shake Shack product reviewed here at allsandwich has received an A grade—and we love the fries and ice cream, too—the Double Shackburger, for all its indulgent, nostalgic deliciousness, just can't top the Double-Double. The beef is higher quality at the Shack, with thicker patties for more fatty flavor and greasy fun, and all the other ingredients are fresh and satisfying in all the right ways. But when it all comes together, turns out the champ is still the champ. Out of the many, many times we've grabbed a Double-Double at In-N-Out, it's never been anything other than perfect. Ever. We ate plenty of Shackburgers this year and enjoyed them all, but it wasn't as consistent an eating experience. It just wasn't. Love you, Shack. Don't be mad.


Sandwich Sundays presents: Spicy "Grilled" Cheese

Spicy "Grilled" Cheese
The secret to making a crunchy, gooey grilled cheese is to not grill it; use the broiler. And way too much delicious cheese. Thin tiles of Jewish rye got doused in olive oil and tossed in the oven, crispy toasted on one side and then flipped over, layered with thick slices of yellow jalapeño cheddar and aged white peppadew cheddar, melted to perfection, stacked together and flipped over a couple more times for a few minutes under the oven's flame. The end result: Cheese. Crunch. Yes.


Beef on Weck

Beef on Weck at Anchor Bar
We love some chicken wings, but when we found out Las Vegas was getting its own version of Anchor Bar—the Buffalo bar where the wing was originated, according to legend—we were equally exciting to try the traditional Beef on Weck. Our first introduction to this northeast specialty was actually at the very first Buffalo Wild Wings franchise to come to Vegas. Believe it or not, back before it was the corporate mega sports bar chain it is today, BWW actually was trying to stay as loyal to Buffalo as it could be, and there was a Beef on Weck on the menu. But it wasn't as good as this one from the Anchor Bar inside the Venetian's food court. The kimmelweck roll is what makes this simple roast beef sandwich pop, its soft, fluffy texture and sprinkling of caraway seeds and coarse salt drawing out every savory note in the stack of thinly sliced beef. Served with some seriously spicy horseradish on the side, it's an easy winner. It's satisfying but also leaves you wanting more. It's everything Arby's should have been. And it goes great with a dozen spicy hot wings.

Asiago Ranch Chicken Club

Asiago Ranch Chicken Club at Wendy's
Do the names of the types of chicken at Wendy's make sense? I mean, spicy is spicy, sorta, but it doesn't exactly explain that the spicy chicken is still breaded and fried. The plain breaded and fried chicken sandwich is called homestyle, which is confusing because nobody makes cardboard fried chicken at home. And this option is called grilled, which actually should be homestyle, but it's hard to say exactly how this chunk of poultry was cooked. All I know is it seemed like the best style of chicken to go with bacon, asiago cheese, ranch, lettuce and tomatoes. Because these toppings just don't seem like a good fit with a spicy or fried chicken chunk. And really, this doesn't go that well, either. But I'm not sure if it's the chicken's fault, or the sweet, gooey ranch sauce. Maybe they should call this chicken style "the boring."


Kefta Pita

Kefta Pita at Crazy Pita
Finally got around to trying Crazy Pita, a homegrown mini-chain serving Mediterranean food at malls and shopping centers and things, and it's pretty tasty. The gateway sandwich is this "kefta" pita, which is built around meatball-ish things made of beef—there's no lamb, but it's still heavily spiced so it tastes like the traditional Moroccan/Middle Eastern ground meat specialty. Wrapped in a soft, crispy-edged pita with creamy hummus, romaine lettuce, and a relish of marinated tomatoes and cucumbers with a bit of mint, it's a satisfying lunch bite, with a little more heat and flavor than we would have predicted. We'll be back, Crazy Pita.


The Grandfather

The Grandfather at Cheffini's
Most of the dogs at Cheffini's are instantly placed, upon first bite, into contention for our favorite dog in town. The Grandfather isn't quite up to that level, but it's still delightful, which proves Cheffini's is the top dog in Vegas. Even its second-tier franks kick ass. This dog is grilled and dropped into a soft bun before being layered with crisp bits of pork belly, chopped red bell pepper, pickled mango, crunched-up potato chips, caramelized onions and a fried quail egg—that's the thing that gets most people—and then fired up with a couple of sauces: spicy  mayo and basil aioli. The basil is hard to see but easy to taste, the mango adds sweet and sour, and the bacon and onions bring the richness. It's quite powerful.


