Fat Sal’s Brings a Bit of Rutgers Grease to Westwood
As you may or may not know I am a big fan of putting fries on gyros, on falafel sandwiches, or in burritos. So it’s not to hard to imagine that I would also like a sandwich with… say… onion rings on top. Makes sense, right? And if I liked french fries and onion rings on a sandwich, it would also stand to reason that chicken fingers or mozzarella sticks would also be a welcome addition. I didn’t lose you did I? Because that’s precisely what you get at the grease trucks, a Rutgers institution that has been serving up over the top, appetizer-samplers-as-a-gigantic-sandwich for almost 15 years. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to know why a chicken finger + mozzarella stick + french fries + marinara sandwich would appeal to a college student at 2 in the morning, but I don’t see why this can’t be enjoyed during daylight hours!
So when I heard that Fat Sal’s in Westwood was serving up their version of the sandwiches you get at the famous Rutgers grease trucks, I was pretty freakin’ excited.
Located right next to Gushi (one of my favorite Westwood lunches), Fat Sal’s is in walking distance from UCLA, of course, and is probably packed at night and on the weekends. But lunchtime is a bit more subdued. Their menu has a list of normal looking heros, burgers and hot dogs, and they even serve salads and wraps (this is Los Angeles, after all!) but what you really want to get is the “Fat Sandwiches”, which are $8.95 and served on “extra wide bread”. In Rutgers grease truck fashion the sandwiches are all called “Fat” plus a name, but they’re pretty careful not to mention Rutgers, or any of the famous (now trademarked sandwiches) like the infamous Fat Darrell.
There are 9 different “Fat” sandwiches featuring roast beef, steak, pastrami, fries, onion rings, chicken fingers, eggs, bacon, mozzarella sticks, ham, hot dogs, potato chips, guac, gravy, and marinara sauce, all in different permutations. It was pretty overwhelming, so I went with the namesake #1. The Fat Sal.
Roast beef, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, fries, mayo, and brown gravy on a garlic hero. Balanced is not the first word that would come to mind when reading the ingredient list above but I’ve got to tell you this sandwich was kind of awesome. And not awesome in that “omg, it doesn’t matter how it tastes I’m just excited to be grossing you out” kind of way. This thing actually tastes awesome. The bread they use is excellent, and well up to the task of holding all the ingredients together. And there isn’t so much of each item that it becomes overwhelming. Instead you just get this mess of beefy, cheesey, crunchy tastiness, all covered in a brown gravy that insures the sandwich isn’t too dry.
Not satisfied to just try their most basic offering (and yes, I am aware of how ridiculous it is that the sandwich above could be considered “basic”) I felt drawn to the Fat Jerry- possibly named after co owner Jerry “Turtle from Entourage” Ferrara? It’s got cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, bacon, fried eggs, fries, mayo, ketchup, salt and pepper on a hero. Having trouble making it all out? Maybe this handy guide will help you:
A true masterpiece! It’s like a bacon and egg and fried potatoes breakfast sandwich, if you put it inside a philly cheesesteak topped with chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks! I kid you not, this sandwich was amazing also. Despite my excitement, I actually had kind of low expectations for Fat Sal’s… and in the end they knocked it out of the park. Seriously, these are contenders for best sandwiches in all of Los Angeles.
Finally, I couldn’t help but order the buffalo chicken cheese fries (you know… for science.) I can’t say if these were the actual fries that gave food poisoning to the UCLA basketball team, but I’m pretty confident that if you ate a whole order of these on your own you wouldn’t feel like playing basketball the next day. Warning: these are not a side order. But they also shouldn’t be consumed as a meal. So where does that leave you? Not sure. Safest move is to just not order them at all (as delicious as shoestring cheese fries topped with buffalo fried chicken and blue cheese dressing are.)
“The owners are from New York” is a line that seems to be used a lot in L.A. restaurants that serve anything remotely East Coast’ish (like pizza or bagels), but in this case I’m kind of buying the hype. It’s clear from the first bite that these guys weren’t messing around bringing these sandwiches to the East coast. And they put a bit more effort than you would expect into making these monstrosities taste delicious I’ve never actually had the original Rutgers Grease Truck sandwiches (I guess you could say it’s my Mecca?), but I really can’t imagine they taste better than Fat Sal’s.
THE + (What somebody who likes place this would say)
- I went to Rutgers!!!! This is awesome…
- I like french fries and onion rings on top of my sandwiches
- The bread is surprisingly great
- The sandwiches are surprisingly well balanced
- I drank way too much last night, and need a lunch to cure this hangover
- Easily one of the best sandwiches in all of Los Angeles
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Sorry, but that’s disgusting.
- I’d like to turn 40
- You can’t really eat this more than once a year
Fat Sal’s, 972 Gayley Ave, 310-208-5070