I normally plan my cheesesteak outings anywhere from a few days to a week in advance – sometimes longer if a friend is joining me. But I went on a spur of the moment jaunt for a steak today. The chain of events that led to this bout of spontaneity began with the dinner we had planned with my wife’s family this weekend – which I mentioned at the end of my last post – being postponed due to circumstances beyond our control.
As an aside, I’ve also been busier than usual with other matters this week, which has left me with less time to post here.
Today seemed like a good day to get back to blogging, as I felt the urge to go out to eat something good for lunch, and that would mean writing about it afterward. Surprisingly, I wasn’t initially in the mood for a cheesesteak and started looking for relatively nearby options online. While I had an itch to go out, I didn’t want to drive very far. The traffic in my area tends to be bad and lunch hour on a Friday can be a particularly conjested time.
After about 10 minutes of looking at possibilities, some of which serve cheesesteaks, my normal desire for the sandwich suddenly returned. It just took another moment of browsing and recalling that someone in the Facebook Cheesesteak Gurus group had recommended LaSpada’s Original Steaks & Hoagies to me recently. It’s about a 15 minute ride from where I live, so I hopped in the car.
LaSpada’s sits a little further west on a roadfood-heavy strip of Delaware County’s MacDade Boulevard – which I wrote about here – than I normally travel, but I wanted to give them a try. They’ve been around a while, and the photos of their steaks that I’ve seen online looked good enough to intrigue me.
I perused their menu at my table after placing my order and noticed they offer a sandwich that a couple people from other parts of the country have asked me about; a Nigerian style hoagie. I have no idea why it’s called that. It has nothing to do with Nigeria. It’s simply a hoagie with roast beef, turkey, and cheese.
I screwed up my attempt at making a video while waiting for my steak. My purpose was for you all to hear the sound of the grill person chopping the meat. It was loud. Unfortunately, the video only lasts a second. I thought it would be a little longer. However, if you play it and listen carefully, you can still hear several smacks of the spatulas on the grill’s flat surface. That soulful tune was playing on and off the entire time I was in LaSpada’s Original.
I went with my usual order of Cooper Sharp cheese and fried onions on my steak. Their standard roll is seedless, but as has become my practice, I checked online before leaving home and discovered they have an optional seeded roll. One thing I have learned during this now roughly 10-month run of eating a lot of cheesesteaks is to always order the optional seeded roll.
As soon as I picked up the first half of my sandwich, I could tell that this particular seeded roll was much softer than they usually are. I prefer a fairly hard crust and a less doughy texture. But I’ve discovered at places like Stoli’s and Chubby’s that I can still enjoy a softer roll if it is extremely fresh and has a nice, chewy quality to it. And LaSpada’s seeded roll falls into that category. It certainly isn’t one of my favorites, but I liked it nonetheless. And the seeds added a bit of extra flavor.
Given the racket coming from the grill area, I wasn’t surprised that the meat was chopped fairly fine. It was juicy, well-seasoned, and there was a lot of it, although it could have been distributed a little more evenly between the two halves.
And while one half had enough Cooper Sharp intertwined fairly well with the meat, the other half could have used a tad more cheese.
But the overall flavor of this steak was excellent.
I wouldn’t call LaSpada’s Original Steaks & Hoagies one of the Philly region’s best steak shops, but they put out a very solid sandwich and have the sort of charm that is in character with other eateries along the stretch of MacDade Boulevard between Route 420 and I-476 in Delaware County, PA. I’m still far from getting to all of them.