Three years later is today's version still like Roy Halladay in his prime or more like the aging 36-year-old pitcher losing his reign? That's what we wanted to answer on a recent visit to Shank's.
Some background in case you're not familiar with Macnow's famous food hunts. Each year, the radio host picks a category, like hot sandwiches, and embarks on an exhaustive search across the Greater Philadelphia region, trying as many as 50 different places to find the best. The contest makes for great radio as Macnow reports on where he's been and callers debate their favorites.
Past winners have included Rossi's Bar & Grill (burgers), Fat Jack's (ribs), Tacconelli's (pizza), John's Roast Pork (cheesesteaks) and Paesano's (hoagies).
Macnow is a good beacon for what the average person looks for in sandwiches. He's not a self-professed culinary connoisseur or food snob. Like me, he just wants to good sandwich.
|Chicken Cutlet Italiano|
Bite after bite I kept waiting for sandwich perfection, but the Italiano couldn't find the strike zone. The broccoli rabe was bland and looked old, not fresh. Even more disheartening was nonexistent flavor from the sharp provolone.
An awesome disappointment.
Shank's cheesesteak, on the other hand, was like this season's Kyle Kendrick, a pleasant surprise that helped allay the disappointment of the cutlet. We don't write about cheesesteaks on the blog often, so you can check out a guest post on the best cheesesteaks in Philly or my quick post on Ray's (my hometown favorite) for more on cheesesteak options.
The hearty bag of thin cut french fries also hit the spot. We recommend the cheesesteak with fries if you're looking for a bite to eat, especially on the way home from any of the mega stores on Columbus Blvd.
Housed in a little shack next to the Pier 40 storage units, Shank's has parking, picnic benches, a view of the water (the Delaware but hey, it's still water) AND a bathroom.
Side note: We're not completely up to speed on the history of Shank's, but as far as we can tell the current owners bought the naming rights from Shank's & Evelyn's who actually created the famous Chicken Cutlet Italiano. It's possible the original owners were more involved in the Pier 40 location in 2010. Either way, Shank's still markets Macnow's award and the current rendition does not live up to the hype. Feel free to shed some light on this in the comments and we can update the post accordingly.
|Shank's at Pier 40 on Columbus Blvd|