After eating less than expected yesterday, I didn’t feel the need to wait until late in the week to get my next cheesesteak. I’m hoping to finish off all of the steak shops I want to include in my survey by Friday or Saturday, so I can put out my “Best-of” posts next week. That has resulted in the likelihood of having to squeeze a couple more than usual in this week and is partially the result of late additions to the list.
I anticipate visiting one of those late additions – in Montgomery County – a couple days from now. Today, I tried another that is a little closer to home with an assist from Jim Pappas. His Cheesesteak Adventure tournament has a place that had been on my radar for a while through to the Sweet 16. That was the incentive I needed to go there this week to try their steak.
Back in July, I wrote about the cheeseburger hoagie I had from Michael’s Sandwich Shop in Woodlyn, PA, which is in Delaware County. While it was a disappointing sandwich overall, primarily because they used what I was pretty sure were frozen burger patties, there was one standout aspect of it – the roll. I described it as “a good, old-fashioned steak and hoagie roll with a pure chew that I enjoyed more than some of the ones I’ve had at far better known steak shops.”
The two guest judges that put Michael’s through to the third round in the tournament to which I referred also raved about the roll. It’s not seeded, but none are needed in this case.
So I drove over there at lunchtime today and ordered a cheesesteak with American cheese and fried onions.
They have the comforting look of an old-school sandwich shop inside.
Canada Dry black cherry Wishniak was one of the soda flavors in their refrigerated case. I find that difficult to pass up on many occasions, including today. It’s a soda flavor I drank a lot of in my youth, when it was sold by a local brand called Frank’s.
But I digress. The main reason for my visit was to eat a cheesesteak, and it was freshly made when I ordered it and still ready in about five minutes. I grabbed a stool at the counter by their front window to eat it.
Unfortunately, the roll wasn’t quite as good as the one I had from them in July. It was softer and the crust wasn’t as chewy. But it was still a solid roll – better than the seedless one I had at Pat’s yesterday. And it was filled with a nice helping of finely – but not too finely – chopped meat that was juicy and flavorful, but not exceedingly so. It could have perhaps done with a touch more salt and pepper. Steaks with more heavily seasoned meat have stood out to me in a positive way over the past year.
The only other issue with this steak was that it needed more cheese. What was in there was blended in with the meat, but it wasn’t discernable in many bites, either texturally or flavor-wise.
One of the Cheesesteak Gurus on Facebook broke down steaks into three categories this morning: contenders for best in the Philly region; local, which are often longtime institutions in their neighborhoods and communities that put out a high quality sandwich, but not necessarily one that is competitive with the best in the entire region; and tourist traps.
Michael’s clearly falls in the middle category. While I don’t expect it to make my top 10 list, it has been around for 45 years and puts out a very solid cheesesteak that justifiably has a loyal local following.
I hope to hit one or two places that fall into the first category on my next outing.