The Nine Best BLTs in Dallas

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To me, this will always be the sandwich mom made. After those days of itchy grass-legs and punching mosquitoes in the face, this was the sandwich that hit the plate: thick sourdough slices, bacon crisp as a bay leaf, tomatoes, the mayo knife sweep, and cup-slice of iceberg. For its simplicity, it's a sandwich that remains untouched by the foodie deconstruction era and Dallas' best are all mightily bucking overcooked trends. You'll find no truffle oil here.

Finding Dallas' best BLTS requires some binoculars: You have to try to look past some of the sparkling gems on these local spots (in other words, MAN it was tough not to order the burger at half of these spots). A couple of years ago, Food Critic Guy said the best BLTs are made during the summer and at home. Here are the BLTs of Dallas that'll make you think twice about staying in. Also included: a bacon meter that measures bacon crispness on a 1-10 scale (1 being floppy; 10 being Frosted Flakes crispy). So, bacon:

The Highland Park Soda Fountain - $5.49 Bacon crispness - 7 If you know the spot, you know the feeling when you first walk in: Marty McFly after time travel in Back to the Future. I always expect to see Biff parked outside in his pristine car, or George McFly murmuring, "You're my density" by the marbled green counter. When you order this BLT, the loaf of Sun Beam white bread is quickly pressed. Bacon gets microwaved. It's simple, cheap as hell, crisp and delicious. Two please, with a Pepsi Free.

Maple and Motor - $5.50 Bacon crispness - 8 This was last year's Best BLT winner. Jack Perkins' well-known spot nails the combo of crunch-to-soft bread, and the bacon is (rolls tongue back in) griddled. The "put an egg on it" trend is not news at this point, but you really should do it here. Consider your stomach joy. It's important. Also, is there anything that beats a sandwich cross-section that has yolk?

Off-Site Kitchen - $4.95 Bacon crispness - 6 Muster all of your meat strength and try NOT to order the perfect Off-Site Kitchen burger. Their BLT is enormous and the thick toast is buttered up to Bruce Lee roundhouse kick crunch-level. What makes this one is the zippy dressed lettuce. OK, full disclosure: there's an egg on this too.

All Good Café - $6.99 Bacon crispness - 9 All Good's version won an Observer Best of Award back in ye olde 2001. It comes with peppered bacon, which gives it a noticeable twist (it marries perfectly with All Good's bright green chips and salsa) and an herb mayo. It's always good.

Alligator Café (Casa Linda)- $9.95 Bacon crispness - 5 If this isn't on the list of one of the best sandwiches in Dallas, it should be. On their own, the oysters' crunch is perfect, but coupled with bacon it sounds the Eat Alone or Embarrass Yourself alarm. The oysters are so fresh they don't scare people who hate oysters. No worries there. It's bold. Important note -- this one's only available at the Casa Linda location.

Corner Market Bacon crispness - 7 Everything's fresh here. Avocados are halved and diced after you order, and laid in a pretty little chorus line under the bacon. It's all served on crisp honey-wheat, which adds just that touch of sweetness to the whole thing. Get this one with Corner Market's pickles. It adds that acid bite that rounds out a fantastic sandwich.

Lakewood Landing Bacon crispness - 8 You know this jukebox, and the cracking-away seats of this beautiful "upscale dive" already. Next time you go, try their BLT. It's the classic combo done right, and it's even better when it's delivered under the warm glow of the pool-table light. Comes with a healthy basket of fries and a home is where the freakin' heart is attitude.

Crossroads Diner - $5.25 Bacon crispness - 5 This sandwich is a little scary. There's something feral about the way this BLT's griddled Texas toast was crisp and flaking away madly and the fresh lettuce scattered underneath. It's like you discovered the sandwich in the wild, sitting at the trunk of a tree. I got it to-go because of the epic brunch lines, and the thing was heavy in the center like a black hole. There was lots of crunch on this one -- from the bread and the bacon. It came with house chips, and a mayo blend that was banshee-scream good.

Keller's Drive-In - $2.69 Bacon crispness - 7 The best, most American sandwiches usually are found at places where the wax paper--and the paper sack that holds it -- goes translucent. And Keller's Drive-In (on the original, actual drive-in on Abrams) makes a hallelujah American Sandwich. The BLT is walked over in the paper sack, and it's got that grease stain growing on paper like the blood on the shirt in the buddy cop movie. Everything about this BLT is moan-inducing. The balance of mayo, tomato and bacon makes this the most indulgent BLT on the list. Also, it's highway-robbery cheap.

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