The Boston Phoenix
August 20 - 27, 1998

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Quickie lunch, South American style

On the Cheap by Jason Weinzimer

If you haven't met your Chilean sandwich quota for the month -- and hey, who has? -- you can fill up over at Chacarero, a tiny Downtown Crossing joint that cranks out these spicy creations from a takeout window on the Franklin Street side of Filene's. During prime lunch hours, the place seems to attract half of downtown -- so just relax, enjoy the fine people-watching, and wait as Chacarero's kitchen tops chicken, beef, and combo sandwiches ($4 for a small, $5 for a large) with muenster cheese, tomato, salt and pepper, and, for a surprise kick, spicy steamed green beans. Add a healthy slathering of freshly mashed avocado and a dash of homemade hot sauce, and you've got a boldly flavored, high-voltage lunch big enough for leftovers. If only they'd let you drink beer at your desk.

As for add-ons, geting your meat barbecued is definitely worth the extra 25 cents. Chileans, like most South Americans, do justice to beef, and Chacarero's barbecued steak tips are wonderfully charred on the outside, pink and tender within. Even their soft, fresh-baked rolls command a following. Chacarero sells them individually or by the dozen.

Chacarero, located at 423 Washington Street, Boston, is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call (617) 542-0392.

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