Two recent Boston Chacarero knockoffs: Z Square and Viga
In the past week, I've had a chance to try two different Chacarero knockoffs around downtown Boston. Yes, I know a chacarero isn't a proper noun, but for a long time in this town, the only chacarero was at Chacarero. Regardless, my findings:
Z Square ($8) - "sliced flank steak, tomato, green beans, jack cheese, avocado, and chimichurri on a soft roll." Good quality ingredients, tasty steak marinade, but this sandwich was killed by bland chimichurri sauce and a bland roll. Aside from the green beans, had I not seen the name, it would never have occurred to me to think of it as a chacarero. Decent enough lunchtime sandwich though, if a little small for the $8 asking price.
Viga ($6.59) - listed simply as a "grilled steak" sandwich, it's topped with "provolone, green beans, tomato relish and avocado spread", served on Viga's focaccia, which is itself strikingly reminiscent of Cosi's flatbread, exposing an incestuous Boston sandwich community I never knew existed. Viga's sandwich didn't use a chimichurri sauce at all, so this version was 100% heat-free. The bread got soggy pretty quickly, and the steak didn't have quite as much flavor as Z Square's, but it was otherwise a respectable sandwich. Considering it was both larger and cheaper than Z Square's, it was a better value as well.
Conclusion: as far as I'm concerned, Chacarero is still the only chacarero in town. Better bread, bigger portion, more flavor, more heat.
Thanks, finlero - that's a helpful post - glad to hear that Chacarero is the only one that really makes chacareros.
That said, a couple of other recently accumulated sandwich tips -
Viga has a sandwich - I think it's the Torino - with grilled chicken and portobello mushrooms - from the cold sandwich line - I think it's pretty great. Make sure you ask for the braided roll - I think it's their best roll option.
Also, at Sebastian's, I swear that if you ask for the foccaccia rather than any other bread choice, you end up getting much more sandwich for your money. But it could just be an optical illusion.
Finally, another shoutout to the little cafe at the end of PI Alley - City Hall Avenue to be exact (although it is only a footpath) - http://delicatocafe.com/ - Delicato Cafe has nice folks making nice sandwiches - you also get a good sized dill pickle spear and some homemade macaroni salad, which once was bland, but the second time was well-seasoned in typical Italian-dressing style macaroni salad flavor, thankfully with no mayo. The second incarnation was much better.
Agreed - Chacerero is unique and larger and spicier, but the Viga grilled chicken version on their fresh-based whole wheat foccacia still makes a quick, filling, and tasty lunch - their line moves more quickly as well. The one time I tried the Viga steak version it was overdone and full of gristle as well as too greasy.