Sub’r Bowl Review: Blimpie

[NOTE: This blog posting is very belated, and it is significantly shorter than the other Sub’r Bowl posts.]

This week’s sub shop in the Sub’r Bowl is Blimpie, which you might find in anywhere from a franchise store in New York City to a Hess gas station in Florida. Blimpie rounds out the National Chain, over 1000 Locations Division, as well as the Sub’r Bowl itself!

Blimpie offers pretty much the same sort of fare you find at Subway. They change it up by offering it on different kinds of bread, as well as offering giant party subs. The price, quality and overall taste were pretty much the same, though, so Blimpie isn’t a standout in any respect.

As usual I ordered an Italian sub, which I could customize with the different toppings they had available. While the topping bar wasn’t quite as extensive as Subway, they had everything I would ever want on a sub. The combo was the usual chips and a drink, so there was nothing special there.

The sandwich tasted pretty good, but it was very middle-of-the-road compared to the top contenders we’d already experienced. The bread was the only thing that made it better than Subway, but I don’t think I’m going to go out of my way to find a Blimpie solely for the bread. Blimpie is solely a franchise affair, with no company owned stores, so the experience is going to vary from store to store. While the experience did not compare favorably to a New York City Blimpie for Greg, I found it fairly comparable to my past experiences with the chain.

I rated the following categories:

  • Bread: 6
  • Sandwich Stuff: 3
  • Price/Value: 6
  • Non-sandwich Stuff: 3
  • Bonus points: 0
  • Total: 18 points

It’s hard to believe we’ve visited 16 sub shops and rated them all. It’s been a fun experience, not just from visiting the stores, but from the enjoyment of taking a break each week for a bit of fun discussing the nonsense of why one particular sub is better than another. We’re going to try to have a playoff to find out who’s the best, and when we do I’ll post the results!

See also: Greg’s Review

Sub’r Bowl Review: Main Street Pizza

It comes as a surprise to all of us participating in the Sub’r Bowl that the Local Pizza Shop Division has had the tightest scoring of highly rated sandwiches. We now come to our final contender in the division, Main Street Pizza, and it doesn’t disappoint. Two trips were required to fit the participant’s schedules, and I was fortunate enough to go both times.

I had been to Main Street Pizza a few times in the past, but each time I had only eaten the pizza and not any of their sandwiches. I’m glad I have had this opportunity to correct that oversight, because their sandwiches are something special. My first time around I ordered the Main St. Cold Cuts sandwich, as it was most like a traditional sub and therefore more easily rated against the other contenders. The second time I opted for the Meatball & Cheese.

First of all, you can order a sandwich on either focaccia or on a 9″ roll. Word of advice: Get the focaccia! It’s about 1/6 of a large round focaccia bread dressed with butter and herbs, and it’s just a delight to eat. It’s both crispy and chewy with a flavor that leaves you wanting more. While it’s not a traditional sub roll (you can still order and sub on a larger 9″ roll), it’s the way you’ll wish everyone served subs. Yes, it’s that good.

The insides were no slouch either. For the cold cuts sub, while there wasn’t any traditional Italian meats present as in the Italian subs we’ve had in the past, it was still a nice combination of salty cuts (ham, salami and turkey) with a very strong representation of provolone cheese. Top that with just the right amount of lettuce and tomatoes, mayo and Italian dressing, and you’ve got a sandwich that tweaks your salivary glands in that way that’s almost painful but totally pleasurable at the same time.

The meats were not top quality, but that didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the sub. I personally would have enjoyed having some traditional Italian cured meats rather than the deli cuts, but I think this is only a minor criticism that wouldn’t be levied had the sandwich been considered in a vacuum. However, as this is the Sub’r Bowl, there is some competition from those who used top Italian cuts.

The second visit to Main Street Pizza to accommodate Greg’s schedule allowed me to try the Meatball & Cheese sub, again on focaccia. It was meaty, melty, gooey and savory, ranking among the best meatball subs I’ve had. Unfortunately it was a little difficult to eat, because the focaccia was a little too toasted on the outside, no doubt from melting the cheese in the sandwich. Nobody else who ordered a hot sub seemed to have that problem, so I suspect I was just a little unlucky on my draw. And lucky for Main Street Pizza that the sandwich did not figure into the rating.

