Welcome back to Five Restaurants to Try This Weekend, a Friday column in which the Eater Boston team recommends, well, five restaurants (or specific dishes) to try this weekend. In each installment, we offer up a blend of old and new spots, typically including a mix of suggestions in Boston proper, Cambridge/Somerville, and farther afield. Sometimes there’s a topical theme; sometimes we just share our favorite standbys or the new places that are exciting us. Bookmark this page for updates; we add new recommendations to the top each time. Can’t hit ‘em all in one weekend? That’s what next weekend is for.
This is the fall 2018 edition; check out the summer 2018 archive here for recommendations for a last-minute weekend in Maine, fiery and funky Thai food, and dreamy pasta.
October 12, 2018: The Uncomplicated, Meaty Sandwich Edition
Some sandwich connoisseurs prefer complicated creations: toppings stacked high, multiple condiments, the works. Others seek out simplicity: good meat, good bread, and maybe just a couple well-chosen toppings. This weekend, try these five uncomplicated, meaty, and truly satisfying sandwiches that showcase their star ingredients without relying on too many extraneous garnishes.
For a taste of Western New York: Buffalo expats know the joy that is beef on weck — a roast beef sandwich (thinly sliced and rare) on a kummelweck roll (topped with caraway seeds and salt), typically served with au jus and horseradish. Fortunately the Boston area has a few restaurants that serve a faithful rendition, including All Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge, where it’s been a staple on the menu for years. On the side: All Star’s sandwiches are served with cole slaw and a pickle. You should probably also order some fries — perhaps the hell fries if you’re feeling extra spicy. 1245 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge
For North Shore nostalgia, with lots of other treats just a few steps away: Bow Market — a two-story structure packed with numerous food and retail vendors (as well as a comedy club and a brewery) — isn’t entirely open yet; some of the food vendors will debut at a later date. But it’s already jam-packed with lots to try, including a North Shore-style roast beef sandwich at Hot Box, the new venture from the sandwich experts at Mike & Patty’s. The sandwich comes in two sizes, with the “junior” served on a sesame seed roll and the “super” on an onion roll. In either case, the roll is soft and buttery, griddled just as it should be. Like the aforementioned beef on weck, the roast beef here (Niman Ranch angus) is also rare and thinly sliced, and it’s served in the traditional North Shore “three-way” style (with barbecue sauce, mayo, American cheese) or with your choice of those toppings. Nothing wrong with just plain barbecue sauce. On the side: Take the sandwich into Remnant Brewing to pair it with a beer or Rebel Rebel to pair it with a wine, and then get a macaron from Maca for dessert. 1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville
For to-die-for pastrami: Our Fathers has two halves — a takeout deli and a full-service restaurant (with a full bar). Both are great, and both serve a killer pastrami sandwich. Served on twice-baked rye and topped only with Jewish deli staple Ba-Tampte mustard, the sandwich features thick-cut, moist, flavorful pastrami that draws serious comparisons to a notable New York standard. On the side: It comes with a pickle, and if you go to the full-service restaurant side, it costs more and also comes with fries, potato salad, coleslaw, or chips. On the deli side, snag a bag of potato chips or bagel chips. 197 N. Harvard St., Allston, Boston
For a saucy meatball sub from an unassuming convenience store: Somerville’s Beacon Street, spanning from the edge of Porter Square to the edge of Inman Square, is a treasure trove of food options. Perhaps the most surprising of the options is P & K Delicatessen, an old-timey convenience store that just so happens to have one of the best deli counters around, tucked into the back. With meats sliced to order, the Italian sub is a popular pick, but it’s the meatball sub that is the true hidden gem. The key component is the sesame seed-studded roll, which strikes the perfect balance of crispiness on the outside, softness on the inside — just what you need for a saucy-but-not-soggy meatball sub. On the side: Just grab a bag of cheap potato chips; this is a convenience store, after all. 244 Beacon St., Somerville
For some of the best porchetta in town: Pennypacker’s, which has a truck and a catering operation as well as a small takeout-oriented restaurant in Somerville’s Magoun Square, serves an ever-changing array of seasonal salads, soups, and sandwiches, but some variation of a porchetta sandwich is always on the menu — and it’s a good thing it is, because it is a great sandwich, whether it’s topped with a fruity mostarda or agrodolce or something else. Crispy skin, tender pork belly and shoulder, what could be better? On the side: A small soup or salad — whatever Pennypacker’s is serving that day — plays nicely with the sandwich. There are often a few other side options as well, such as fried potatoes or pickles. 514C Medford St., Magoun Square, Somerville