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Apr 18, 2007 11:10 AM

All Star Sandwich Bar

I finally made it to All Star Sandwich Bar today for lunch. Maybe it was an off day, but I was really disappointed with it. We split the Gobbler, the Texas Reuben, and an order of Poutine.

The Texas Reuben was pretty good. The brisket was tender and flavorful, and all of the ingredients melded together well. After a few bites it started tasting too rich for my tastes, but overall it was good. I would have liked it better if the slaw was lighter, to balance out the weight of the brisket and the cheese. The Gobbler was very disappointing. The turkey was ok, but the cranberry sauce was way too tart and the stuffing was nothing more than a couple chunks of bread that appeared to be soaked in oil. The gravy was very bland and cold. I was equally disappointed by the poutine - the gravy just didn't have much flavor (nor was there very much of it) and they hardly put any curds on it at all. The fries themselves were tasty, but when I order poutine, I expect the gravy and curds to be a significant part of the dish.

I've been looking forward to trying this place for months, so this was discouraging. It wasn't so bad that I'd refuse to go there again, but it doesn't hold a candle to Soleil Cafe in Teele Sq. If I want an upscale sandwich for lunch, that's where I'll be going instead of AASB.

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      1. re: Johnresa

        A couple splendid food porn visuals of poutine on Jim Leff's chowtour of Montreal:

        It's a French Canadian thing - fries, cravy, cheese curds. It's messy and really good. They serve a yummy upscale version at Gargoyle's in Davis. I'll be in Montreal for a week and June and plan to enjoy poutine as often as possible while I'm there.

        1. re: Johnresa

          If you search on Poutine you'll find me waxing poetic about this king of dishes, this prince of the maritimes. I think they have it at Harvest too ... gonna have to get over there before they change the menu.

          1. re: yumyum

            Never had poutine before going to ASSBar this past weekend, but it was sooooo sinful and good. The combination of crispy fries, gravy and cheese curds just does something.

            My boyfriend and I liked the bee on weck but the cubano was only better than average. If I go back it will be for poutine, but I will also check out these other places. He also commented that it was a good dinner, compared to the Central Kitchen one of the night before. (I know this is travesty to the CK fanatics on here.)

            But really, the mussels weren't that good (I've made better) and his chicken was slightly overcooked. The only worthwhile thing in that dinner were the marinated portabella mushrooms that came with his entree.

        2. I agree with your assessment. I was there twice; the first time I split the fish po'boy and the beef on weck with a friend. Po'boy was good, but messy, and the b.on w. was fine - nothing special though. Last time I had the regular reuben which I found somewhat disappointing - a tad dry, but good quality corned beef - definitely not up to good NY deli standards. The fries, however, were excellent. I was discouraged, as you were. I'll have to check out Soleil one of these days.

          3 Replies
          1. re: EllenMM

            if i'm in inman for lunch, i stick to the $5.20 marinated pork loin sandwich w/ fried potatoes at o cantinho up the street. sooooooo much tastier w/ better bang for your buck than anything i've ever had at all star.

            1. re: passing thru

              Ditto on this rec. O Cantinho is a true hound haven.

              1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                Don't forget to spend a buck or two on a pastry at O Cantinho, like the pastel de nata (brûleéd custard tart) or queíjada de coco (cupcake loaded with shredded coconut).

          2. I went here for lunch yesterday. We shared a "Funky" sandwich of the day, which was hoisin-glazed pork with a green chile relish, avocado, and watercress, and a Cubano. Side of fries from hell, and a lemonade.

            The Funky sandwich was OK. Crispy, buttery, pressed French bread, fairly tender pork, but where was the flavor explosion I expected? The Cubano was better--the melted cheese helped boost the flavor--but it was still not top of the line. I think they need to brine their roasted pork or something to give it a bit of a salt boost.

            The fries from hell were nice. I love the Inner Beauty sauce, and the fries themselves were good and crispy (for the first 10 minutes, until they became soggy due to sitting in a pool of the sauce). The lemonade was very good. Tasted fresh, and a few free refills helped me more easily negotiate the sauce on the fries!

            All in all, not a bad experience, but not a very good one either. I would return, but it's not high on my list of priorities.

            1 Reply
            1. re: davis_sq_pro

              I like the ASSbar a lot, but they are a little inconsistent. Some things are great, some not so.

              I was there yesterday too, and had the same "Funky" sandwich you mentioned. It sounded great, was just ok. Pork was supposed to be "Hoisin glazed" but it, to me, tasted like fairly standard pork loin. The bread was a littly too fluffy and lacked gluten, a slightly kleenex-y baquette. The real dissapointment, esp. from a chef famous for his hot sauce was the green chile relish. As a former New Mexican, I feel strongly that the term green chile should not be casually invoked. What they served had no actual green chile in it, from what I could tell, but was instead a chopped relish of carrot, onion, and jalepeno, the sort of thing that would go on a bahn mi. It wasn't hot either. Not that it was bad in and of itself, but it was misnamed and didn't go with the sandwich.

              I hope these guys can pull it together, when they are good (texas reuben, cuban, burgers, fries that are not poitine-d, homeade pickles) they are really good.

            2. Man, you'd think Schlesinger would have the kinks straightened out by now. I just checked out Sunday's daily specials and they *sound* terrific...what is the deal? Who's cutting corners and why? Anyone have theories?

              1. I've been there a few times and agree that they have a consistency issue to work out. The first time I went was within weeks of their opening, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. The second time I went my friend and I had the sandwich featured in the sandwich/soup combo. It was a pressed sandwich with turkey, muenster, and watercress. It was delicious! That paired with an order of fries really hit the spot. When we went most recently trying to cure a craving for the turkey/muenster sandwich, we were disappointed to get push back when we tried to order it even though it wasn't listed on the menu. There was a similar sandwich, only it had ham instead of turkey, and had some odd mayo blend, so we asked if we could get that and have turkey instead of ham, and skip the mayo. After checking with the manager, our waitress told uss she would do it, but just this once. We also met some resistance trying to order a standard tuna sandwich--they only offer a tuna melt, so we ended up having to order a cold tuna melt, hold the cheese! Seems a bit odd to me that a sandwich place is so by-the-book, but I guess they are trying to draw a line somewhere.