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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: http://www.chow.com/tour/2027

        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.

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369329

          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.

                1. I found it to be very mediocre as well and very disappointing for vegetarian selections. I got some fancied-up grilled cheese that turned out greasy and limp and trying to hard to be interesting when really the flavors just clashed.

                  1. Yesterday I was there for the first time and sampled the salad with grilled chicken and the grilled falafel. Both were really disappointing, but at least the service was friendly and prompt.

                    First, the grilled chicken in the salad was tougher than nails and then the salad dressing was incredibly spicy. The grilled falafel was ok, but nothing special and the bread was seriously tough. Is it just me, or is it THAT hard to make a good sandwich? Perhaps it is because their ingredients are sub-par? Yuck. Mid-way through the sandwich, I turned to my boyfriend and said, "Darwin's is better." And it's true. Go to Darwin's instead.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: taylor_blair

                      I'm not sure if anyone here has ever been to Saratoga Springs NY, but there is an absolutely to die for gourmet market/sandwich shop called Putnam Market with the BEST sandwiches I've ever had. So when I moved here after transferring schools, I began my search for a replacement. Alas, its been a difficult trek, but I think I'll agree with Taylor when I say that Darwin's is probably the best I've found in the area. Why is it that quality sandwiches are so hard to come by? I've yet to try Dave's Fresh, but I'm crossing my fingers...

                      1. re: mipiace

                        I agree with many others, try Volle Nolle in the North End. Just had a wonderful pressed sandwich there, grilled chicken with walnut pesto, fresh mozz, prosciutto, and romaine. A lot of care goes into those sandwiches.

                    2. Please, please, 'Hounds. Don't let me go to All Star again. I keep wanting it to live up to the marketing and keep giving it another go. Another not-worth-the-money meal there this weekend. Too bad they can't figure out how to make the batter stick to their thick cut onion rings. Too bad the bluefish po' boy was rather boring. Too bad the grilled asparagus was wretched. Grrrr. ASSBar might just be a beer and fries destination, but for that, you can go next door to Bukowski's.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: MB fka MB

                        I have to say, I'm just absolutely befuddled at the outpouring of hate on Chowhound for this place. I've been twice and really enjoyed everything I tried both times, especially those onion rings, which were the best I'd ever had--I guess maybe I don't eat onion rings very much?

                        The only quibble I had was with the pastrami, which was very good for standard sandwich place quality, but wasn't the long-steaming, falling apart katz's quality that I'd prayed it might be. Everythign else I tried--the meatloaf sandwich, pulled pork, fries, slaw and pickles--were terrific. Maybe i've just been lucky, I don't know...

                        Definitely not a good spot for vegetarians though.

                        1. re: celeriac

                          I'm not saying I HATE the place, but it's just not that good and I don't really need to ever go back. Why waste calories on mediocre and why spend money somewhere that regularly disappoints? There are plenty of just fine places that I don't ever want to go back to.

                          The rings tasted okay, but none of the batter stuck to the rings, and I think that's a bummer for what's meant to be a premium place.

                          1. re: celeriac

                            i think most people (myself included) had high expectations given the concept and the people involved and that the place just hasn't lived up to what one would expect

                            1. re: passing thru

                              When you choose the name "All Star Sandwich Bar," you'd better come through like Larry Bird, Tom Brady or Big Papi. Otherwise, you'll wind up looking like an A.S.S.

                              The negative response to ASSB is a pity really. The concept is long overdue and the Schlessinger name has always been associated with greatness. Alas in the foodie game, you are only as good as your last meal.

                              1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                I think Bob MacAdoo put it well. We just expected more given the pedigree. Cremaldi's (r.i.p.) is probably my standard for inspired sandwiches.

                            2. re: celeriac

                              Gotta agree w/the celery root on this one. I go there/take out a lot, and have only ever had one or two meh sandwiches. All the rest have been great. That said, I stick to hot and grilled/pressed sandwiches: love the Texas Rueben, the "Rachel," the "Larry" special, the fish po' boys. Dig the poutine and thick onion rings as well.

                              Have found the soups to be hit and miss.

                          2. Overall I think this place is well above average for sandwiches in this area. Granted reading the menu and knowing where the owners came from leads to dreams of the most amazing sandwiches possible, and while they don't quite live up to that I've never been disappointed in what I got here either. The flavors might not jump out like they do on the menu but its always a high quality product with nice flavor. It's also nice having such a large selection of grilled/warm sandwiches this time of year. If I was in the area more often I think I'd be a regular here, they don't overdue things to the point of ruining the sandwich which I think some places around here do(see Oxford Spas Tuna Sandwich). A couple sandwiches I've had at Dave's Fresh stand out above anything else I've had in this area(particularly the chicken with roasted tomato mayo). I'm also a Soleil cafe supporter but have only found myself there for breakfast recently, their hours make it kind of tough to get there.

                            1. I ate here today for the 4th time, and had a very good Carolina style pork-shoulder sandiwch. My first meal was still the best: Atomic Meatloaf and fries.

                              1. I was excited when this place first opened. They had a lot of interesting choices on the menu. Then only a few weeks later they scaled the menu down and the really interesting things were only the special of the day. I think they've finally settled on having 5 specials a day (cheese, veggie, funky, xtrafunky etc) but its been a dissappointment. Apparently "xtrafunky" mean chicken liver on a sandwich. I did have the hoison glazed pork one that davis_sq_pro mentioned and it was pretty good.