Review: Prime Rib Melt from Subway

In the next episode of The Nosh Show, you’re going to hear me talk a little bit about why I haven’t been to Subway in years.  A big factor in that decision is that I’ve got better sub sandwich options within a short distance and the prices aren’t too much different than Subway.  I understand that not everyone can have the fast casual luxury of Firehouse Subs, Jersey Mike’s, and Jimmy John’s in their hometown, but if you did, why would you ever choose Subway?  The latest “new” sub from Subway is a limited release regional offering and it intrigued me enough to end my hiatus.  Here’s my review of the Prime Rib Melt from Subway.Subway Prime Rib Melt 1Subway has offered a variety of Melts in the past, but the Prime Rib Melt is the first to grab my attention.  The name Prime Rib Melt just sounds way too premium for a place like Subway to be able to pull off successfully.  With that said, not for one second did I expect Subway to impress me with this sandwich and I wasn’t wrong with that line of thinking.Prime Rib SubwayLike the Crunchy Chicken Enchilada Melt, Subway is going with the strategy of new specialty subs made available regionally and not on a national level.  This is a test market approach that is sure to hit a wider audience if they become big sellers.  Now I’m not sure how far the Prime Rib Melt reaches outside of the DC Metro area (I’m in Maryland), but the fact that the Crunchy Chicken Enchilada Melt has been found in the north west and south east portions of the country makes me believe there’s a chance some other random spot on the map might have it. Since Subway prides itself on customization, your Prime Rib Melt might be vastly different from mine.  Since I’m attempting to be as neutral as I can (big stretch), I studied the promo picture of the Prime Rib Melt and tried to just order it just the way it appeared to me.  So let’s take a look:Prime Rib Melt Subway Promo picYeah that promo pic looked pretty tasty and that’s the whole point right?  Rarely do we ever get a fast food menu item that looks as good as the advertisement.  In case of the Prime Rib Melt promo versus what I got, wow, but you already thought about that after your first glance of my actual sandwich photo I’m sure.  “Tendy & Juicy with Melty Provolone” sounds like a winner to me.  From what I could tell from the promo pic, there is lettuce and tomato to go along with the prime rib pieces and Provolone cheese, so that’s all I requested.  I asked my “Sandwich Artist” what kind of bread is in that picture, they said Italian (white)… “Just make it exactly like what I see in that picture please”… easy enough.Subway Prime RibI think I’d rather not watch my sub sandwich being assembled at Subway.  A part of the original allure of Subway was, “Hey! They make it right in front of you!”.  Some things are better left a mystery… like the paper tray of meat pieces in some brown gravy dumped into my 6-inch (or is it 5.5-inch?) white Italian sub roll..  Appearance-wise, the meat was very reminiscent of wet dog food.  This is just a guess, but the prime rib pieces didn’t taste like wet dog food and thankfully didn’t smell like wet dog food.  The taste of the meat reminded me a little bit of pot roast and that wasn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world. So the flavor of the prime rib cubes wasn’t too bad, but nothing beyond mediocre really.  Unfortunately, even after toasting, the meat was a bit lukewarm.  The provolone melted into the bread and seemed to disappear.  Provolone is one of my favorite cheeses for a sandwich and yet it was entirely forgettable in the Prime Rib Melt.  As you can probably tell from the pictures, this almost looks like a Veggie Delight.  The three tomato slices were decently fresh and a healthy size, but at the same time they took over the sandwich and didn’t seem like a good fit since they dwarf everything else.  The lettuce was… you know I start to get depressed when I attempt to describe chopped iceberg lettuce so I’ll stop right there.Prime Rib Sub from SubwayYou know even though the Crunchy Chicken Enchilada Melt isn’t available in my area and I’d likely find it repulsive, it’s really a more inventive product.  The Prime Rib Melt leans on the plain side in order to let the meat remain the highlighted ingredient and not take a back seat to a sea of sauces and Fritos.  In the end, this is Subway and feel free to customize to your hearts content, but the Prime Rib Melt was a mediocre sandwich for me. There was mediocrity on most all levels, but the focus is on the prime rib pieces here and besides the redeeming quality of not tasting like wet dog food, there wasn’t too much to be excited about.  It was priced at $4.75 for the 6-inch and $7.50 for the Footlong.  Now with prices like that, what exactly is going to draw me back to Subway?  The prices at Subway are right around on par with higher quality fast casual sub sandwich places now and my options are too strong to waste a meal on the one at the bottom.

Pros: I finished the sandwich and didn't hate the flavor of the prime rib pieces... reminded me more of pot roast though.

