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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Mon–Sat 10:30am–8:00pm
Sun 10:00am–4:00pm

Features Outdoor dining
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx


Arlington, VA
2605 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA
(703) 248-0150
Earl’s Sandwiches
Good sandwiches made better by exemplary meats

It’s not Earl’s sandwiches we’re so enthusiastic about, but rather Earl’s meat. Far be it from us to propose a name change (and in any case, Earl’s Meat doesn’t sound like an establishment that’s open for lunch, or for that matter, to ladies), but we will say this: at Earl’s, what counts is what’s on the inside.

Take the “Roasted Earl.” A heap of roasted pork, sliced thin as can be, is stuffed inside a rather ordinary sesame roll, along with a serving of roasted green peppers. If it doesn’t sound delicious, trust us, it is, largely because the meat is top-notch. If only more than the standard dab of garlic mayonnaise were added to integrate the different elements, this sandwich would be a true standout. Or more than a dab of something. The imitation wood table and metal counters at Earl’s are littered with a dozen condiment bottles each, and a helping of smoky-chipotle-Tabasco sauce is able to do the Roasted Earl some justice. But the condiment should have really gone on behind the counter, with lead time to soak into the meat and bun.

Earl is much more thoughtful with his turkey offerings; even if many sandwich choices resemble something you’d eat the day after Thanksgiving, the taste is leagues beyond the mushy leftovers typical of a Friday After luncheon. The Pearl, for example, smothers some of the juiciest turkey we’ve tasted (and this from a bird that’s known to be dry) with homemade gravy and cranberry relish. Other turkey sandwiches are made with cranberry mayonnaise, and the meat is always fresh, juicy, and plentiful.

The restaurant also offers a selection of soups and all-beef chili, as well as decent “hand-cut” French fries, which are well executed (crispy and oily, not limp with grease). But Earl’s would benefit from a lesson in Sauces (or condiments writ large: a turkey-on-wheat was smothered with far too much generic yellow mustard) in order to more elegantly transform its Meats into Sandwiches.

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