All Star Sandwich Bar in Inman Square has been on my list of places to go to for well over a year. I had my first introduction to their food when chef Johnny Diamontopoulos made his vibrant and flavorful peasant Greek salad at the Harvard Farmers’ Market last summer. He returned to the market this year and made a salad of green beans, potatoes, tomato, and olives tossed in a rich dressing of feta, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar. Delicious, to say the least.
I finally had a chance to try the sandwiches when I stopped in for lunch last week. All month long All Star is showcasing global street food with a rotating selection of sandwiches inspired by the street food of countries around the world. The specials have included a Mexican torta, Greek gyro, Jamaican jerk chicken, and a Vietnamese banh mi. You can view the current list of specials, and their mouthwatering descriptions, here.
Dave loves Korean BBQ and chose the Kalbi- Korean BBQ Braised Short Ribs with Sharp Cheddar, House-Made Kim Chee, Fried Egg, Gojujang BBQ Sauce and Yuzu Wasabi Aioli on a Grilled Black Pepper Brioche Roll. The elements played beautifully off of one another, the rich, succulent BBQ sauce with the spicy crunch of the kimchi and the creamy heat from the wasabi aioli. The egg tempered the spice somewhat and another layer of texture to the sandwich.
Next up was the Tofu Pad Thai sandwich- Crispy Coconut-Panko Fried Tofu with Sauteed Spinach, Sesame Pickled Daikon Radish, Bean Sprouts, Carrots and Thai Peanut Sauce on Sourdough Toast. This one first and foremost gets points for creativity, taking a noodle dish and recreating it in sandwich form. The peanut sauce, tofu and pickled veggies closely mimicked the flavors and textures of pad thai. I was quite fond of the tang of the sourdough bread against the rich peanut sauce and coconut breading. I don’t usually love tofu, especially fried tofu, but this breading was flavorful and not all greasy. I particularly enjoyed the textural contrast of the chewy tofu and the crunchy vegetables.
Johnny highly recommended the Chicken Shawarma- Middle Eastern Marinated Grilled Chicken with Feta Cheese, Shredded Iceberg Lettuce, Fresh Mint, Citrus Yogurt, Charred Tomato- Cucumber Relish and Mango Tahini Sauce on Grilled Flat Bread. He makes a meatless version by subbing out the chicken for falafel. The falafel had a thick, crunchy outside, with a warm, crumbly interior. It’s not greasy, that pitfall of so many falafel, due to being grilled, not fried. The top is slathered with a rich mix of feta and yogurt, cool and creamy against the crunchy falafel. A touch of lemon and mint help to lighten the dense falafel and feta. I would have loved more of the mango tahini though, the feta and yogurt were much more prominent and I didn’t end up tasting much of the tahini.
I’d read multiple reviews that raved about All Star’s cornbread. Johnny ending up bringing over a dessert made with the cornbread: griddled cornbread topped with Greek yogurt and sour cream, moscato-stewed red grapes and honey. I was more than okay sampling the cornbread in this form. The slices had a delicately crisp outside and a moist, cakey interior. They were kept moist with a drizzle of honey. The yogurt and grape topping made for a wonderful sweet and tangy combination. It was such an inventive dessert and not overly sweet or decadent.
I loved All Star Sandwich for the creative and fun sandwiches that proved even more mouthwatering than their descriptions. The global street food offerings will be available for the rest of September and you can always stop by for their standard sandwiches, but really, they are anything but.
All Star Sandwich Bar
1245 Cambridge St.