Review: Ike’s Lair

December 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ike’s Lair, where do I begin? Ike’s Lair in Oakland is a sibling to the well-known Ike’s Place in San Francisco’s Castro. And now I understand why this place is well-known. But first let me start from the beginning.

My friends and I decided to go to Ike’s yesterday afternoon. I’ve heard things about Ike’s like, “best sandwiches around” and “You really have to try this place.”

Okay, it’s a sandwich. I don’t consider myself a sandwich person at all. So I decided to do some research before to make sure there’d be something I like. On the website for Ike’s Place (same menu for Ike’s Lair), you can see all of wildly named and deliciously paired offerings at Ike’s. These range from those named after Bay Area athletes (the “Lincecum with Avocado, Bacon, Ham, Havarti, Turkey”) to the comedic (the “[Name of Girl I’m Dating] with Avocado, Halal Chicken, Honey Mustard, Pepper Jack”).

I can handle this. Although not stated on the website, all of the sandwiches are served hot with lettuce, tomatoes, and “dirty sauce.” Um, excuse me. What is that? Now you have my attention, Ike.

So, once upon a time, five empty stomachs teenagers drove to Ike’s Lair in the rain one lovely Saturday afternoon with the hopes of eating the “best sandwich around.” Prices range from around $8 to $12. Here’s a “little” list of what we got:

Peter: “The Al Davis” = Bacon, creamy horseradish, Jack, Roast Beef, Sriracha

Devin: “The MC Hammer” = BBQ, Cheddar, Halal Chicken

Andrea: “The Spiffy Tiffy” = Avocado, Halal Chicken, Mushrooms, Pepper Jack, Pesto, Provolone

Kyle: “[Your Favorite Sesame Street Character]” = Avocado, Cream Cheese, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Pesto, Tomato

Myself: “The Damon Bruce” = Beer Battered Onion Rings, Provolone, Steak Sauce, thinly sliced rib eye

… On Dutch crunch rolls. And all with lettuce, tomatoes, and “dirty sauce.” I still still don’t know what that is.

I also ordered a Leninade with my sandwich, which was a deep red colored soda with a fruity taste that I couldn’t exactly pinpoint. It was delicious nonetheless.

If it was not raining, we would have eaten at one of the outdoor tables set up; instead we ate in Peter’s car. “Don’t spill anything.” Okay, Peter.

We all unwrap our sandwiches and this is what I hear (in chronological order): Loud groans, “Oh my god”, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten”, “Oh my GOD”, then silence for the next 5 minutes.

That sandwich was life changing. A true happily ever after.

The combination of the crunchy onion rings, with the perfectly cooked rib-eye, and the spontaneous blending of the A1 steak sauce and the dirty sauce…

I still can’t figure out what was in that dirty sauce, but I presume it was a hyper-creamy variation of aioli. Whatever it was, it was delicious.

The only thing I would change about this eating experience would be that my sandwich came a little hotter (I had this same complaint for Betty’s, so it might just be a problem I have with sandwiches in general).

The staff are extremely friendly (Free candy with every sandwich!) and you can tell that the people there are accommodating to diverse tastes (a separate menu board for just vegetarian sandwiches). Ike’s is definitely worth trying if you’re in the mood for quality food and great portions.

2204 Broadway
(between Franklin St & Grand Ave)
Oakland, CA 94612

Happy eating,



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