A Tale of Two Cheesesteaks
Roadside burger-and-hot-dog season is almost upon us again, and some of Connecticut's longstanding joints are wasting no time. Harry's in Colchester
has already been open for weeks, and today, tooling around the Waterbury area, I confirmed that Al's in Naugatuck
is as well. On a whim, I decided to try what was listed on Al's menu as a "Philly cheesesteak."
I can truthfully say that I wasn't too disappointed, because this is just what one often gets for a cheesesteak around here: shaved beef on a whatever-roll with white American cheese - it's really its own legitimate variant. (Maybe it's more properly called a steak and cheese, I dunno, but that's not what Al's sign said.) Anyway, I say "too
disappointed," because, come on folks, you can at least melt your cheese!
Lesson learned - stick to what a place does best unless you're feeling adventurous.
For comparison, let's rewind the clock a few weeks to when I was antique-hunting in Norwich. There, you have a place called, imaginatively enough, Philly's
. It makes a big deal in its decor about being authentically Philadelphian, yes, the real thing, you bet, you can count on us. A sign behind the counter even states that they use genuine Amoroso rolls.
I don't know if you'd ever find a cheesesteak in Philly served quite like this ...
... but the cheese was Cheez Whiz, and the roll was indeed from Amoroso's:
Thoroughly enjoyable. I will say that every single cheesesteak I've had here in Connecticut has had beef shaved somewhat more thinly than what I had at Pat's:
Oh - Philly's also had "Kobe Pizza Fries."
I assume that's a reference to Kobe Bryant. The fries were a nice experiment, but ultimately just made me wish I had real pizza.
Barring some other discovery, it seems like Philly's is about as close as I'm going to get. I'd say they do a fine job. The only problem is that that corner of Connecticut has its share of other good eats, such as Kamp Dog
, The Shack
, and the old fixture D'elia's
, so who knows when I'll get around to a return visit!