Last Sunday was officially get caught up and re-evaluate our sandwich mission day. We spent 3 long hours figuring out the nitty-gritty details of facebook and twitter as well as examining our big picture goals and considering the fairest, most efficient way of rating the sandwiches. After all, what is the point of being on a sandwich quest if you don’t get to actually enjoy all of the sandwiches?? So, in the interest of simplicity we have re-vamped our sandwich ratings to the Save Our Sandwich (SOS) scale. We each gave each sandwich a score out of 10, and each also gave Overall atmosphere and Sides scores out of 10. We thought this would be easier, and would not skew individual sandwich scores just because we either liked or didn’t like the place. Plus it is funny (see Brian’s Challenge)! We may have been a little giddy at this point…
All of this writing, discussing, and web designing eventually left us a bit peckish, so off we went again in an attempt to find Greensboro’s greatest sandwiches. This time, we chose one of Lisa’s favorites, Grey’s Tavern (eventually we WILL make it outside of downtown Greensboro – promise!). Based on an excellent suggestion from guest judge Brian’s mom, we only ordered two sandwiches at a time so that we wouldn’t have to rush through any. Our waitress (who was dressed in a MOST casual way) was very accommodating and even had the sandwiches cut into quarters for us, rather than just bringing us a knife.
The first two sandwiches we ordered were the Steak and Cheese and the Southwest Club. Joe is a die-hard steak and cheese fan and generally tries it wherever he goes. Lisa loves Grey’s specifically for the Southwest Club and orders it almost to the exclusion of everything else on the menu, so needless to say, expectations were high.
Steak and Cheese:
First off, the steak and cheese sub came nicely wrapped in foil, which kept it warm as well as kept it from falling apart. It didn’t add much to the aesthetics of the sandwich but was certainly functional – especially considering it was cut into four small-ish pieces. We all agreed that the sandwich was a bit sweeter than perhaps it should be, but it was still a solidly good sandwich. Joe liked it the best, giving it an 8.5. Brian and Lisa both agreed that although they weren’t crazy about it at first bite, it did grown on them as they ate. Brian gave it an 8, and his only complaint was that it could be a touch more moist, but that he would definitely order it again. Lisa thought it was different and definitely not what she was expecting for a steak and cheese and gave it a 7.5; her only complaints were that in terms of construction it needed rearranging to get good, full bites out of it and could be a little less sweet. Sylvia gave it the lowest score of a 7 (which really isn’t bad at all, considering she would rather not have meat at all!). She liked the bread and thought it held the sandwich together well, but thought that there was too much mayo for her taste, which Lisa agreed with. Overall, this sandwich was a solid choice, and slightly different than the standard steak and cheese, which means you may or may not love it. Still, it is a sandwich worth giving a try.
Overall average score: 7.8/10
The Southwest Club
This sandwich combines the classic club ingredients of turkey and bacon with guacamole and chipotle mayo. Lisa would like to be honest and say that this sandwich is the reason she goes to Grey’s and also the primary reason that Grey’s was on our sandwich quest list. Accordingly, she gave it a 9 out of 10. It may not be the best sandwich in Greensboro, but it is still damn good. Brian agreed, also giving it a 9, saying that it was salty in a good way, and might just be a contender! The two of them thought that the flavors blended well together, and that the guacamole really complemented the flavors of the bacon and turkey. The bread was perfectly toasted and held the sandwich together nicely. Sylvia loved the guacamole and wished that there were more of it. However, she thought that there was too much meat on it, although she did agree that the bacon was perfectly crunchy, which gave the sandwich a nice texture. Overall, she gave it an overall score of 7.5. Joe said that it was not bad, but just not what he wants in a sandwich, and gave it a 7.
Overall average: 8.1/10
Our second round of sandwiches were two chosen based mostly on creativity and high hopes. These two were the Must Have and the Day After. They ended up not meeting our high expectations, but both had definite potential and we hope that Grey’s will continue to improve them. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of these sandwiches, since we forgot in our sandwich zeal to take them for the second round – our apologies!
The Must Have
We picked this sandwich because it sounded different, and our waitress said that it was a favorite of hers. It certainly sounded promising, including grilled green apples, sautéed spinach, turkey, ham, grilled onions, Swiss cheese, and honey mustard on toasted rye. However, this was just one of those sandwiches that is loaded with potential that is left unreached. Although the ingredients sounded like a great combination, the end result was that there was just too much going on. It was very messy and all of the liquid in the ingredients meant that the bread very quickly began to fall apart and get soggy, despite eating it right as it came out. The apples were good, but were cut too large for the sandwich to contain them. None of us could taste individual ingredients, and the blend of what we could taste was just rather strange and rather muddled. The other general complaint we agreed on is that none of us could really taste the meat at all, just a mess of different flavors. We all gave it a score of 6 out of 10, except Brian who gave it a 5.5. So despite a promising description and a good idea, this sandwich needs some tweaking to make it anything great.
Overall average score: 5.9/10
The Day After
This sandwich is modeled on the idea of a Thanksgiving turkey left-over sandwich, and as such, should have been fantastic! However, it ended up being another sandwich with great potential that just doesn’t work as well as it should. (Side note – Lisa has broken her Southwest Club tradition and ordered this sandwich in the past and warned the others about the outcome, but it was determined that it needed to be tried anyway.) The greatest problem with this sandwich is that the flavors are just not balanced. The cranberry flavor overwhelms the rest of the sandwich: the turkey is barely noticeable (a sin for a day after Thanksgiving sandwich!) and the cheddar and toasted pecans have no real purpose, as you can’t taste them anyway. In Sylvia’s words, “why add empty and unnecessary calories if they don’t add anything to the sandwich?” giving it a score of 6. We all agreed that there was too much cranberry, and that the sandwich needed something – maybe gravy – to give it some added flavor and moisture. Joe gave this sandwich a 7, saying that it was dry and needed something else, noting that he would not order it again. Brian and Lisa both gave the sandwich a 6.5; Brian commented that this sandwich had enormous potential and was “almost there, but missed the mark.” This comment seemed to sum up all of our thoughts about this sandwich – close, and could be great, but not quite there. I guess we needed a side of gravy…
Overall average score: 6.5/10
Grey’s has wonderful, thick cut fries that are well-seasoned and cooked to a nice crisp. Joe and Sylvia both ordered side salads, which were surprisingly good! Many bar/pub type restaurants have salads that are just a pile of (hopefully not iceberg) lettuce and a tomato or two. But Grey’s salads were actually good – they had good lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. However, Sylvia did complain that their house dressing was too oily and lacked flavor, although she is also notorious for bringing her own dressing to restaurants. That being said, it may be worth sticking to other dressings.
The standout feature of Grey’s was that not one sandwich landed on our Wall of Shame! Although the Must Have and the Day After both had issues and we were not crazy about either one of them, we all felt that these sandwiches were creative, had great potential, and just needed some tweaking to make them better. Grey’s may not have the wonderful atmosphere of M’Coul’s or Natty’s, but it is definitely a good choice for downtown sandwich eating. It lacks an outdoor seating area, can be crowded, and also tends to be very cold inside, therefore we gave the overall atmosphere a score of 6.5 out of 10.
There are many more interesting sounding sandwiches on their menu that we did not try, and may very well be excellent. So far, Grey’s wins on creativity, if not overall atmosphere, even if some of their sandwiches do need some work on execution. And who knows, they might just have another gem that we didn’t try!