The time has come, once again, to assess the state of the sandwich in Las Vegas. And things are looking up.
In the southwest, longtime neighborhood Italian favorite Cafe Chloe has expanded its operations farther south and west with the tiny new Great American Food. This place seems to have been created for catering dispatches to the many far-apart office complexes in this part of the Valley, but don’t be afraid to eat in; these sandwiches are better hot off the panini press. I’m talking about grilled chicken with prosciutto, cheddar and Calabrian chilies on toasty sourdough ($8.50) or a grilled cheese of Swiss, cheddar and Gruyere augmented with bacon and guacamole.
There are great American foods to be had here as well, half-pound burgers ($8.50) and Cobb salads ($8.50) and bacon-tomato-avocado sandwiches on crusty ciabatta rolls. But you really can’t go wrong with the Italian-American classics: homemade all-beef meatballs with mozzarella, sausage and peppers with marinara, and a serious eggplant parm also topped with the slightly sweet, fresh tomato sauce you’ll recall from Chloe (all $8.50).
You can’t have too many Italian delis, but Downtown now has something we need even more: vibrant Cajun cooking. Zydeco Po-Boys recently joined the Carson Avenue restaurant party, and it’s not to be missed. Soft, supple Leidenheimer rolls straight from New Orleans are the only acceptable foundation, and Zydeco’s got ’em. A simple turkey sandwich ($8.75) features massive slabs of moist, brined bird that taste better than turkey should. Housemade Cajun sausage with caramelized onions is like gumbo on a roll (but you should try the gumbo, too). Fried catfish ($9.75) or shrimp ($10.50) are crispy classics, but the ultimate masterpiece is the Debris Po-Boy ($8.75): meltingly tender brisket dripping in its own savory juices, dressed with lettuce, tomato, cheese and jalapeño mayo for extra kicks. As of now, this is your Vegas sandwich of the year, especially with a bag of Zapps potato chips or maybe some Creole mustard and pickle-laced potato salad.
I repeat: Things are looking up.
Great American Food 7790 S. Jones Blvd., 702-868-1448. Daily, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Zydeco Po-Boys 616 E. Carson Ave. #140, 702-982-1889. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.