Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nick's Charcoal Pit

1242 Snyder Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148-5532
(215) 271-3750

With all of the new places popping up, and the old stand-by's keeping me well fed, I often forget about some of the little hole-in-the-wall spots that make (South) Philly great. Nick's Charcoal Pit is one of those places. I used to order the filet-mignon sandwich all the time, but I haven't had one in years.

Nick's is tiny inside, really it's a takeout and delivery kind of place, although in a pinch they have a table and small high bar.

It's nice to have a place in South Philly for sandwiches that goes beyond cheesesteaks on a flat-top. However, "charcoal pit" is a bit of a stretch, as they are actually propane grills that they cook on. Well seasoned propane grills, but propane nonetheless. Nick's offers a "Nick's special" sandwich with filet mignon, charbroiled with spinach and provolone. One nice thing is that they use Sarcone's rolls. As my dining mate mentioned, if they didn't use those rolls the sandwiches wouldn't be much. The steak is good, well done, and crispy on the edges. The sandwich would benefit from some more moisture. It wasn't dry, per se, but it was on the cusp. The steak is quality, and the simplicity of the ingredients is the key to the sandwich. It is a nice change of pace from the average steak sandwich.

I was disappointed, however, in the buffalo chicken sandwich. It was simply some chicken fingers with hot sauce, some blue cheese and provolone on the roll. This would have been just okay, but when you are the "Charcoal Pit" and your tag-line is "everything is cooked on a charcoal grill and made to order," you might want to mention on the menu that the chicken is indeed just regular old chicken fingers, not cooked on the (propane) grill and made to order. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. It was okay. The fact that I felt they misled me on this one was big letdown. I will definitely go back for my old standby, the filet, but steer clear of the breaded chicken.

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