2700 S Darien St. (Between 8th and 9th on Oregon)
Philadelphia, PA 19148-5002
When I would drive past this spot, I would always wonder if they had any relation to the Dalessandro's in Roxborough, where everyone used to go for great steaks (unfortunately it is not nearly as good as it used to be). This D'Alessandro's is NOT related to the other, more famous shop, although they have MUCH better food. Not that it's surprising that the food in South Philly is better than that in Roxborough. So I decided to give this hoagie shop a try, and I must admit, they are up in my top hoagie rankings.
The space is small, and has all of the charm you would expect of a sandwich shop on Oregon. This includes, but is not limited to the delivery guy (I think) sleeping, while Maury blares in the background. This is the stuff I love about South Philly. The owner was cooking and two women were working the register. They were very passionate about the food, and when they informed me that the eggplant had not been delivered, they also suggested chicken cutlet in it's place stating "it's really, really good." Of course I was willing to give it a whirl.
It was only after I ordered that I started looking around at the different newspaper and magazine articles about the place (and the Philadelphia sports memorabilia proudly displayed on the faded walls), and realized that the chicken cutlet is one of their specialties. Well played, counter lady. I went with the chicken cutlet Italiano. This contained the traditional sharp prov, and spinach, but also added roasted peppers. The peppers helped with the moistness of the sandwich, and the side of sauce (which was merely jarred marinara) was thus rendered unnecessary. I really liked the cutlet itself. It was crispy with a nice golden brown fried exterior, thick but juicy inside, and packed with flavor. It was also a healthy sized sandwich for the $7 price tag.
The other sandwich I ordered was the Old World. It is their spin on an old school Italian hoagie. I have to say, this one took my heart. The bottom was stuffed with chunks of aged sharp prov, topped with sopressata, dry copa, and prosciutto. You can see that this sandwich is jam packed with meat and cheese, just the way it should be. The usual lettuce, tomato, and onion, all thin sliced, are layered on the delicious cold cuts, but there was one twist. When I asked for hot peppers, they tossed a single whole roasted long hot on each side of the sandwich, which was their unique spin. Although I prefer my hot pepper relish this long hot was quite good, and although lacking in heat, it was full of roasted pepper flavor.
I really liked both sandwiches, but I could see myself craving the Old World. Some tips, they only take cash, although if you order from their grub street listing (provided above), you can apparently pay with a card. They are also closed Sunday's, because as the cook/owner proclaimed, he needs his Eagles time. He did offer that if we called on Saturday night, he could probably make some hoagies up for us to pick up the following Sunday morning, or for a special hoagie tray order he could be persuaded to make food. Noted. This will certainly not be the last time I head down to Oregon for a great sandwich.