Meatball Sandwich

Meatball Sandwich at Great American Food
The oddly named Great American Food specializes in sandwiches, mainly of the Italian variety. Sure, you can grab a burger or a Reuben here, but at its core this is an Italian deli, so ... let's go meatballin'. On a toasty French roll, homemade all-beef meatballs—firm and well spiced—are slathered in melty mozzarella and fresh, bright marinara sauce. It's a nice hot bite through and through, super satisfying and flavored with familiar. If you like your sandwiches straight-ahead, maybe Great American Food is for you.


The Instant Leftover

The Instant Leftover
The Instant Leftover happens when you don't wait until Friday, or even Thursday night, to eat your Thanksgiving turkey sandwich. You assemble that bad boy right there at the dinner table. I used a a dense, buttery, utterly wonderful home-baked roll somebody's mom brought to the festivities this year, slapped it with homemade cranberry sauce, slabs of white meat, a spoonful of mashed potatoes, two spoonfuls of gravy and a couple chunks of smooth roasted garlic. It was a flavorful success but a textural dilemma: all mush and no snap. But honestly, this is the leftover turkey sandwich problem of our time, isn't it? Some people put stuffing on the sandwich, which is over-breading. This thing was tasty but needed some more thought. That's what happens when you don't wait until the natural sandwich-making hour.


The B.A.T. Shi(p) Crazy

The B.A.T. Shi(p) Crazy at Lulu's Bread & Breakfast
You didn't think we'd go very long without revisiting the breakfast sandwich capital of Las Vegas, did you? This Lulu's treat, which may or may not be on the ever-changing menu at any given time, stars thick-cut peppered bacon, avocado, tomato relish, cheddar cheese and over-easy eggs stacked on the bakery's signature "everything" brioche, which has all the tasty seeds and things of an everything bagel. It's one of the greatest rolls you'll ever taste, a textural delight dabbed with savory brilliance, and adding rich eggs and crispy bacon to such beautiful bread is an automatic win.


Turkey, Bacon and Avocado

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado at Einstein Bros Bagels
Turkey. Bacon. Avocado. They're obviously friends, and it would take a bland-ass bagel sandwich chain to mess it up. But Einsteins doesn't exactly mess it up; this is actually one of the better sandwiches we've had at this place. The avo was surprisingly un-mushy, the bacon was crispy, and the lettuce, tomato and onion were perfectly decent. We built it on one of those bagel-thin things, to try to keep the proportions right, and it was an everything bagel-thin thing so it actually had some flavor. Everything was coasting above mediocrity until we got a mouthful of the mayonaissy, chipotle sauce nonsense, which is sweet and gross and oddly spicy. Ick. And of course it's spread on both sides of the bagel thing. Close ... not a full screwup, far from success.


PBR Pulled Pork

PBR Pulled Pork at PBR Rock Bar
You can't really tell from this picture, but this is a mountain of a sandwich. It's just huge. And the amount of tender, juicy pulled piggy in this thing is obscene. Couldn't eat half of it. Half. PBR Rock Bar is smack in the middle of the Strip, a gigantic, somewhat cheesy themed restaurant that sucks in tourists whether they're rodeo fans or not. It's a big food machine. But what most people don't know is that it's the home of what is probably the best barbecue on the Las Vegas Strip, including some smoky brisket and some righteous ribs. This sweet, supple pork is right up there, too. The problems here are the dried-out burger bun, the mostly bland, creamy coleslaw, and the portions: some more of that slaw, if it had more crunch and flavor, would help moisten the bun and cut through the richness of all that sweet meat. When you order a barbecue sandwich, you're not supposed to want to scrap the bun and topping and only eat the barbecue.


Shack Stack

Shack Stack at Shake Shack
Compared to pretty much every other burger joint—especially the much-hyped ones here in Las Vegas—Shake Shack is decidedly sane. Logical. Rational. Simple, even. I mean, you could say the same thing about In-N-Out, but they've got that secret menu stuff, Animal Style and Four-By-Fours and all that, and that's pretty crazy. Shake Shack is not crazy. Until you find your way to the Shack Stack, the only insane item on the menu. It basically slaps together the standard, delicious Shack Burger with the Shroom Burger, which is (laughably) the Shack's vegetarian option: crispy fried portobello mushroom caps filled with gooey, molten muenster and cheddar cheeses. Maybe it's vegetarian, but it certainly doesn't eat like something that's supposed to be better for you. Anyways, put the Shack's melty-cheese-topped Angus beef patty under one of those crunchy, explosive portobello pucks of glory—and put it all between the puffy bun with lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce—and you've got a cheese-messy, wonderful accident waiting to happen. It's silly, but it's good. It might not be what you go to Shake Shack for, but mix it up sometimes. Keep it interesting.