Cons: $4.75. Paper tray of lukewarm meat cubes in brown gravy. I forgot there was cheese in it and this is a Melt. Regional availability.

Taste: 5.75/10
Value: 4.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.50/10
Price: $4.75 for the 6-inch and $7.50 for the Footlong

Overall GrubGrade: 5.25/10

More Info: http://www.subway.com
Nutrition Facts:
Not available

24 comments on “Review: Prime Rib Melt from Subway

  1. SkippyMom says:

    The tomatoes scare me. And my first two thoughts mirrored your experience – it looks like you received a veggie delight and then when you opened it, dog food. Definitely wet dog food. Glad to know it didn’t taste like dog food, but the appearance alone would keep me away from it.

    Nice review. I giggled at the iceberg lettuce comment. Cute.

  2. Jrdunn0508 says:

    I dont have many of those sub places but always loved subway because they were pretty cheap for a sub especially if like me
    You loaded it with all the veggies. But lately theyve really jacked up the prices making it a much much rarer occurance. Although my usual black forest ham is still $5

  3. Bob Smith says:

    The problem for me is none of the better sandwich chains are within 10 miles of work or home. Also, Subway is running a $2 6″ cold cut or meatball deal right now, I think until the end of summer.

    • Raiders757 says:

      I’m lucky enough to have the option of a couple of the “better” chains as well as a few mom and pop sub shops close by. Subway is no longer an option for me thankfully. The last time I ate ate at one was while at work in 2011. Nothing they serve is worth anything more than $5, so it blows my mind that they get away with charging the same price as a lot of better chains and mom and pop shops.

      That said, I think they survive more on convenience and the sheer number of locations than anything else. There are at least six Subway stores that I can think of off the top of my head within a two or three mile radius of my house. There’s only one Firehouse, Jason’s Deli, and Panera within the same radius along with about eight mom and pop shops that serve subs, four of which being pizzerias that happen serve subs as well.

      • Brittany says:

        Aside from convenience being a factor, Subway also has the weight lost industry’s support. Weight Watchers loves Subway, Biggest Loser loves Subway, calorie-counters love Subway, and all the commercials for Subway highlight how ~*healthy*~ it is and how active fit people (athletes even!!) eat there. So although it’s not the best sandwich and it’s overpriced, if you’re counting calories and you know for a fact how many calories are in a Subway sub…you’re more likely to go there. And it *seems* healthier than some of the other sandwich places. It may not be, but as with all marketing, perception is more valuable than reality.

  4. Todd says:

    Did your “artists” head explode when you instructed him to make your sandwich just like the photograph?

    • Ryan says:

      Haha, well they asked me multiple times during the process, “would you like it toasted?”…. Uh, yeah it’s a melt remember?

  5. Sherm says:

    Subway is flat-out horrible. They used to make a few sandwiches that were OK if you found yourself stuck in a food desert, but recently they’ve gone severely downhill. There seems to be an ever-increasing ratio of bread-to-meat, with flaccid, bland toppings far outweighing the proteins. As a Philadelphian, this both angers and saddens me. A hoagie should be a beautiful symphony of meat, cheese, toppings and bread, each component complementing and improving the sandwich as a whole. Subway has become, basically, a dry bread sandwich that you have to eat until the middle just to get a bite of anything flavorful. It’s a travesty and it needs to stop!

  6. Mikey F Baby says:

    Completely avoid Subway now and this is one reason why. The picture disgusts me. I can make a higher quality sandwich at home. No thanks.

  7. TheHotToddy23 says:

    The problem with Subway is that it is, well, Subway. It is garbage food that is way overpriced, and the sad part about that statement is that it isn’t even remotely expensive. I’m actually surprised you were as kind with this review as you were because it looks repulsive as Subway wouldn’t know what prime rib was if it kicked it in the teeth (if that were even possible). I’m not totally sure what any of the meats Subway uses actually are- my guess is the “meat” probably came from a live animal at some point, but it was definitely a long time ago. Such a pathetic excuse for a sub shop. I’d seriously rather eat dog food.

  8. iBOBi says:

    I agree with the comment….. I understand that not everyone can have the fast casual luxury of Firehouse Subs, Jersey Mike’s, and Jimmy John’s in their hometown, but if you did, why would you ever choose Subway?

    I live in Dallas and the choices to have a sandwich is a nice problem to have. Near the office I work at we have a Subway, JJs and Jersey Mikes. I have not been to Subway in years. If I did not have the other 2 choices I am sure Subway would be in the rotation, but it just plain sucks when you have other choices……Good review.

  9. Linny says:

    Yep, this pretty much sums up why I haven’t been to Subway in years. If I want a sub, I’ll go to Quiznos.

