Big Fat Disappointment: Fat Sal’s

Oh, Fat Sal’s, we’re not mad at you, we’re just very, very disappointed.

Fat SalsSo it is known that one of the Murlocs who Dine is fanatical about sandwiches (it’s me). So when I saw this menu I’ll admit I was looking forward to some over-the-top indulgent sandwiches. I mean look at this menu. It looks like an absolute winner. It looks gluttonous and decadent. The Yelp reviews were also encouraging – the number three spot for sandwiches in the university area.

The greatest sin is that the sandwiches have no personality. The food is completely soulless.  There is so little charm to it that it actually sucks away personality from the establishment it’s served in. What was charmingly spartan and comfortably industrial suddenly became as bland and corporate-cookie-cutter as any Starbucks.

The food isn’t bad, but it was about 25% less good than what I was expecting and 50% less awesome than I was hoping for. I suspect the large appeal of the place are its very late hours and proximity to student housing. But, as we learned from Beth’s Burger Bar, late night munchie food doesn’t have to be bad food. You just have to commit to having tasty food.

The most damning thing is this: these sandwiches are assembled out of what tasted like frozen Sysco products. The variety of toppings is not because someone loves a variety of foods and wants to see them together, it’s because they have a large catalog available and an ordering finger.

As we do, we ordered plenty of food so that we could split and sample each others orders. I ordered the Fat Texas BBQ, it was so drowned in overly sweet sauce that I couldn’t taste “pastrami brisket”. There was very little sign of grilled onions. Colin got the Fat Jerry at the recommendation of the hostess/ cashier. The egg only covered half the sandwich (I got no egg in the half he gave me). The excess of sauce made the “crisp bacon” not so crispy. The chicken fingers on our respective sandwiches could have been found in a frozen Stouffer’s Chicken Parmesan. The bread was pretty okay. But the sandwiches were very one note with no variation in texture or flavor. And that single note for both sandwiches was “sweet” (the “honey BBQ” is at least kissing cousins with KC Masterpiece).

A very good start

We also got the pizza fries. Fries topped with scads of mozzarella (a good start), pepperoni, and marinara sauce. The pepperoni was lunch meat slices of pepperoni and the marinara sauce . . . . again, Stouffer’s Chicken Parm comes to mind. It was too sweet and incredibly watery. The poor fries never stood a chance against their watery doom. I’m pretty sure I heard one of them cry out “Never let go Rose!” as it dissolved into a limp, starchy mess.

The presentation of the food was awful. Again, it could have been kinda quirky – an aggressive blue-collar sensibility of “here’s your food, enjoy it on its own merits and see if I give a shit about plating”, but that only works if your food is good.

It could have been good. This could have been really good food, and that’s why I’m so irked by this experience. The other reason I’m irked is the price. The food sells itself on the gluttonous promise of overindulgence on all your favorite junky bar foods, and then you unwrap a half-filled hoagie roll. But for the same $10 you can get something really, really good somewhere else.

So that’s why I’m disappointed.