Pigging Out at The Oinkster – Slow Fast Food

I have been to Oinksters twice already, the first time it was sublime (probably because I was trying a new restaurant) but the second time it wasn’t so great when I went with my dad and sister.  This place should be on that Food Network show Diners Drive-ins & Dives, this place literally makes everything from scratch; from the ketchup and mustard to their own pastrami. I admire the chef for making everything from scratch, but his execution needs a LOT of polish and a better service staff.

It truly is slow fast food... service here is super SLOW.

It truly is slow fast food... service here is super SLOW.

After a confusing car ride and detour courtesy of Google Maps, we arrived at Oinksters and tried to find parking. The parking there is horrible, there was one motorcycle that took up a WHOLE spot (common man, you can park it elsewhere) and one crappy civic that took up two spots, I swear I wanted to kick in the door or key that thing so badly. After scavenging a parking spot on the sidewalk, we immediately went in and started to order but the cashier was talking on the phone and probably put me on hold and fiddled with the cash register for like 5 minutes. Just putting it out there, the service here is VERY SLOW, they weren’t kidding when they advertise they make slow fast food. They literally are very slow at making fast food… minus points for Oinksters here.  We finally put in a order for 1 pastrami sandwich, 1 pulled pork sandwich, 1 pastrami Reuben, a large order of fries with garlic aioli, and a ube (pronounced oo-bay) shake. Keep in mind that you have to order sides separately and the prices aren’t cheap so expect to shell out around 15 bucks for a sandwich/fries/shake. This place is pretty expensive for what you get, plus the portions are kinda dinky for what you pay for (another problem about Oinksters). The bill totalled to be about 40 dollars.

The mustard and ketchup tasted homemade and were both very unique.

The mustard and ketchup tasted homemade and were both very unique.

After ordering I helped myself to the condiments bar. It ranged from house-made ketchup, chipotle ketchup, mustard, and course ground deli mustard. They also have squeeze bottles of a vinegar based sauce for the pulled pork.   I opted for the ketchup and course ground deli mustard. The mustard is really clean and has a mild heat but very strong mustard flavor while the ketchup is fruity and not as salty as the conventional ketchup you find in a bottle.

This was very juicy but needed a lot of seasoning and lacked pork flavor.

This was very juicy but needed a lot of seasoning and lacked pork flavor.

Next came the pulled pork sandwhich which came with some radicchio slaw on top of the pulled pork which gave it a bitter and refreshing crunch to the tender pork. The pork itself wasn’t very flavorful and wasn’t quite smokey (I suspect this was cooked in the oven) but it sure was very juicy and with the vinegar sauce squeezed on it (quite liberally I might add) it gave it a very sharp bite of apple cider vinegar and parted plenty of flavor that made the pork stand out more.  Overall this was very easy to eat due to the moisture and juiciness of the pulled pork.

Looks like a lot of meat right? Well it's just all piled in the middle thus making it look like there is a lot of meat.

Looks like a lot of meat right? Well it's just all piled in the middle thus making it look like there is a lot of meat.

Oinkster's Pastrami with Grilled Onions and Cheese

Oinkster's Pastrami with Grilled Onions and Cheese

The pastrami came after the pulled pork after a good 5 minutes, I don’t know why the chef was taking so long to make these sandwiches, all the ingredients are right there and require him to only assemble them. The chef truly sucks at shelling out sandwiches in a speedy and steady manner, this will hold true as the dinner progresses. The pastrami itself wasn’t as tasty as I remembered last time I went here, the pastrami needed some seasoning and needed major help from the deli mustard. The pastrami also came with grilled onions and cheese. The cheese was flavorless (didn’t even notice it was there) and the onions lended some much needed moisture to the sandwich but still didn’t stand out at all. The pastrami in my opinion was a fail, the Hat can crank out better pastrami and is a LOT cheaper and plus they give way more pastrami in their sandwiches. The amount in the pastrami was a joke compared to most pastrami places that I have been to for about double the price.

The garlic aioli dipping sauce sent these fries over the top!

The garlic aioli dipping sauce sent these fries over the top!

The only thing that can top this is sauteed chopped garlic on top of fries... mmm

The only thing that can top this is sauteed chopped garlic on top of fries... mmm

The fries came with the pastrami and were steamy hot and fresh from the fryer. Freshly fried food is amazing and these fries were the saving grace so far in the meal. But the thing that sent these fries over the top was the garlic aioli dipping sauce which gave the fries a very intense creamy garlic taste. It was sinfully good but after awhile the aioli and the grease from the fries made them less appetizing and too rich.

A lot better than the original pastrami sandwhich and cheaper too!

A lot better than the original pastrami sandwhich and cheaper too!

After 10 more minutes of waiting, my dad start getting impatient since his Reuben hasn’t arrived yet and the price ube shake ($5) hasn’t arrived yet either. It turned out the order wasn’t even placed by the stupid cashier who took his lovely time on the register (you would think if he was that slow he would’ve got the whole order down). Anyways after a few more minutes the shake and the Reuben arrived. The plus side to this was that the Reuben arrived steaming hot and fresh off the cook top. The Reuben was noticeably better than the pastrami (and cheaper!) since the rye bread gave it more flavor and also the thousand island dressing rounded out the sandwich. It was pretty good and flavorful enough that I didn’t have to slather the mustard all over the sandwich like I did with the plain pastrami sandwich.

I feel scammed for paying $5 for a oversweetened taro shake.

I feel scammed for paying $5 for a oversweetened taro shake.

Ah now the ube shake, I wanted to try this since it received high accolades on Yelp. The ube shake was made from taro and coconut milk but it strongly tasted of coconut milk and was overly sweet. This shake was DEFINITELY NOT worth the 5 dollars it costs and did not live up to the hype on Yelp. I don’t know what people on Yelp were thinking on this one, it’s just a sweet taro shake, nothing special about this at ALL. It’s probably  special to those who think Panda Express is authentic Chinese food. Save your 5 dollars and just go for the ice water.

Overall, Oinksters was disappointing to the point when now I look back upon it, it sucks for the price given how poor the service was and also how poor the sandwiches turned out. The service and wait on the food was utterly ridiculous and the food wasn’t even hot (except the fries and Reuben). My suggestion to you is go down the street to Tommy’s, I heard that place has better pastrami and food in general. Don’t waste your money here on expensive fast food, there are plenty of other places that will give you even better quality food for half the price. Better yet, save yourself some trouble and just go to The Hat if you’re craving pastrami.

Oinkster

2005 Colorado Blvd
Eagle Rock, CA 90041
(323) 255-6465

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~ by Clifton Su on July 14, 2009.

3 Responses to “Pigging Out at The Oinkster – Slow Fast Food”

  1. I like this posting. Question though, with relation to flavors do you like a juicy, smoky flavor or one that is smoky, but somewhat rustic dry. I prefer drier meat when it is smoked, but i dunno…im not an om nom nom expert. is there a better way?

    • If you smoke it correctly, the meat will turn out both juicy and smokey. If you like dry meat, why not just eat jerky? hahaha

      Cook it low and slow, and I guarantee you it will turn out great.

  2. Thanks klyftonite ill keep that in mind for sure next time I smoke some meat.

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