Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Lucky's Sandwich Company
In my never-ending quest to utilize my frequent Cubs tickets as an excuse to explore the dining minutiae of Wrigleyville, I stopped in at a relatively new joint for dinner before first pitch at a recent evening game. Lucky's Sandwich Company popped up on my radar screen when the family on one of my greeter tours mentioned that they had to try it while in town because "it had been featured on Man vs. Food". Now, I don't usually rely on that show as my most reputable measure of approval (if you haven't ever seen it, the places that the host, Adam Richman, visits all have some sort of mega-eating gimmick), but given that one of its two locations is close to the ballpark (3472 N. Clark) and their showcase menu items are sandwiches piled high with meat, cheese, fries, AND cole slaw (a la Pittsburgh's Primanti Bros., the originator of this sandwich style, allegedly devised so that truckers could eat the whole meal with a single hand while driving), I made a mental note to try it sometime this season.
When I arrived at Lucky's about an hour prior to gametime, I found a small bar/restaurant styled in the faux rustic manner now most commonly found all around the ballpark (What happened to the Mongolian bbq place? Where are the sushi bars of my 2002?) packed with Cubs fans, most of whom looked to be in for a long night of drinking. I squeezed into a single seat at the corner of the bar and placed my order, a pastrami and cheese with a complimentary glass of Chicago's finest tap water. The sandwich arrived as advertised (see above), a monster in a basket. Napkins in tow, I proceeded to eat about 3/4 of the thing before calling it quits. Quality-wise, it wasn't the worst sandwich I'd ever had and the price (only $7.50) was certainly right, especially for this neighborhood. The fries weren't bad (although I doubt they were hand-cut in the little kitchen, given the daily volume they must go through) and the slaw had a nice crunch/tang to it. My two main complaints were 1) they sure didn't use much meat and 2) the bread was just plain white, a little thicker than your average supermarket loaf, but really nothing special. After doing a little post-meal analysis on the web, I saw some pictures of comparable Primanti Bros. sandwiches that appeared to have similar meat mass/bread type, yet I recall its version (from my one and only encounter with it in 2008) to be much more satisfying. Could it be that the 70+ years of practice in Pittsburgh results in a better product? Higher-quality ingredients? The answer may be one or both of these things. In any case, I wouldn't recommend Lucky's outright for a meal, but I could see myself returning with a group of friends for a late night snack to soak up some excess beer....