There’s a trio of burger locations in the East Tropicana area of town that are kind of lumped together as classic, ‘must have’ places to try. I have already visited and been pleasantly surprised by The Dispensary Lounge and The Badger Café, it was only a matter of time before I visited Sammy’s LA Pastrami & Burgers. I’ve received plenty of comments on the three, and have equally read plenty about them on the internet. So after finally closing out the set, how does Sammy’s stack up with the rest?
Sammy’s has two locations in town, the aforementioned East Side location, and another on the west side of town also near Tropicana. Both locations are basically small shacks, and I was completely surprised to discover that there was actual seating inside the building for customers. The menu has a large amount of completely unhealthy-sounding items like sandwiches, fries, burgers and hot dogs all with an insane amount of toppings you may not expect or just question how they would all fit. This is definitely not the place to visit if you want just a plain burger and fries, as this is clearly not their approach. Kind of reminded me of Rambo’s Kitchen actually.
After much deliberation I decided to go with the steak burger: a single patty topped with ribeye steak, grilled onion, bacon, provolone cheese and steak sauce. What came out was just as expected: huge and messy. For such an insanely complicated burger and toppings, the bun is surprisingly well proportioned. It was grilled and crispy, yet soft and gooey inside and very tasty. The steak had good flavor, but the Worcestershire-like steak sauce became far too overpowering about halfway through. The onions and cheese were ok, but not too noticeable in all of the meat flavors. The bacon was a bit too hard; it had ok flavor but again was lost with everything else. The actual burger patty had very generic beef flavor and was very dry. You’re clearly getting this for the novelty and toppings, and not the patty unlike Sammy’s two local rivals which really thrived on the quality of their meat. While some people may like a giant, messy burger with too many toppings, I prefer something a little simpler and dare I say, healthier than this offering. While the flavors were all good, it was a bit much.
The garlic romano fries were decent; the heaps of seasonings on my skinny fries were enough to make my hands even filthier than they already were from the overly sloppy burger. They were good for a while, but by the end when they got cold they weren’t really the same. And believe me, even the small is more than enough for one person, and if you’re eating them with a burger you won’t give them the proper attention while you’re trying to handle all your toppings.
My next issue is the cost; sure you’re getting quite the serving size and an excessive amount of toppings, but my meal came to $14.78 with burger, fries and drink. If you’re strictly comparing this to the other two from this grouping, it’s more than double the cost and not in the running. Even not comparing this to the other two, I’m not sure if I would pay this much just because there’s too much going on for me. Maybe I’m too much of a burger purist? I like a quality burger, not an attraction with insane toppings, and that’s exactly what you get here. If you’re into extravagant toppings, by all means visit Sammy’s, but if you’re looking for just a quality burger at an amazing price, either The Dispensary Lounge or The Badger Café are your best bets in this grouping.