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All Star Sandwich Bar

1245 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA - (617) 868-3065
Posted By Michael Stern on March 20, 2008 10:12 PM
"Wrap free since 2006" proclaims the menu at this happy restaurant where traditional sandwiches reign. Opened by prodigious chef and writer Chris Schlesinger and his partner Jim Economides in the fall of 2006, it is a casual shop dedicated not to culinary ingenuity, but to classics from all around America. These include a masterful beef on Weck (from Buffalo), a Cubano, a Muffaletta, and such daily specials as Tuesday's Texas Reuben (that's a Reuben made with smoked brisket), Wednesday's Pastraminator, and Saturday's Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown, the last of which is listed on the menu with a warning about the heat of the "Inner Beauty" hot sauce with which it is dressed.

In addition to regional and all American sandwiches, there are grilled Pearl hot dogs, hamburgers (after 3pm), a few salads, and "Texas State Pen Chili" served with cornbread. Available sides include a big dill pickle, sweet pickles, sweet and sour slaw, German potato salad, and excellent French fries. The fries can be had plain or topped with gravy, cheese, or chili and cheese.

The place was packed the day I came for lunch, and that's usually the way it is – a fact that makes me happy for two reasons: the well-executed mission here deserves success; and it makes me particularly glad that the current Stern book on store shelves is "Roadfood Sandwiches," which includes All Star's recipe for Muffaletta olive salad.
5 star rating
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Posted By Bill Homan on September 10, 2007 1:39 PM
I was very excited upon reading the review on for the All-Star Sandwich Bar. I had always wanted to open or at the very least frequent a place such as this, but none existed until now. The idea of taking classic regional sandwiches and serving them all in one place with a slight twist is very inspired.

I was really craving the muffaletta-inspired sandwich, but the waitress said they were all out of the scali bread. This place is big on pairing different breads to match with the sandwiches, so I opted for The Rachel instead, with a side of German potato salad. This hefty sandwich consists of turkey, swiss, Russian dressing and cider slaw on grilled sourdough bread. The choice of bread is key. The sourdough is perfectly grilled: crisp, yet retaining a wonderful chewiness, and it holds up well under the generous amount of warm, dripping filling. The moist turkey, crunchy slaw, melted Swiss, and tangy dressing makes for a delicious mess that requires more than a few napkins. It also comes with a side of creamy slaw which doesn't seem necessary, but is crunchy and delicious nonetheless. The German potato salad is a nice counterpoint to the sandwich, bacony and cool, although it could use more vinegar and mustard.

My friend had the steak tip sandwich, which he said was one of the best he'd had. He remarked on the the flavor of the meat; whatever it had been marinated in gave it an amazing flavor. He said the fries were pretty good, but that I really needed to try the side of green beans. I think they had been sauteed with bacon and shallots. They were perfectly cooked and the flavor was very satisfying.

When we walked in, they had gratis pretzel rods and Oreos in glass jars on the counter for the taking; help yourself. A nice touch. The service and the staff there couldn't have been better. And they even serve Arnold Palmers (half iced tea/half lemonade). They have a few dessert items, but I'd recommend saving room for the always inspired Christina's ice cream next door.
5 star rating
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