Sandwich Sundays presents: The Raab and Sauce

The Raab and Sauce
Looks sharp, eh? So we had a big spaghetti night and these were the leftovers: Rich, slightly spicy meat sauce made with ground turkey, mushrooms and whole black olives; and garlicky, bitter-delicious rapini. We made a quick jaunt over to Siena Deli to grab some slightly crusty, super-tasty hoagie rolls, layered it all together, tossed it in the oven for toasty fun, and sprinkled some finely grated parmigiano reggiano on top. It looked nice and neat for the picture, but believe this thing smushed and exploded and got messy fast. All good though. Nothing wrong with a messy sandwich, especially when you made it yourself and it tastes this good.


Green Hulk

The Green Hulk at Truffles N Bacon Cafe
Home to one of our favorite burgers in Las Vegas, Truffles N Bacon Cafe likes to tout that it's about more than truffles and bacon—it means the menu offers more than indulgent comfort foods. But what the place actually does best is takes simple ingredients and presents them in a way that results in indulgence and utter satisfaction. Take the Green Hulk. It's just grilled chicken with smashed-up avocado—lots of it—plus roasted red peppers, provolone cheese and tomatoes on thick slabs of sourdough toast. You've had a million sandwiches with different combinations of these ingredients. But together, through the crunch of the sourdough and the velvety luxury of all that avocado, they become something greater and something very delicious. It's also a very filling sandwich, and you'll feel bad about eating more than half of it. But you'll still do it.

Breakfast Rye

Breakfast Rye
The best breakfast sandwiches are the ones you make. Dark rye toast, soft scrambled eggs with a fuckin' Kraft single melted on top, and a layer of pre-cooked turkey sausages sliced in half so they they won't roll around. That's it, dude. That's all you need.


Snappy Griller

Snappy Griller at Pizza Forte
So the family behind one of the best and longest running Italian restaurants in Las Vegas (Ferraro's) decided to get into the casual pizza game, and the result is Pizza Forte, which has already opened two stores at off-Strip casinos Sunset Station and the Hard Rock Hotel. The pizza is great ... but this ain't allpizza. Forte brings the special dog goodness, exclusively serving up Hofmann hot dogs and sausages and it's the only place in Vegas with this product. For our first taste, we couldn't resist the Snappy Griller, a creamy colored pork and veal sausage with a crisp texture and smooth, satisfying flavor. In fact, it tastes unlike any other sausage we can remember chomping into. The buns here are toasty, buttery New England-style things, the kind of bread you typically associate with a lobster roll.  They're substantial and delicious. Forte is kinda cool and old school, which means you can grab your wiener and slide over to a well-stocked condiment bar to load that thing up. We packed it with mustard, onions, tomatoes, banana peppers and bacon. (Yep. Bacon.) The topping combo was solid, but this thing would have been scrumptious with just mustard.


Debris Po-Boy

Debris Po-Boy at Zydeco Po-Boys
Let me just say this: When I took my first bite, "We Are The Champions" started playing in my head. This is exactly the rich, fresh, ideal po-boy we were expecting when we first visited Zydeco, and the debris is the sandwich that seals the deal. That's just the way it is when you find a sandwich you want to eat every day. It starts with Leidenheimer bread, of course, but the oven-roasted brisket is the star, well-spiced, unbelievably tender, falling apart and saturated in the gravy-ish drippings from the pan it was cooked in. Please give me a whole plate of this stuff? Add Swiss or provolone (I chose the latter) plus fresh lettuce and tomato, and the secret weapon: jalapeño mayo. It's no joke. Creamy and zingy, its brightness magically weaves in and out of each rich, meaty bite, providing the perfect foil for the brisket's fatty flavors. Now time to stop typing and head Downtown to Zydeco. 