Main Street Pizza offers plenty of appetizers and salads, not to mention pasta and pizza, which could easily stand in as side dishes. Even the personal 9″ pizza was only $3, and which one of us could leave a pizza shop without eating a slice? The personal pizza was obviously hand formed and cut, which really gave it a more personal touch. The first visit I ordered a plain cheese pizza, and the sauce had a wonderful flavor that allowed the tomatoes to shine. The second visit I shared a couple of slices of pepperoni with Greg, and I have to say that I enjoyed the first pizza more without the salty meat. One of these days when I’m feeling spendy, I’ll have to try the White Pizza.

The drinks available were sweet and unsweet teas and soda, however the tea is open and refillable while the soda is not. I didn’t really look at what kinds of soda were available, as I opted for tea both times. There’s not much to say about the tea other than it was, well, tea. It was nice to have both sweet and unsweet choices, as I’m a half and half kind of tea drinker.

I rated the following categories:

  • Bread: 7
  • Sandwich Stuff: 6
  • Price/Value: 3
  • Non-sandwich Stuff: 3
  • Bonus points: 2
  • Total: 21 points

Once again, another outstanding showing from the Pizza Shop Division. For me, this puts Main Street Pizza in a tie for first place with Florio’s Pizza. It will be interesting to see how the group scores the contenders in this division, as most produced top notch sandwiches. If my willingness to visit the same place twice in one week is any indication, I would love to see Main Street Pizza in the finals.

See Also:
Greg’s Review

Sub’r Bowl Review: Jason’s Deli

Jason’s Deli was a popular choice when we first decided on the Sub’r Bowl contender list. I’m not sure why that is, since, to my knowledge, Jason’s Deli doesn’t actually advertize or sell subs on their menu. Well, that’s not entirely true, as they do have a couple of items under a “Subs” section on their menu; but it didn’t look promising, and I was expecting very little.

At the store where we went there were only three choices on the subs menu: the Deli Cowboy, the Beefeater, and the Sergeant Pepper. I suppose technically you could order anything you like on the bread of your choice since it is, after all, a deli. However, the closest thing to a sub roll is their “New Orleans French bread.” Anyway, we didn’t go to rate a sandwich that we came up with but rather what Jason’s Deli was offering to us as their “specialty.” Unfortunately their specialty sandwiches do not include a sub, so I ended up ordering the Sergeant Pepper.

In a somewhat similar outcome to our trip to Firehouse Subs, what we got was far worse than what was expected. You may remember what Thumper’s father told him. I guess a double negative means I that have to say something, as this is, after all, a review.

Bread: Bland. Roast beef: Tasteless. Au jus: Black salty water. Side: Imitation Ruffles spread on the plate. Verdict: Terrible. Quite frankly, the only thing that made the sandwich edible was the sweetness from the peppers, which kept falling out of the roll. So, the sandwich wasn’t a total zero, but it was near the bottom of what I would consider eating again.

Unlike Firehouse, I didn’t find the food to be completely inedible, just thoroughly unenjoyable. I felt full when I left, but not satisfied. I may have been nourished, but I’m not a doctor. And there really isn’t anything more to say about Jason’s Deli.

I rated the following categories:

  • Bread: 3
  • Sandwich Stuff: 3
  • Price/Value: 3
  • Non-sandwich Stuff: 0
  • Bonus points: 0
  • Total: 9 points

I could have rated this 0 across the board, but compared to other outings (specifically Firehouse Subs) it just didn’t seem warranted. I didn’t leave feeling angry, just extremely disappointed. Jason’s Deli serves mass produced consumables designed to be bought cheaply in bulk for poor unfortunates trapped in corporate meetings during lunch. To end this on a positive note, at least the box lunches come with a cookie.

See Also:
Greg’s Review