But it was nevertheless great to see a little feature about Philadelphia’s sublime roast pork sandwiches in the Washington Post this past weekend.
What a concept! You have roast pork piled inside a sub [sic] roll, of course, but it is leavened with sharp provolone cheese and, wonder of wonders, broccoli rabe or spinach. The whole mixture is usually topped with pork juices, making for a delightful combination of varying tastes. It's filling and tasty, like a cheesesteak, but the subtle interplay between the pork and the tart greens, between the provolone and the spices in the juices, is heaven compared with the sledgehammer-like cheesesteak. (Sharp provolone vs. Cheez Whiz? Please.) And you don't go away feeling as if you've ingested a grease bomb.The writer did a pretty good job. (That is, aside from calling the sandwiches “subs.”) He hit the trinity of roast pork institutions. If someone asked us where to go to do a roast pork Italian taste test, we’d definitely send them to Tony Luke’s, DeNic’s and John’s Roast Pork.
The sandwiches at Tony Luke's are a bit spicier than the ones I've had at John's Roast Pork in South Philly and at DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market. Tony says his version is a direct descendant of the roast pork sandwiches his father used to serve at their South Philadelphia home. Today's version has exacting standards.
The meat is a ham that has been slow-roasted for eight hours. Once cooked, it doesn't rest in its juices; "that makes it dry and stringy," Tony says. The provolone is not your usual fare: "We're talking about a very hard, sharp cheese, with some snap." As for the greens, broccoli rabe gives bite, as it were, to the sandwich; spinach is milder. You can order pork sandwiches without greens at sub [sic] places, but I can't imagine why you wouldn't want that interplay of ingredients.
And the bread, so important in any Philly sub, must be soft on the inside but crispy on the outside, to hold the cup of juices that is added when the sub [sic] is made.
Although, John’s is probably our #1. Regardless — they are all insanely fricking delicious.
Gee Whiz, Cheesesteak Isn’t Philly’s Best Sub [ Washington Post ]