Big Al’s Eatery of Media, Pennsylvania, has been on my radar with an intent to stop in for a little while thanks to their high rating on the Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure blog. But rather than order the usual basic cheesesteak on a standard roll, I decided to change things up a bit today. Big Al’s offers their steaks on garlic bread, something I haven’t had for many years, when a defunct place in Center City called Pine Street Pizza used to make them.
Once I decided earlier this week that I’d get lunch from Big Al’s today, I started craving the taste of garlic bread and determined that I’d get my cheesesteak on it instead of a plain, untoasted roll. I initially planned on getting a full-sized steak but noticed a couple days ago that Big Al’s also has cheesesteak egg rolls on their menu. That’s another item I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. So late this morning, I ordered a small – seven-inch – cheesesteak with Cooper Sharp cheese and fried onions on garlic bread with a side of cheesesteak egg rolls. My appetite isn’t healthy enough to handle both a full-sized sandwich and the egg rolls, which come three to an order.
Big Al’s has been in business for 40 years, although I’m not sure how long they’ve been at their current location. It’s a very nice space, both outside and in. I had intended to take out my lunch, but as there was more seating than I anticipated and the place was so pleasant, not to mention empty when I arrived before the lunch rush, I decided to eat there. As I pointed out in last week’s cheesesteak post, the closer a steak is eaten to where and when it was made, the better.
They had a nice selection of bottled sodas and I grabbed a Hank’s black cherry, a local favorite.
The outer crust on the cheesesteak egg rolls was perfectly crisp. While they were a little on the smallish side, there was a fairly good amount of meat and cheese packed into each one. The dipping sauce is spicy ketchup.
The cheesesteak tasted great. The meat was well-seasoned and tender. There was also plenty of Cooper sharp well blended with it, along with the fried onions. And it all worked beautifully with the flavor of garlic and butter from the garlic bread. I can still taste it and I’m not complaining a bit.
There was only one flaw with the sandwich: The outside of the bread was moist. They probably grill it on the same surface on which the steak is cooked rather than baking or toasting it. That was a little disappointing, but not nearly enough to override the sandwich’s wonderful flavor. And the inside portion of the roll did have a toasty quality to it.
While today’s order change-up was tasty, I will likely return to Big Al’s Eatery soon to try a full-sized cheesesteak on a basic roll so I can fairly compare them to the places I’ve posted on previously.