A Cheesesteak Change of Pace

Pretzel rolls have become an increasingly popular alternative for hamburgers and other types of sandwiches in recent years. But I had never heard of one being used for a cheesesteak until seeing a positive review for Jay’s Steak & Hoagie Joint of Langhorne, PA, which specializes in them. After several days of indecisiveness between going there to try one this week or revisiting another of the steak shops that made my top ten last year, my desire for a change of pace won out and I drove 45 minutes north to Jay’s for an early lunch Thursday.

As was the case for another of the steak shops I visited recently, Jay’s is in an otherwise residential neighborhood. Yet it’s tastefully charming enough to not seem out of place.

Another surprise – and a very pleasant one – was their large covered and partially enclosed outdoor seating area, which is very nicely laid out and includes condiments, napkin dispensers and a large-screen TV. I had been thinking I’d have to eat my steak in the car, but that turned out not to be the case.

Langhorne, PA (Bucks County)
I was pleasantly surprised to see this partially enclosed outdoor seating area and ate my steak there.
One can watch sports in a nice setting while enjoying a steak or hoagie at Jay’s.
I was also surprised by the mostly residential surroundings.

Jay’s menu features a fairly large array of specialty steaks and hoagies, as well as design-your-own options. All of their sandwiches are either pretzel roll-optional or come on one by default. Although the photos I’ve seen of their regular rolls looked good, I was there to try a cheesesteak on a pretzel roll. 

Soft pretzels with a Cheese Whiz-like sauce are a popular snack, so it seemed like a natural move to go with Whiz for my steak rather than the usual Cooper Sharp. 

One of their specialty steaks is called the South Philly Philly and consists of chopped ribeye, Whiz and fried onions on a pretzel roll. I ordered one of those and a turkey and Cooper Sharp hoagie on a pretzel roll to take home to my wife.

I ordered a South Philly Philly cheesesteak.
While I love washing burgers down with a good milkshake, cheesesteaks rarely leave me with enough appetite to consider ordering anything additional beyond a soft drink.

When my order was ready I took it around to the aforementioned seating area and set myself up at a table. 

While waiting for it, I noticed on the menu that there was an option to request that my steak be packaged in a box rather than wrapped. Boxes are usually better for avoiding a steamed or soggy roll, but after thinking about it for a moment, I didn’t go back up to the window to request one. I should have.

One reason I didn’t was my intention to unwrap the cheesesteak almost immediately upon getting it. But even with that being the case, by the time I finished opening the foil and paper layers that encased the steak, it was a bit of a mess, with bits of meat falling out and one side of the roll looking like it had absorbed a lot of moisture.

I take most of the responsibility for that. I should have asked for the box and won’t make that mistake again if faced with the same option.

The South Philly Philly: A cheesesteak with Whiz and fried onions on a pretzel roll.

The first thing I noticed when biting into the South Philly Philly was that it was considerably saltier than I’m used to for a steak, especially when I took a bite with a lot of Whiz and some salt on the outside of the roll. That shouldn’t have been surprising, but I still did a bit of a double-take when initially tasting it. 

Although it didn’t look like there was much Whiz on there at first glance – and what I saw appeared to have been between the roll and the meat – as I made my way further into the sandwich, the meat and cheese became increasingly intertwined, making for a more cheesy steak.

The menu indicates that they use ten ounces of meat on their standard cheesesteaks and there was certainly at least that much on mine. I would have guessed it was more like three-quarters of a pound. And it was juicy and well-seasoned, although again, the Whiz and accompanying saltiness started to overwhelm it a bit as I got further into the sandwich.

The half of the roll that wasn’t damp had a nice, firm crust with a bit of crunch to it. If I heard correctly, the guy taking the orders told a couple who arrived while I was waiting for mine that Jay’s receives both their regular and pretzel rolls parbaked and finishes them off in-house. 

Some of the salt that was on the roll likely came off when I unwrapped the steak.

While I’m glad to know what a cheesesteak on a quality pretzel roll tastes like and really did appreciate the change of pace, there is no doubt that I prefer my steaks on a traditional roll. So I don’t see myself making a habit of this, but I would like to return to Jay’s at some point to try a steak on one of their regular rolls. 

After returning home, I snapped a couple shots of my wife’s turkey hoagie before she dug into it. She was extremely impressed by both the roll – which doesn’t face any moisture issues in the case of a hoagie – and the quality of the turkey, which she said seemed fresh rather than processed.

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend. I’ll be back Monday with another report on one of my weekend meals.

Published by BZ Maestro

I live outside of Philadelphia and have been food-obsessed for as long as I can remember. After toying with the idea of starting a blog for a fairly long time, the extinction of a food-themed message board that I frequented for years prompted me to finally take action. Thank you for taking the time to check out what I've been up to - and eating. If you've enjoyed what you have read and seen, please consider clicking the "like" button and signing up as a follower.

One thought on “A Cheesesteak Change of Pace

  1. I’m a fan of pretzel rolls when it comes to brats and kielbasa, but have never really considered them for other kinds of sandwiches. The ones I buy here (Pretzilla) are the fully cooked, packaged variety and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t meet your criteria for a good cheesesteak roll.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: