Welcome back to Food Crawls, a series in which Eater Boston staffers guide you on food and booze crawls in the Boston area. When we go out, we often want to try more than one restaurant or bar at a time — a drink and a snack here, another drink and dessert there. Eater Boston crawls are meant to be relatively walkable, and the amount of food and drink is meant to correspond roughly to a couple of average appetites — so bring a friend. Email us if there’s a particular theme, dish, drink, or neighborhood you’d like to see covered in a future installment.
Too much of Downtown Crossing’s dining scene can be described as an unholy union of mediocre tourist traps and soulless cafeterias catering to the business casual lunch crowd. One thing Downtown Crossing does well, however, is the humble sandwich. Three joints spring immediately to mind: Sam LaGrassa’s, Archie’s New York Deli, and Chacarero. While all three certainly qualify as restaurants that cater to the business casual lunch crowd — none of the restaurants is open later than 6 p.m., and each is closed on the weekends — none could be correctly described as soulless.
Before embarking on this crawl, convince two friends or hungry co-workers to join — splitting three sandwiches between three people is probably a better idea in the middle of a work day than eating three sandwiches by oneself, after all.
Stats for this food crawl:
- Total stops: 3
- Sandwiches containing beef eaten: 3
- Ounces of sweat lost to meat sweats: Incalculable ounces
The Food Artist at Archie’s New York Deli
101 Arch St., Boston, MA 02110
This is perhaps the best sandwich name in the history of sandwich names, even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. (If Archie’s is trying to convey the sentiment that this sandwich is a work of art — which it is — it shouldn’t refer to the sandwich as the artist, but rather as the art. In this case, the sandwich maker is the food artist. A better name is “Food Art.”) Corned beef, turkey, cole slaw, and Russian dressing on pumpernickel. Perfect.
Archie’s also serves a hell of an egg sandwich — unlike the other spots on this crawl, it opens at 6 a.m. and serves breakfast — and a hell of a grilled corn muffin.
Pastrami and Corned Beef Combo at Sam LaGrassa’s
44 Province St., Downtown Crossing, Boston, MA 02108
Sam LaGrassa’s is a tourist trap; Sam LaGrassa’s is one of the best sandwich shops in the city. Try to hold these two opposing things in your brain at once. The pastrami and the corned beef are excellent at LaGrassa’s, so instead of having a meltdown trying to decide between the two, opt for the combination. It’s served with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and cole slaw on rye. Eat it with a side of pickles. (The chicken parm, pictured up at the top of this crawl, is also a solid option if you don’t want two corned beef sandwiches in a row.)
Chacarero at Chacarero
101 Arch St., Boston, MA 02110
The chacarero from Chacarero is the best sandwich in the city. This Chilean sandwich consists of grilled steak or chicken (or both — get both!), fresh tomatoes, steamed green beans, a slice of Muenster, avocado spread, salt, and pepper, and it’s all stuffed into a soft, round roll freshly baked on site each morning. The line will be long; you will wait in it; you will be overjoyed.