The Winston Cooper

The Winston Cooper at The Sandwich Spot
Back to the friendly neighborhood Sandwich Spot for this mega meaty bite. We're not sure who Winston Cooper might be or may have been, but his sandwich is certainly satisfying. Hot pastrami, salami and roast beef mingle as an ultra-savory, slightly oily and spicy combination, with the addition of your cheese choice (we did Swiss) and the standard SS toppings of mayo, mustard, the garlic-herb-oil "secret sauce," lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and peppers. It's basically the sandwich equivalent of a meatlover's pizza, for those who just can't get enough. This is enough, trust me.


The Houseburger

The Houseburger
We almost called this the Endless Summer burger because, here at home in Las Vegas, it's still 100 degrees and we're two days away from October. It can be tiresome, but it's mostly awesome, because we get so many more weekend cookouts during the year. On this particular weekend, we decided to re-create the great American burger with standard great American flavors. We mixed the seasonings into the ground beef and smashed them into medium-thin patties, grilled them up and melted Kraft American cheese on top, plopped them on top of potato buns with raw onion slices, and added beefsteak tomato, butter lettuce leaves, spicy dill pickle coins and straight-up Thousand Island dressing. It was a delicious summer bite, which is why it's now the burger of the house.


Bresaola Montadito

Bresaola Montadito at Bin 702
Offering up a plethora of Spanish mini-sandwiches at a cozy wine bar is simply genius. The montadito is the ideal snack for an afternoon of leisurely boozing, and this one, cramming a neat stack of salty dried beef and triple-creme Saint-Andre cheese into a baby French roll, is a fast favorite. The only problem is: do we eat another one of these with our next glass of red, or do we get one with cured pork loin, or lobster salad, or prosciutto? It's a wonderful dilemma.



Pabellon at Viva Las Arepas
I dream about this sandwich. Slightly spicy, endlessly rich, succulent and tender beef in the style of mechada (Puerto Rican pot roast) is stuffed into a savory grilled cornmeal cake, crowded with queso fresco, black beans and plantains for a sweet and salty explosion. The texture of the juicy meat inside the crisp arepa "shell" is sublime, but that meat is just so good. I had this one for breakfast. It's also the perfect lunch. And dinner. It's not huge but it's unbelievably satisfying and filling. It's perfect. And it's $7. Why am I not eating this right now?


Jumbo Dog

Jumbo Dog at Woody's Chicago Style Hot Dogs
This may be the first time in the history of allsandwich that I cannot find an internet presence for a sandwich venue. Sigh. It's because Woody's is a cart that is periodically parked in front of the Lowe's hardware store on the northeast corner of Buffalo and Washington in northwest Las Vegas. It's a cart, not a food truck. And it's likely my last hot dog of the summer, a massive Vienna Beef link in a perfectly steamed poppyseed bun, served plain to my paw. I then decorated it vigorously with yellow mustard, nuclear green relish and raw onions. Then I ate it in few bites, something I've done at least twice every summer for as far back as I can remember. Woody's is awesome, and hot dogs are street food, and they taste best when you're eating them from a cart on the street ... even if that street is in suburban Las Vegas.

Bacon Clubhouse Burger

Bacon Clubhouse Burger at McDonald's
I suppose I need to give credit to McDonald's for crafting a burger that doesn't taste like a McDonald's burger. But I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Also, I'm not sure if it tastes better than a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, for example. Instead of a sesame seed bun, it has the clown's "artisan roll," which is shiny and fluffy. It has the same cow disc, and the same sauce as the sweet goo that comes on a Big Mac, but there are respectable bacon strips, caramelized grilled onions (which appear to be the key element in the non-McD taste phenomenon), leaf lettuce instead of shredded iceberg, tomato and a slab of white cheddar. It looks like fast food but it doesn't really taste like it. I suppose it's a step up, or at least a half-step. Three quarters of a step?


Ham, Egg and Cheese

Ham, Egg and Cheese at Chocolate & Spice
Just killin' you, Burger King. Fuck yo' croissan'wich. Because this is what a breakfast sandwich is supposed to be, a carefully crafted marvel of simple, top quality ingredients. It's not really fair, though, because superchef Megan Romano's croissants at Chocolate & Spice are some of the best you'll find in Las Vegas, incredibly flaky and tender, and wonderfully buttery in a light, cloudy way. They're amazing all alone. Stock them with soft scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese and thinly sliced Black Forest ham, and you have pure bliss. You'll try not to eat it all so you can save room for something sweet, another pastry creation from this brilliant westside shop, but you can't help yourself. This is the breakfast bite of your dreams.