Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh of Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars

Boston Area

Chacarero vs. La Mamma


Restaurants & Bars 7

Chacarero vs. La Mamma

Ian | Jul 18, 2005 09:18 AM

At least two threads last week discussing Chacarero had me craving one last Friday. I was flying into Logan at 3:00, and had to be in Brookline Village at 4:45, so during the flight I was plotting how to get from Logan (where I had my car) to Chacarero (where I have always had good luck parking illegally nearby, getting my Chacarero, and getting back to my car before being ticketed) and then enjoying my chacarero in the car while I drove to Brookline Village. But then I remembered that at least one hound, in the thread linked below, expressed a strong preference for chacareros at La Mamma, in Allston, over the eponymous Downtown standard beared (how's that for a pretentious clause?).

So as soon as we landed, I googled the address of La Mamma on my blackberry while taxiing to the gate, and then made the easy and quick drive to La Mamma for my first ever non-Chacarero chacarero. And although I liked it, I have to say that I found it to be no substitute for the original.

La Mamma's chacarero is served on homemade bread, warmed in a pizza oven, topped with beans, tomatoes, onions (I think), and, I believe, mayonaise. It is larger than the large sandwich at Chacarero, and served quartered, which makes it easier to eat. I asked for mine with extra hot sauce, as I would at Chacarero, and it was topped with a tomato based hot sauce (I swear, it could have been buffalo wing sauce!)

Not knowing what constitutes the "right" way to make a chacarero, I tried hard not to judge La Mamma's chacarero just because it was different than what I was used to. But although I enjoyed the sandwich very much, it just didn't have the same wonderful balance of flavors that Chacarero's chacareros have. I missed the muenster cheese, I missed Chacarero's hot sauces (you get two different ones at Chacarero if you ask for "extra hot sauce"), and I found that the ingrediants at La Mamma were not as flavorful: the bread, although good, was not as good as Chacarero's, and the tomatoes and beans were not as good. Also, the mayonaise and hot sauce La Mamma used made for a much heavier sandwich.

La Mamma is a great find. At first blush, it looks like any other neighborhood pizza and sub shop. But is has supplemented its menu with two blackboards full of South American specialties. I absolutely will go back. The chacarero was good; just not as good as Chacarero's. And I very much want to sample its empanadas and some of its South American specialties. But Chacarero is safe for now.


Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound