577 Jamestown Street
Philadelphia (Roxborough), PA
I was referred to the Henry James (Hank Jim) Saloon by a reader, and so I made a plan to hit it on my way out of town last week. Nothing like a cheesesteak and a beer for a quality lunch to start vacation.
This place is located right by the famous Dalessandro's cheesesteak shop in Roxborough.
They have everything you could want in a dive bar with food – menus on the place mats and a variety of comfort foods ubiquitous to the Philadelphia suburbs (yea you heard me Manyunk/Roxborough).
I somehow inadvertently ordered cheese fries by "accident", which turned out to be beer battered (they call them Brew City Fries), salty, crispy, and served with white cheddar-jack sauce. Delicious.
The "Pud Steak" was, for all intents and purposes, a deluxe cheesesteak. This one boasted a half pound of rib eye, provolone, fried onions, house roasted long hots, hot sauce, and tomato sauce. The hot sauce was barely there, but the rest was spot on. The meat was tender and well seasoned, the long hots added a bit of kick, and the prov kept every bite cheesy.
I also had to give the namesake "Hank Jim" sandwich a try. This one is served on a toasted "football" shaped roll, complete with chicken fingers, pepperoni, sauteed spinach, sweet peppers, and smothered in provolone.
My one gripe is that all of the cheese was stuck on top, whereas I would greatly prefer it to be interspersed with the rest of the components. That aside, this sandwich was delicious. The chicken fingers acted as extra crispy cutlets on a smaller scale. With sweet peppers and pepperoni adding some spice and tang, the crispy bread held it all together. Everything was pretty damn good.
A couple of Guinness's rounded out this meal. There was nothing not to like about this place, and it makes me wish we had more places in Philadelphia proper to enjoy GOOD classic bar food (Nick's Roast Beef being the pinnacle) mixed with the neighborhood watering hole feel. One of my favorite parts of the suburbs is the ability to drink some cheap domestic beer, eat dinner while watching sports, and not leave owing fine dining amounts of money. Henry James fits the bill.