I remember hearing about All Star Sandwich Bar when Chris Schlesinger, of East Coast Grill fame, opened it back in 2006. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I finally walked through the doors to this casual sandwich bar in Inman Square. Now, owners/brothers Kosta and Johnny Diamantopoulos are serving up incredible sandwich after incredible sandwich. It was February 26th when I walked into the restaurant for my first of two sandwiches, an Extra Funky.
In addition to the sandwiches served up from the regular menu, All Star has daily sandwich specials. One of those daily specials is the Extra Funky Sandwich which on February 26th was jerk grilled chicken with jack cheese, sliced pineapple, chayote slaw, and mango habanero bbq sauce on sourdough. Grilled on a flattop and served with a homemade coleslaw of finely sliced cabbage and carrot. The chicken was grilled perfectly and was incredibly juicy; the sliced pineapple complimented the sweet and spicy bbq sauce, and the chayote slaw added great texture. For my very first All Star Sandwich, this was a winner!
I also ordered a plate of Hell Fries; a huge plate of hand-cut french fries dusted with cayenne and doused in Inner Beauty Hot Sauce. The fries were fresh and crispy, sweet and spicy, and really really good. Garnished with cilantro, the single order is easily enough four people, I think I ate half of my plate nearly inducing instant food coma. Fortunately I had a glass of their fresh squeezed lemonade, refilled once by the friendly staff while I sat and enjoyed my lunch (more on the staff later.)
After my first great sandwich at All Star, I was prepared to write my review. Hold on you might be saying, for one of the most common complaints that professional food critics and restaurant owners alike have about food bloggers is that they/we write reviews after trying a place only once. I'm certainly guilty of writing reviews after only one visit, but I will never write a bad review after only one visit. I would have had no guilt posting a rave review of All Star Sandwich Bar after only one visit, but I went back and I'm glad I did. Without my second visit, I would never have known that they have table service.
During my first visit to All Star Sandwich Bar, I ordered from the take-out counter. I didn't know it was the take-out counter at the time, I just thought it was where you placed your order whether you decide to eat in or take your food away. So when I sat down to enjoy my Extra Funky sandwich and plate of hell fries, I thought I was just getting good service when asked if I wanted a refill on my lemonade. My ignorance also explains why one of the kitchen staff asked if I was eating in with a bit of surprised tone, "Oh! You're eating in?" It might also explain why my french fries were in what appeared to be a to-go container. But I digress.
So, yes, All Star Sandwich Bar has table service AND a take-out counter. On my second visit, I sat at a table and received exceptional service. As for what to eat, it was an easy decision. After tweeting about my great lunch in February, All Star picked up my feed and commented on their Facebook fan page.
So of course I ordered the Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown. Best meatloaf sandwich I've ever had, and I have had a few in my days on this planet. The Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown sandwich is a thick slice of grilled meatloaf with jack cheese, Inner Beauty Hot Sauce and red onion jam on grilled sourdough bread. The meatloaf was juicy and firm, like a good meatloaf should be, and full of delicious, grilled meaty flavor. The Inner Beauty hot sauce, if you've never had it, is a spicy hot sauce made from a combination of scotch bonnet peppers (HOT!), yellow mustard, orange, papaya and pineapple juices, and some other tasty stuff - created and bottled by the aforementioned chef Chris Schlesinger. The red onion jam added a nice sweetness to balance out the spice. I didn't think that this was too hot, actually, I was hoping for some more heat. With a name like "Atomic" I expect it to be hot. In an email exchange with owner Kosta, he explained that not everyone loves the heat like I do, and next time I should ask for extra sauce. Fair enough.
Two visits, two great sandwiches. Great service, great creativity. All Star Sandwich Bar is a winner and I am going to do everything I can to eat my way through the menu. I know that will be difficult with daily specials changing, well, daily, but my stomach is begging me to try. With muffalatas, cubanos, gobblers and BLTs on the regular menu, I might need some help deciding what to eat next! In addition to the great sandwiches, they offer soups, salads and an assortment of sides including poutine and hush puppies. All Star Sandwich Bar also sells beer and wine, including Narragansett tall boys!
All Star Sandwich Bar
1245 Cambridge Street