Monday, April 5, 2010

Dattilo's Delicatessen

8000 Horrocks St
Corner of Rhawn and Bustleton (The Great Northeast)
Philadelphia, PA 19152
(215) 725-2020

Dattilo's is one of those places you would never know about unless you grew up around it, or someone from the area told you about it. I happened to find it a couple of years ago driving home from a day of riding in Pennypack Park, and figured it was the kind of place that would be right up my alley. I have since eaten here a number of times, and it was generally delicious. However, last weekend, I was less than impressed. I must admit, I did not order my go-to "roast pork," but I did go for the infamous "main event" hoagie, and the "homemade mild Italian sausage parmigiana." I also ordered the "cheese fries," knowing full well from previous trips that they were cheap, salty, frozen fries served with Whiz, but sometimes that just hits the spot. It's not at all that anything was BAD, but more that I had some specific gripes that did not leave me happy.

The outside has a retro sun-faded facade that looks like it might have been famous in the 50's. The inside is just a little Italian market that has great, fresh, homemade imported cheeses and meats, and a dazzling array of Italian food products. Think low-brow DiBruno brothers, with twice as much room to move around. All of the cheeses, (including homemade ricotta) are extremely tempting, but in my case, they would have to sit inside a warm car for a couple of hours, so I settled on six hoagie rolls, and a 4 pack of Beck's pounders ($5) for an after ride treat (only one of the beers, not all four!).

The fries were not crinkle cut the last time I had them, and they were cooked slightly crispier. However the slightly spicy, extremely salty fries were pretty decent with a big tub of Whiz. The sausage sandwich (below) was also okay. It had house made mozzarella, sauce, and mild Italian sausage. It was pretty sloppy, the sausage took up only about 30% of the roll, and was not sliced in half to distribute the encased meat more thoroughly. I was more excited for bites of seeded roll and cheese than I was for sausage.

It wasn't terrible, just not that great.

On to the "main event." Literally. I have eaten the main event on a couple of occasions, and I always really liked it. The marinated vegetables are the WOW factor that, coupled with the tasty cured meats, make this a great sandwich. The sandwich I got, however, lacked the "pop" that I was in search of. My first qualm with the sandwich was the lack of meat and cheese. There were about 8 slices of meat, on a seeded roll that was well over a foot long. Every bite was as though I was eating an oily salad on a roll, and occasionally some delicious imported meat would glimmer through. The pepperoni was almost nonexistent, the hot capicola lacking and the genoa salami sparse. This is how I feel hoagie meat should be applied (not really, but you get the picture). The prov was tasty, but hard to taste hidden under all of the other ingredients.

My other gripe is that the salad of artichokes and roasted peppers tasted as though it was just tossed together at the last minute, as opposed to letting the flavors mingle in some oil and vinegar. They tasted watery, and the hoagie was just not very impressive. I actually thought, "I drove past Shank's for this?" Anyway, I was somewhat disappointed with the food, but a place that has been as good as Dattilo's deserves another chance. So I am not writing them off quite yet. It could have just been a fluke. I hope.


the original big ring said...

Dang! I got to stop coming to your blog, especially after a ride . . . starving right now.

You familiar with the Quebecois delicaise poutine?

Delicious. Fat free and healthy. Pfffft

Philly Phoodie said...

HAHA, I LOVE poutine. I go to Ontario every summer, and have since I was 5. Those rides you do up there make me green with envy. Looks like a roadie paradise.

Rina said...

Every cook has a bad day sometimes. I dare u to go back and try it again. I dream about Dattilo's sandwiches!! In my opinion, they are the best!!