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Ike’s Place – Westwood

May 20, 2015

Not too long after my husband and I returned from our quick jaunt up the coast to San Francisco to celebrate New Year’s, we discovered that a place we had enjoyed in San Francisco had recently opened up a Los Angeles store.  Luckily for us, this first Los Angeles store was located in Westwood, just down the street from the UCLA campus, and conveniently enough, only about 3 miles away from where I live.  So, it was only natural since we enjoyed their food in San Francisco that we wanted to try out their Los Angeles location to see how it matched up.

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Located right in the heart of the college-town of Westwood, in fact, right on the main drag of Westwood Blvd which leads right onto the campus of UCLA, Ike’s Place now occupies the spot vacated by another sandwich shop, Subway.  Considering the large number of UCLA students that come from the Bay Area, where Ike’s Place is well known, it isn’t a surprise that Ike chose Westwood to open up the first Los Angeles store of his hugely-popular sandwich shop.

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When you step inside the small store, you’re greeted with a nice open kitchen.  This set up is quite different from the Ike’s Place in San Francisco my husband and I visited where the kitchen was cut off completely from the eyes of the customer.  There are huge display boards that list out just a small sampling of the many, many varieties of different sandwiches Ike’s Place offers.  Once you place your order, you can watch your sandwich being made, or you can take a seat at one of the small tables in an outdoor patio.  And actual seating area, again, very different from the Ike’s Place in San Francisco that featured no seating – indoor or outdoor – to speak of.

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As many of the sandwiches at Ike’s Place in San Francisco are named after famous San Francisco personalities, many of the sandwiches at the Westwood location are named after famous Hollywood names or characters.  My husband and I knew that we wanted to try a different sandwich from the ones we ordered in San Francisco, just so we could get a better sample of what Ike’s Place sandwiches were all about.  That was our whole objective when we walked into Ike’s Place Westwood for the first time.

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I ended up ordering the Harrison Barnes – a sandwich also available in the Bay Area – as it’s named after a professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors.  The Harrison Barnes comes with fried chicken, marinara and provolone cheese, all of which I requested on Dutch Crunch bread with lettuce, but no potatoes.  I also requested the addition of better battered onion rings with my sandwich.  First impression, the sandwich was really tasty.  The combination of the nutty cheese, the friend chicken, the sweet onion rings and the tangy marinara sauce was perfect.  It was almost like having a chicken parmesan sandwich.  However, I’m not a fan of soggy bread, and since I took the sandwich to go, with the amount of marinara sauce on the sandwich, it did cause the bread to become a bit soggy, which I didn’t love.  Also, the Dutch Crunch bread the sandwich was built on was good, but not nearly as crunchy as the bread was in San Francisco.  I’m not sure if this was because the bread just wasn’t heated through the toaster enough or if the bread itself just wasn’t as good.  But this is a sandwich I would definitely order again, just because these are the exact combination of flavors I really like.

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My husband chose a sandwich called the Hella Fat Bastard.  Probably by its name you can guess that is also a San Francisco-created sandwich.  After all, that’s the big joke that Southern Californian’s can tell when someone is from Northern California because they say “hella” all the time, something Southern Californian’s would never say.  It’s an inside joke for those of us who live in the Golden State.  The Hella Fat Bastard is made with ham, bacon, mozzarella sticks, extra dirty sauce and American cheese, all of which my husband asked for on Dutch Crunch bread.  My husband’s impressions of the sandwich itself was that this was overall a better sandwich than the one he had at Ike’s Place San Francisco, however, the Dutch Crunch bread was not nearly as good and the mozzarella sticks were also not as good.  For the bread, it just didn’t have the crunch that we experienced at the Ike’s Place in San Francisco, and since the bread really makes the sandwich, it was a bit of a letdown to have bread in Westwood that just wasn’t as good.  My husband also felt that the mozzarella sticks in Westwood were a lot more rubbery and again, just didn’t have the crunch that you’d expect mozzarella sticks to have.  However, having said all that, the sandwich itself had a better overall taste and therefore was a better sandwich than the one he had in San Francisco.  So, six of one, half dozen of the other.

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We’ve enjoyed Ike’s Place Westwood enough that we’ve actually been back to the store for more sandwiches since this particular visit.  Our nitpicky complaints aside, we obviously like the store and their large variety of sandwiches enough that we went back for more.  Ike’s Place’s wide variety of sandwiches just can’t be beat, especially with the quality, fresh ingredients they use in their sandwiches.  Of course, the dirty sauce that comes on each sandwich is also pretty spectacular.  This is a nice change, and an upgrade, from the traditional sub store.  Ike’s Place serves up good, delicious, and incredibly filling sandwiches with tastes and variety to please everyone.

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