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May 29, 2007 06:42 AM

No Star Sandwich Bar

Just a quick note - Got the Friday special po'boy with bluefish cakes, tabasco remoulade (mayo, right?) etc. on french bread - First bites were good, but then the fish bones started - one or two could be overlooked, but the sandwich was riddled with them. I ended up throwing out the second half of the sandwich in disgust, as I lost count of how many I found, and it seemed to be getting worse. Having to carefully maw through each bite to find them and pull them out...not an all star experience.

The grace period afforded to this place by kind and hopeful hounds is long past - based on this experience, the failure of basic competence does not match up with the reputation of the affiliated chef or its presumptuous name.

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  1. While I agree that they have not lived up to the hype over all, this fau pas in specific is probably the fault of their food supplier not their staff. Very few restaurants fillet their own fish, especially sandwich joints. I am guessing they bought pre-filleted, de-boned, & portioned (and probably frozen) cakes and just cooked & served.

    2 Replies
    1. re: InmanSQ Girl

      You may be right, tho' the menu calls it a "local fish" po' boy, which signals to me that it is whatever fish is good for the eating at the time, (in this case, blue fish per their website that day) and not something that is pre-packaged. Also, are there commercial vendors who deal in local bluefish? That's a low margin market if ever I've heard one. ;)

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        Not to mention this is owned by and next door to what many on this forum proclaim to be the "best seafood restaurant in boston", which i never have agreed with anyways

    2. Very strange for a place so closely affiliated with East Coast Grill. I have been there twice in recent weeks, and had food ranging from satisfactory to quite good. Did you get takeout? I can't imagine them refusing a refund/replacement if you were there.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Ruprecht

        It was take-out. I would have definitely said something if I ate in.

        I agree with you about the ECG affiliation - I am a big ECG fan (It's in my top 5) although I feel like the shine has been off there lately ... finding myself starting to agree with some of the naysayers after a couple of recent experiences.

        Maybe the captain needs to start cracking the whip...who knows...

        But believe me, the sandwich was Bush league - ugh - just so disappointing.

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          I think there's an inherent conundrum in a place like this. If you have an ambitious sandwich menu you need people with a certain degree of culinary acumen to make it work consistently. And most people with those skills don't want to work in a sandwich joint. Combine that with an owner who has bigger irons in his fire and this is what you get.

          1. re: Steve L

            True, the entire principle is flawed. Imagine opening a restaurant that serves the best dish from all of the places we love in Boston/New england. We are going to serve Speed dogs, B&G lobster rolls, Chez henri cubano, couple seafood dishes from peach farm, etc etc.. But wait, no lets expand it to the entire country. The best dishes from every restaurant in the entire country.

            Now lets say we are going to have these prepared by people we hire on Craigs List (yes assbar advertised there for help many times)... So what do you get?

            1. re: hargau

              It seems that you are all expecting too much from this sandwich joint. I have eaten there and it's great for a quick and delicious lunch with really good french fries. Just because it has a high profile chef attached to it does not mean that you have to expect a five star dining experience. Chris Schlessinger is a down to earth nice and talented person. I really appreciate that I can go to any of his restaurants and I am relaxed and I do not feel as though I need to be dressed up. His concepts are fun and casual with edgy food that has lots of heat and flavor. I am sure that he opened this restaurant to fill a niche for casual and fun lunches. It's down and dirty in a fun way. He is also not charging the same prices as B&G. I love B&G do not get me wrong but All Star Sandwich is just an easy going place with no attitude. Everyone needs to give this Chef a break and stop holding him responsible for every bite you take. If we continue to treat chefs like this they will not want to open places like this anymore because the public is so unforgiving.

              1. re: hoplover

                Fun, casual concepts don't work well with poor execution. My complaint is really quite simple - I just don't want to eat a mouthful of fish bones, whether it's ASSB or a Filet-o-Fish. I'm just saying whoever is in charge needs to run a tighter ship. It's not that hard to make a fish cake.

                1. re: hoplover

                  I'm not sure if anyone on this thread is expecting a 5 star dining experience from sandwich shop. I'm pretty sure they just don't want a mouthfull of bones or a completely mediocre sandwich. Is that too much to ask? High profile chef or not, a sandwich shop should deliver a tasty sandwich - nuff said. By the way, the chef being a nice down to earth guy has absolutely no bearing on his ability to properly debone a filet.

                  1. re: hoplover

                    Stop holding the executive chef-owner responsible for every bite? Where should the buck stop, then? I say this as a CS fan--as many of us are, which is why so many of us have expressed disappointment at the place's failure to live up to certain standards thus far.
                    I'm not sure if I agree, myself, that the concept is fundamentally flawed, however. I don't see why sandwiches, esp. ones like these, with daily specials to boot, should necessarily be different than any other comfort food, and we've got plenty of chefs willing to brand their cuisines that way (Douglass/Ashmont Grill, Organ/Cafe D, Samson/POPS, etc.). The thing is to get a young buck to run the kitchen, someone who has talent and creativity but who still needs experience before he can head a more "serious" (for lack of a better term) kitchen. Someone like Bissonnette or Santos must have been--or for that matter, like Schlesinger himself must once have been.

                2. re: Steve L

                  Replace "sandwich joint" with "taqueria" and you have exactly described La Verdad.

            2. I completely agree with your post! We been a few times and each time we are surprised with the substandard quality of the food. We gave it another (final) try this past week, got the Turkey Gobbler and the BBQ Chicken Salad and swapped halves. My first bite into the BBQ Chix yielded a mouthful of inedible gristle, which if I was Homer Simpson would have elicted a nice MMM- gristle, but instead I spit it out. We are talking about a large piece of grstle, skin attached. After that I ate that half with trepidtion worried about more gristle. Oh, and it arrived burned on one side, it's supposed to be grilled and one side was a nice golden color, the other side was black, seriously, black. The Turkey sandwich was a little better but really, how much is that saying. I really love a good sandwich and have held high hopes for this place but I am done with the no-star.