972 Gayley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
There are some restaurants that I'm pretty sure would seal my doom if they were located closer to me. As much as I would love to eat my way through all of the sandwiches on the Fat Sal's menu, I'm pretty happy that there's 60 miles between me and another four to six inch increase in my waist size.
For those of you that are not aware of what a fat sandwich is, it's basically a sandwich stuffed with things you would not expect to see between bread. Arguably started at the famous RU Hungry? food truck at Rutgers University, these items can include french fries, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, fried eggs, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and more.
Fat Sal's has been around for six years now. Owned by three friends from the East Coast, including Jerry Ferrara, who played Turtle on Entourage. They lamented the fact that they could not find great sandwiches that they wanted to eat in LA, like the ones they have on the East Coast. So they opened up this spot in Westwood Village, right near UCLA, and in the shadows of the Fox Theater. They brought a little stability to this location, which had quite a bit of turnover in the past. Part of the turnaround is probably due to the fact that Guy Fieri visited here on Diner, Drive-In's and Dives, but I've also heard some great things about the sandwiches, and their pictures on Instagram are definitely drool worthy.
We arrived in Westwood at lunch time on a recent Saturday. I was a little nervous that it was going to be packed, and there were a lot of people here, but the line moved pretty quickly. I was even more anxiety ridden about what to order. I had it narrowed down to about six different sandwiches to try, but finally settled on one. Seating here can be a little bit tricky. They have some bar stools along the rail inside the restaurant, but for busier times you may have to have one person stand outside the rail and eat standing up, as I did. Our number was called rather quickly, so let's see what we thought of Fat Sal's.
I was real curious as to what Katie would order at Fat Sal's. I thought she might actually get one of their regular sub sandwiches, one of their wraps, or maybe even a salad. Yes, they actually do offer those, but she went with the the rather tame Fat Joey ($9.99). Besides the french fries in this, it was basically a variation of a Reuben, or if you want to get technical a Rachel. It came with pastrami, turkey, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and Russian dressing. Katie felt a little skittish coming here, because she thought the sandwiches were going to be gut bombs, but she found this to be well balanced, she loved the crusty bread, and she liked the Boar's Head meat they used here. She would not hesitate to get this sandwich again.
Predictably, I went a little more crazy at Fat Sal's with this Fat Jerry ($9.99). Cheesesteak, french fries, mozzarella sticks, fried egg, bacon, ketchup, mayo, and chicken fingers all on a hero roll. This was a delicious and manageable sandwich. I should have taken a picture of the length of the sandwich, but I'd say it was about ten inches, and smaller in girth than I had imagined it would be. Even with all of this in here, the hero roll kept its integrity, and kept the contents of the sandwich wrapped tightly inside. Each bite provided a different flavor from one of the ingredients of the sandwich. Surprisingly this was not a heavy or greasy sandwich at all. It could have been made even better with the egg cooked a little less to provide for a runny yolk, and the chicken fingers were not too prominent, but a very solid sandwich nonetheless.
There are 11 different kinds of fries you can get at Fat Sal's, and we went with the Chili Cheese Fries ($6.99). These fries were topped with both mozzarella and cheddar cheese and a thin, but flavorful chili. I enjoyed this version of this classic side dish. The french fries were your basic fast food fries, but the addition of the mozzarella really helped these out. The chili had a good flavor to it, without too much spice present. We'd probably get a little more daring on our next visit here by getting the pepperoni pizza fries, buffalo chicken cheese fries, or the bacon cheeseburger fries. All sound like winners to me.
We left Fat Sal's very satisfied, but not overly stuffed like I thought we would. Even though these sandwiches and fries seem over the top, they are easy to handle and did not leave us overly full the rest of the day. We will be back on future trips up this way to try more from their menu. Service was good on this visit, as they took our order promptly and got the food out in a timely manner, even though it was peak lunch time. Not the most comfortable place, especially with the lack of seating, but a lot of people seem to get their stuff to go. I'm glad there's a 60 mile buffer between me and Fat Sal's, but I'm looking forward to my next visit.
Out of five battleships, (because owner Jerry Ferrara was in the 2012 movie Battleship), five being best to zero being worst, Fat Sal's gets 3.5 battleships.
Fat Sal's has a website, but it appears to be down or something, so for more information, head to their Yelp page for more information. http://www.yelp.com/biz/fat-sals-deli-los-angeles-2