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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Arby’s vs. Carson’s Deli


Today’s culinary adventure tackles a Western New York Classic-The Roast Beef Sandwich. I decided to go to America’s favorite, Arby’s, and one of the local recommendations, Carson’s Deli.

Arby's "rainbow meat-looking product" did not impress. (PHOTOS BY JAY
BERENT / CONTRIBUTOR)
I went to Arby’s during the lunch hour and there was only a couple customers in the place. I should have taken the hint but I ordered the Arby’s Classic Meal with fries anyhow. It came out within minutes but when I looked at the sandwich, I thought it looked a little sad. Not in an “I need a hug” kind of way but in an “I absolutely do not look like the picture on the menu” manner.

After a brief exhale a thought entered my mind and provided me with the regretful idea to lift up the top bun and peek at the innards of the sorrowful sandwich. I am not sure how long I stared at the rainbow meat-looking product before I began contemplating my exit strategy. I feel as if a piece of the abnormal-looking beef could be used as a prosthetic makeup art piece for a zombie on The Walking Dead. I could have simply thrown in the towel and did a full review on just Carson’s but the voice of my editor popped in my mind and in his stern boss voice he said “Do your job Jay. Take a bite.” I couldn’t do it, I really had intentions to but I reached for some fries instead to buy some time. As I emptied the last of the fries and had nothing else to distract me I finally took my first bite of the sandwich.

Ew.

That’s the only word I can think to describe it. I actually googled the definition of ew, I laughed when I learned from the Oxford Dictionary that it was an exclamation and their fitting example was “Ew, how can you eat that?”  The sandwich, which I could only force myself to take three bites of had one flavor that I can only describe as beef bouillon. So, without further ado I present you my review of Arby’s Roast Beef — Ew.

Now, let’s talk about that Carson’s place. Its a little shop located off Route 31 as you head out of Lockport. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was the line that consisted of police officers, Construction workers, and even the East Niagara Post columnist himself, Mr. +George N Root III. The display table was piled high with their fresh baked cookies, pies, and carrot cakes. I looked at the menu and saw a plethora of mouthwatering choices: Meatloaf sandwiches, BBQ pulled pork, Bacon this & bacon that, and then I saw what I came for: the Roast Beef Sandwich Meal. It came with a sandwich, fries, a drink, and a cookie for a little under eight dollars. That’s the same price I paid for the Arby’s meal and this seemed like a quite the deal.

"Just about as perfect as the Buffalo classic could be."
The sandwich was served on a toasted Costanzo’s Bakery roll topped with caraway seeds and salt. The beef was piled high and my first bite explained why there was a line out the door. This was the real deal. The toasted roll was the perfect contrast to the succulent beef and it was just about as perfect as the Buffalo classic could be. The fries were covered in a light batter that kept its crisp after I drowned the poor little guys in malt vinegar and ketchup. I simply couldn’t eat another bite as I finished the sandwich but then my dear editor’s voice haunted me once again with “Don’t forget about that cookie Jay.” Needless to say, the butterscotch chip cookie was delicious and one bite was followed by six more.

So there you have it, Carson’s Deli lands a knockout punch to the classic Arby’s Roast Beef. Carson’s has a little bit of everything, for everybody. They even serve breakfast sandwiches in the morning and milkshakes in the afternoon. Carson’s is located at 5668 Old Saunder’s Settlement Road in Lockport. Arby’s is located…well, never mind where they are. You’d be better of going to your local grocer and buying some beef bouillon cubes. They taste the same and are about half the price.

In order for Jay Berent to properly do his job, he'll have to eventually have one of everything — from everywhere. Got tips of what he should try? Contact him at jayberent@gmail.com.



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