It’s always exhilarating to be blown away by a sandwich that I’m trying for the first time. Saturday’s lunch outing with my wife and in-laws was a true rarity in that I sampled two amazing sandwiches, both at Giacomo’s Italian Market in Quakertown, PA, which is in northwestern Bucks County – placing it just inside the Philly metro area.
Giacomo’s doesn’t come up often within the various online cheesesteak groups I check out for recommendations, probably because Quakertown is a bit of a hike from Philly. But whenever I’ve seen their steaks mentioned, it’s always been in glowing terms and the photos looked fantastic. I have known I’d get around to trying them at some point for a while. Saturday just happened to be the perfect opportunity, as my wife and I were already headed up in that direction for other reasons.
If I had made this visit much sooner, I’d have probably been content to stick with a cheesesteak. But I recently began a survey of the area’s Roast Pork Italiano sandwiches, so I decided to see if I could knock off both Giacomo’s steak and roast pork by inquiring whether my mother-in-law would be interested in splitting one of each. She answered in the affirmative without hesitation. I was very excited, and it turned out to be for good reason.
As its name indicates, Giacomo’s is much more than a place to eat – in fact, they only have a few tables. It’s a fairly large Italian gourmet store with baked goods, sides and ready-made dishes, as well as shelves full of edibles that would look good in any pantry. But it was their sandwich counter, which is in the shop’s rear, that was our reason for being there.
The menu is posted on a chalkboard off to the side of the ordering counter. They call their cheesesteak a ribeye sandwich, while the Roast Pork Italiano is simply a roast pork.
Their long-roll sandwiches are available in two sizes – five and ten inches. As my mother-in-law and I were splitting a pair, we went with the larger size. My wife opted for a five-inch Melanzane, which includes fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, eggplant, arugula, roasted peppers, pesto and a balsamic glaze, while my father-in-law ordered a small Porchetta Muffaletta. That consists of mortadella, cured and roasted porchetta, fresh mozzarella and cherry pepper and olive spread. Muffaletta’s are a style of sandwich that is popular in the New Orleans region.
The cheesesteak came standard with Cooper Sharp and fried onions, which is how I usually order them. The roast pork was in the classic Italiano configuration – with sharp provolone cheese and broccoli rabe. All of our sandwiches came on seeded rolls.
There wasn’t much of a soft drink selection in Giacomo’s refrigerated case, but I grabbed an organic cola to wash down my sandwiches. My father-in-law tried a ginger ale and said it had a much stronger ginger flavor than is typical of supermarket ginger ales.
My wife also grabbed sides of roasted carrots and kale with a grain that I don’t recall.
While I didn’t try the Melanzane or Porchetta Muffaletta, they both looked fantastic and seemed to more than satisfy my wife and father-in-law. They also appeared to be extremely hefty for five-inch sandwiches.
That leaves the cheesesteak and roast pork sandwich. I’ll start with the former. It was on a high quality seeded roll that was a little on the soft side, but not exceedingly so. It needed to be sturdy enough to stand up to the massive amount of moist meat and cheese that it held – and it was.
There was a whole lot of chopped ribeye on there – I believe a pound; on a 10-inch roll instead of the more common 12 inches. And it was both juicy and nicely seasoned. The Cooper Sharp was perfectly proportionate to the meat and was beautifully mixed in with it, as were the fried onions.
I’ve complained a bit about overstuffed steaks in the past, but the cheese at Giacomo’s was better proportioned than in those other cases. The grill chef also did a great job of packing everything onto the roll. It was a surprisingly easy sandwich to eat. Relatively little meat and cheese fell out while I made my way through half of it.
This was a sensational cheesesteak in every way. It will be a factor when I put together my revised rankings later this year.
Yet as great as the steak was, it was arguably the lesser of the two sandwiches I sampled at Giacomo’s. The roast pork was other-worldly.
While most Roast Pork Italiano sandwiches – including the two I’ve written about so far – are made with thinly sliced pork loin, this one was stuffed with pulled pork that I believe came from the shoulder. That’s the cut that is generally used to make barbecue-style pulled pork. It was like experiencing the difference between white and dark meat chicken, with the pulled shoulder meat being the dark. When it comes to both pork and chicken, I’m a dark meat guy. It’s both moister and more flavorful. I also find the texture of pulled meat to be preferable to thin slices.
The broccoli rabe and sharp provolone mixed with the meat to create an overall flavor that I won’t forget any time soon.
There was so much meat and broccoli rabe on that roll – which was the same as the cheesesteak roll – that I had a little difficulty taking the first bite. But it was more than worth the struggle. As was each ensuing bite.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever had two different sandwiches that were this good from the same place in a single sitting before Saturday. I’ll obviously have to go back to Giacomo’s at some point.
Here is a shot of the two after my mother-in-law and I each took our respective halves.
What a meal!
I’ve stated my intention a couple times to start revisiting the steak shops that made last year’s top ten list by now, but my schedule has been a little out of whack in recent days. I hope to start that process Thursday and will report on it Friday.
3 thoughts on “Two Great Sandwiches – One Great Place”
Outstanding report. Do you know a realtor in Quakertown? Or I guess just place with a monthly rate?
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Delicious looking sandwiches!
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Jackpot! All the sandwiches look really good!
And kudos to Giacomo’s for recognizing that pork shoulder is much better than loin because of its marbling and structure…and they’re probably paying less than they would for loin, too!
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