We’ve been hearing great things about Pal’s Takeaway — another gourmet sandwich counter tucked away in an innocuous liquor store, not unlike Rhea’s Deli. So, in a fit of mad hunger, we called them up and ordered every sandwich on the menu. Below: our findings.

Hanoi-style marinated beef banh mi w/green garlic chives, toy box tomato, crispy onion chili sauce, cucumber, cilantro, mayo

Sort of like a banh mi crossed with a steak sandwich. Do not  expect actual Hanoi-style spice. Or, in fact, any spice. The mayonnaise was, however, copious and delicious.

Pimenton roast chicken w/Korean slaw, spicy papadam chip, Happy Boy Farms arugula, lemony mayo

Served on a squishy, generic-looking kaiser roll that had trouble maintaining bread integrity during consumption. Chicken was lacking in flavor. Absence of flavor is better than bad flavor, I suppose, but still — where is the spice? There is no spice. Cabbage tasted in no way Korean, but added much appreciated texture. Mayonnaise redeems this sandwich, but barely.

Riverdog Farm napa cabbage salad w/heirloom carrot, radish, herbs, grainy mustard vinaigrette

Crisp and delicious. Your reporter would have preferred something with a little more oomph — more vinegar, more salt — but the result was light and pleasant. The radishes are delicious. You can tell that the carrots are heirloom because they are purple and orange, as opposed to just your garden-variety orange. They look nice, but don’t taste any different.

Veg on wheat w/maple-thyme roasted kabocha squash, cucumber, heirloom lettuces, pickled nardello peppers

Didn’t order this sandwich because the phrase “maple-thyme roasted kabocha squash” sounded un-spicy. Instead, our most carnivorous reporter unexpectedly ordered it, and so wound up swiping half of his. Boy howdy. This is the best sandwich of the lot. Thick whole wheat bread that cannot be undone by a soggy sandwich interior. Squash with actual flavor. Mayo delicious, but not overpowering. Peppers add just the right amount of vinegar. It is not spicy, but then, it does not advertise itself as such. Would order again. And again. And again.

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Heather Smith covers a beat that spans health, food, and the environment, as well as shootings, stabbings, various small fires, and shouting matches at public meetings. She is a 2007 Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism and a contributor to the book Infinite City.

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