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A Sandwich a Day: The Hot Pork with Spinach from Lenny's Home Plate in Philadelphia
In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
Any town that specializes in slow-roasting one of my favorite meats (hello, pork) and combining it with one of my favorite vegetables (hello, broccoli rabe) and favorite cheeses (hello, sharp provolone) into a sandwich, is good in my book. Lenny's Home Plate is pretty far from South Philly, but they still make a killer South Philly-style hoagie.
The meat—nicely fatty pork loin—is shaved ultra thin and cooked to that point that it's still rosy pink but the fat has started to completely melt, keeping everything nice and lubricated. Unfortunately, they'd already run out of broccoli rabe (understandably) so I settled for its slightly inferior stand-in, garlicky braised spinach.
No worries there. Even without the bitter bite of the rabe, the spinach did its job nicely, namely to add a bit more cooking liquor to the mix, as well as making the sandwich seem just a bit more healthy. There aren't enough cities in the world where braised greens make regular appearances in sandwiches (are there even any?). It's a serious issue, and if I ever run for World Sandwich Czar, I plan on basing my platform around this.
Regular provolone is fine, but it's worth the extra buck (the base sandwich is a very reasonable $5.70) to upgrade to the sharp provolone.
I tried calling the restaurant a half dozen times in the past week only to receive a robotic answering machine message, so I haven't been able to confirm exactly where they get their hoagie rolls, but sources indicate Sarcone's Bakery. Regardless of the actual provenance of the rolls, they're great. Just crusty enough with a slightly chewy, slightly sweet crumb.
Alright, you brotherly lovers. If your comments on my cheesesteak experience at Dalessandro's is any indication, you're pretty darn passionate about your sandwiches, and once again, your collective knowledge is far greater than my limited Philly experience.
So tell me: Who makes the best hot roast pork sandwich in Philadelphia? Did I get a good'un?
Lenny's Home Plate
6141 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19128 (map); 215-487-1200