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Chacarero - What is my Problem?

  • c

People,

You all rave about Chacarero. Yelp has virtually unqualified praise. It's packed at lunch.

I don't get it.

Been twice several months apart.

Sandwich is bland ... bland beef which manages to be tough even sliced thin, muenster (can not think of a blander cheese), string beans (texture?), guac that has a little flavor, June tomatoes (no flavor), sauce that has exactly one note - hot, on a role that seems to be the right size with a soft texture and no discernable flavor.

It pains me to have twice been that close to Sam LaGrassa’s and not gone there instead.

What is my problem? A theory: is it (relatively) healthy? Should I feel good about that?

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  1. I've never, ever had the beef. Always chicken, always w/everything on it. I'd definitely say it has flavor . . . but hey, maybe it's just not your thing? Like any place, it'll have its haters. No shame in that.

    8 Replies
    1. re: gansu girl

      Ditto. I LOVE these sandwiches, but I always get the chicken, with everything. Wouldn't dream of trying the beef. The chicken is just way too good for me to give it up, even once. :)

      1. re: twentyoystahs

        I actually prefer the beef. It's a little inconsistent (sometimes too tough), but the chicken is often too dry for my tastes. Usually when I get the combo I end up preferring the beef portion too.

        Either way, get the BBQ version

        1. re: jgg13

          Personally, I don't love the BBQ version and find the beef to be overly chewy, but I'm a huge fan of the regular chicken (w/ everything + the "super hot" yellow sauce).

          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            The beef can be one way or the other, but I usually take the chance because the chicken is dry.

            1. re: jgg13

              I've never experienced dry chicken there. When do you usually go? When I've gone, it's always been at the height of the lunch rush where they were flying through the food. Did you perhaps go in the afternoon, when some of the meat may have been sitting on the grill for a long time?

              Or maybe our definitions of what constitutes "dry" simply differ. I grew up with a stepmother who was perhaps the worst cook on earth, and who would routinely roast chicken until it was so dry that the meat became semi-translucent and strangely crunchy, so it's possible that my tolerance for dry meat is simply much higher than the norm--although I haven't tasted her creations for many years and hope that my palate has recovered at this point.

              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                I always try to avoid the lunch rush there & at lagrassas, so usually 12:45-1:15.

          2. re: jgg13

            I prefer the beef over the chicken, and I always ask for extra green beans and to cut the sandwich in half!

            1. re: JudyHP

              Extra green beans?!? I didn't realize that was negotiable. Great tip!

      2. I always get the bbq beef, which I think is marinated...and ask for extra hot sauce.

        Of course as Gansu said, maybe it's not your thing and there's no shame in that.

        5 Replies
        1. re: 9lives

          I've never been able to get them to make it as hot as I want. I started with "extra hot sauce", someone told me to say "extra extra spicy", which I did (but felt foolish doing so) but still no.

          1. re: jgg13

            I may have been the one to suggest "extra extra spicy." Now, in addition to asking for it extra spicy, I ask for an extra portion of the extra hot sauce; they now keep little plastic containers of the stuff behind the counter and provide them upon request.

            1. re: Blumie

              It very well could be you, as I heard it here ;) I'll have to remember to try to snag one of those containers. I'm not looking for a mouth searing effect, as I agree w/ the posters who say that the beauty of the sandwich is in the balance, but for my personal tastes I don't really get any heat when I'm eating it (it does leave a nice afterburn though).

              1. re: Blumie

                Went there for lunch today, inspired by this thread. I got the extra container of sauce - it brought the heat I always wanted, but I don't think I'll do it again ... seemed to throw the balance off too much towards the flavor of that sauce.

            2. re: 9lives

              I enjoy the avocado flavor and juicy beans but wish they would use a less chewy cut of beef, e.g. kalbi

            3. I had it for the first time last Friday, and chose the beef. I thought it was very tasty, though agree that the beef was tough. I would have it again, though. Really enjoyed the soft roll, and the steamed green beans.

              Part of me was wishing I'd walked the other way on Washington Street for a Bahn Mi at Lu's, but I was happy to have tried something new.

              1. I have been keeping quiet about this too. But no more!
                It's just a sandwich. A bready sandwich with, I agree, the dominant taste being hot sauce.
                It's fine, but I don't get the hype either, and having tried it once I wouldn't bother standing on the line again.

                1. "Dominant taste being hot sauce" - really? I hardly tasted any hot sauce. Mine had a more predominant garlick flavor and was only slightly spicy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                    All I get is garlic, and it lingers with me the rest of the day. I am so over the Chacarero sandwich.