  10. MP says:

    Pink mass produced tomatoes are so lousy & cheap. They have a very firm texture, they’re very dry & no flavor whatsoever. They can sit out for days & not decay. That lettuce is just sad.
    Subway is such cheap garbage. Support your local mom & pop sandwich shops or go to a better sub store. Nobody goes to McDonald’s for a good burger & nobody goes to Subway for a good sub.

    • Josh says:

      Nobody goes to McD for a good burger? How the hell do they do manage to be the highest grossing chain in the world? Not only in total numbers but in avg per rest volume as well. They are selling the hell out of the new QP burgers, so I assume many people think they are good burgers. If you think five guys and red robin are good burgers then you are a fool. I assumed that any way after reading your post.

      • Aaron says:

        You think Mcdonald’s has good burgers?? You are the fool.

      • stevenp says:

        Josh, maybe this will enlighten you: quantity != quality. (The “!=” means “is not equal to”). McDOnalds has *horrible* burgers. The new QPs are no exception. Any “good” burger (either chain, specialty, upscale, or homemade) will have tasty meat in it. McD’s burgers taste like generic gray “stuff.” And leave me with a queasy stomach (when I foolishly indulge about once every 1-2 years). Do a blind taste test between McDs and any decent burger like In ‘n’ Out, Shake Shack, Five Guys, etc. and there is NO doubt as to the outcome. McD burgers are cheap–that’s their main selling point. ANd people go there more for the fries, in case you missed that.

        As for Subway–blergh. As someone noted above, none of their sandwiches have that blending of flavors and textures that even a lot of generic delis get right. I don’t know how Subway stays in business. (OK, $5 may have something to do with that.) I agree with Ryan–watching a Subway sandwich being made is not pretty. When they dump the meat from a paper bowl, it is not appetizing at all!

      • MP says:

        McDonald’s sells a crap burger. At least they have in the past 20+ years. They didn’t used to be that way. McDonald’s is known for having a lot of drawing cards with their 2nd most locations in the world. I think McD’s fries are their most beloved item. Who else can do a whole commercial alone on their fries? Then there’s shakes, pies, breakfast (which I would say they have the extreme advantage in that fast food category), the McRib, McNuggets, specialty coffee (hello, Starbucks), vastly expanded chicken items & salads. All the same stuff that Burger King keeps copying because they’re Burger King & not McDonald’s.

        Nobody goes to McDonald’s for a good burger. If you put a McD’s burger against Five Guys or Red Robin – I don’t think they would win or even come in 2nd place.

  11. Joe says:

    I used to think subway was decent, until Jersey Mikes showed up in town a couple years ago. Since then I have had subway maybe once, and it just tastes bland. Seeing that Subway has this new special I got excited for a second, and then remembered Jersey Mikes is always better.

  12. holly says:

    hmmm…if i want a prime rib sandwich I will shell out the extra few bucks and get quality at Penn Station.

    • stevenp says:

      Which Penn Station? NYC or elsewhere? And if NYC, who makes good ones? Thx!

      • doctorx0079 says:

        Welp, Penn Station is a chain based out of Ohio that is inspired by the real Penn Station. They specialize in hot subs cooked on a griddle and just-cooked French fries. Good stuff.

  13. Raye says:

    Ehh. When eating at subway its usually a strong strategy to stay away from the premium and overpriced options. I usually snag a 5$ ham, take it home and throw some of my own store-bought ham on it to make it a substantial sandwich.

    The new 4$ meals are a decent deal, but I’m still kinda pissed that meatball and oven roasted (processed) chicken are now at the 6$ mark. I tend to stay away from the fresh veggies and get jalepenos and banana peps.

  14. Lancaster says:

    Subway reminds me a bit of Papa Murphy’s. Looks fresh, generally is fresh, but fresh mediocrity is still mediocrity, and all the customization in the world won’t change that. Everything I’ve ever had from both of those establishments has ranged from underwhelming to actively bad.

    Thankfully, since moving to CT I’ve had no shortage of sandwich options. Plenty of local joints, and even the regional chains knock Subway into next week. One eggplant parm grinder from Nardelli’s, please.

  15. Germantown says:

    Subway’s food hasn’t made me ill. Jersey Mike’s has. Of the fast food places in my area, Subway is still my best choice. You really think McD’s heart attacks in a wrapper or box is better? BTW, as someone who is lactose intolerant, I’ve found Subway to be more responsive than McD’s. Half the time, they and Burger King have gotten my order wrong. If getting takeout, I shouldn’t have to return to the counter because they included the cheese. They may ask more than once, but at least Subway gets my order right every time.

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