Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chowing down at Los Compadres

UPDATE: Las Compadres has since closed.
If you don't mind the smell of rendered animal wafting from the nearby National By-Products plant, go visit Los Compadres at the corner of Maury and S.E. 15th for a brew and unhealthy portions of workingmen's food.

I traversed over the S.E. 14th viaduct on a cool, sunny afternoon, following the scent of death from the rendering plant, until I came upon the sky blue painted confines of Los Compadres. I had seen a few compliments about their grinder sandwiches, and I was wont of one.

Moseying up to the bar I requested a mini-pitcher of Fat Tire, begged off a menu, and resolutely asked for the big-ass grinder.

Big-ass indeed. Served up on what I suspected was half a loaf of Rotella bread, I reckoned I was staring down at a three-pound sandwich. In comparison, the crispy fries on the side seemed more like mere garnish for the plate.
Definitely more beef than sausage, possibly all ground beef heavily doctored with paprika. This would make a fine loose meat sandwich for a hamburger bun, but lacks that certain flavor you would expect from an Italian grinder.

There is no doubt of the presence of paprika, I'm just not picking up much of anything else, other than ground beef. If you have a mindset of how Italian sausage tastes, this is likely not it. Especially if you are a fan of Graziano's.

That said, good grinders can be made with a combo of sausage and beef. The Gizmo served at the Iowa State Fair is a prime example of a perfect marriage of meats without losing the essence of well made Italian sausage.

The onions and peppers were chopped and uncooked. A nice crunch to go with all the meat, possibly intentional. I'd prefer them roughly chopped and cooked either as a garnish, or in with the meat mixture.

A more traditional grinder in a bar setting would be the sandwich that Z's Bar & Grill builds. Z's is on Jackson across from Graziano's. It's a good grinder, but best served when it is cooked fresh, rather than heated up by the night shift.

I will say that this is a sandwich for people who work hard. Meat and cheese are not lacking, and I do applaud it. To behold it makes one lightheaded and giddy.

I tried it. I'm glad I did, but I'll likely not do a repeat. If in the neighborhood I would go around the corner to La Pizza House and give them a go, or travel a bit further to Z's.

Los Compadres on Urbanspoon Photos from the Picasa Web Album: A trip to Los Compadres

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