Late to the party at All Star Sandwich Bar, or “Disappointment between two slices of whole wheat”

In a renewed quest for new eateries the bf and I hit up All Star Sandwich Bar (1245 Cambridge St) in Inman next to Christina’s. Sadly, apparently we were somewhat late to the party on this one. The original incarnation, which opened in the fall of 2007, seems to have gotten pretty good reviews, but its owner, Chris Schlesinger of East Coast Grill fame, sold it last year. Perusing the reviews on ye olde Yelp it seems the food didn’t completely survive the transition. From my experience I can say that the veggie sandwich was easily the blandest, most tasteless (as in “lacking in taste”, although I suppose that as an affront to my delicate vegetarian sensibilities the latter sense applies as well) sandwich I’ve had in a very long while (although in all fairness I should point out that Nadeau’s original review in The Phoenix does note the mediocre vegetarian offerings). A’s chili wasn’t nearly as spicy as advertised and really more like a beef stew (not to mention served nice and cold), and it was accompanied by some lovely slightly stale cornbread, note the double shot o’ sarcasm.

But worse than that the service was lousy, lousy, lousy. Not only was one of the waiters snippy to us, but our waiter took the orders of two couples who came in after us which made the long wait for our food even longer; he completely forgot our side order as well. We didn’t have the heart to explain the poor tip we left since we’re not planning on going back there ever again, but it is somewhat reassuring to read that lackadaisical service also seems to be a common theme pre- and post-Schlesinger (more post) according to the collective consciousness that is the reviewers on Yelp.

The sad thing about the place is that on first glance it has a New York sort of feel (quickly dispelled, however, on closer acquaintance) which got our hopes up. My cynicism regarding restaurants in Boston seems to be growing daily …

5 responses to “Late to the party at All Star Sandwich Bar, or “Disappointment between two slices of whole wheat”

  1. We went in Dec 2006, when it was still in the hands of Schlesinger. Service was so bad that it was actually laughable, and the food wasn’t worth the price. Never went back, never will.

  2. All Star can be very inconsistent – they have been ever since their opening. I don’t think that has changed. In fact, I have found they seem a bit better now, at least in terms of service.

    I take-out from there with some regularity and have found the food is excellent 8 out of 10 times. On those other 2 times, I have explained the problems (forgotten sauce, sloppy sandwich) and the staff has always been accommodating.

    In terms of table service, on several occasions I’ve had lunch there with my four year old daughter and usually another parent and their child. I’ve found them to be quite good.

    None of this undoes your experience, but it is possible you caught a bad day.

    If you find you can not go back, I suggest that you not write off Inman entirely – have you tried the take-out at Olecito? Fantastic!

  3. I had revolting service, too, when I was last there – I won’t be going back.

  4. I honestly disagree with anyone who trashes this place, and to be frank, am having difficulty understanding how some ppl can say All Star is anything less than, possibly, on of the best spots in all of Boston. The sandwiches are absolutely incredible, awesome, fantastic and whatever other adjectives describe GREAT. Regarding service, I’ve been there over 50 times since they opened, and sure, every once in a while your server might not be on top of his/her game, but its almost alway been great. Lets not forget that its a SANDWICH BAR, not a 5 star restuarant. The servers are always attentive and willing to make whatever changes we may ask for on the chef’s specials. Honestly, what else do we want other than to get the food we ask for and in a timely fashion>???? I’ve always left there totally satisfied.

    Regarding the “ownership change”, I laugh at ppl that think the restaurant has lost any quality…as I said before, I’ve frequented all star since they opened, and if you had too you’d realize the quality has improved 100%. The food is definately more creative and tastier, the service is the same, but most important the place feels livelier (sp??) and happier.

    I guess we all have our own opinions, but lets not forget that All Star gives us great food and drink for less than $20, and in this economy, thats a welcome sight.


  5. Pingback: Late to the party at All Star Sandwich Bar, or “Disappointment … « Great Chefs

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