Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Reader Submission: Chubby's vs Dalessandro’s

5826 Henry Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 487-2575

600 Wendover St
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 482-5407

This review by reader/blogger Tasty Tripod. For more reviews, recipes, food stuff and general nonsense, visit and follow them @tastytripod.

If you live in the city of Brotherly Love, it’s probably happened to you before: you tell someone you’ve just met where you’re from, and they immediately exclaim some version of “You’re from Philadelphia? CHEESESTEAKS!!!!” then proceed to ask you who makes the best sandwich. Yeah, it’s a stereotype, but as much as you and I hate to admit it, if someone asks for your opinion on steaks, you’re going to have one.

Fortunately, we have a lot of options. Besides the tourist trap nonsense of Pat’s and Geno’s that true Philly residents avoid (unless it’s 3 a.m. and you’re too drunk to care), there’s Jim’s, Tony Luke’s, and John’s Roast Pork, among others. Each has its virtues and its legions of ardent supporters, but we can’t forget two of the best options, even if they’re a little further away.  If you make it out to Roxborough, which is about a 15 minute drive from downtown, you’ll see them right off Henry Ave, directly across the street from each other. Trust me, it’s worth the drive.

Chubby’s has been in business since 1987 and offers up a full menu of steak sandwiches (or chicken), hoagies, finger foods like cheese fries and onion rings and a pretty good selection of bottled beers and beverages to go. They also have a decent amount of seating where you can enjoy some beers on tap at the full bar and watch the game. For convenience, Chubby’s has it in the bag – they’re open until 2 a.m. on weekends and take credit cards, plus they have a small parking lot.

Dalessandro’s, on the other hand, is cash only although there is an ATM on premises.

A neighborhood fixture, their menu is also a little more limited – the focus here is on the sandwiches. You won’t find appetizers or sides on the menu, so if you want fries with your steak, you’ll have to get them elsewhere. Don’t let this deter you, though, because what they offer is phenomenal. During peak hours, there’s a line out the door but service is fast and efficient so you won’t be waiting long – which is good, because parking is street only and limited.

So who serves up the better steak sandwich? It’s a close call. Both use rib-eye on an Amaroso roll. Both come standard with American, although you can add on provolone, whiz, and various toppings. It’s a matter of personal preference, of course, but the general consensus seems to indicate that the difference is in the chop. While Dalessandro’s gives you a generous portion of finely chopped meat – some would say it resembles ground beef – Chubby’s give you a smaller portion that’s less chopped, giving you the more “traditional” steak presentation and, some would argue, more flavor. That’s not the final verdict, though, because there’s a wild card: Dalessandro’s buffalo chicken cheesesteak.

I can say with certainty that once you have the buff chx at Dalessandro’s, anyone else’s version of the sandwich will pale in comparison. It’s that good. It comes with Bleu Cheese and American – add fried onions and hot peppers and you’ll succumb to a pleasant food coma like no other.

Which steak shop is your favorite – Chubby’s or Dalessandro’s?