Because Rocco’s is a drive-thru (though walk-up and call ahead are also available), getting these sandwiches inevitably leads to a moment, in the car, on the way home, where one is forcibly trapped in the car with the taunting aromas of sandwich bliss. As the smell of seared beef, melting cheese and freshly baked bread all meld together and waft upwards, it is certainly tempting to pull off to the side of the road and tear right into one of Rocco’s delicious steaks.
Once a safe location for eating has been found, it’s easy to determine that these sandwiches ($7-8) are the most authentic Philly-style cheese steaks the Main Line has to offer. They’re 100% Rib-Eye steak, sliced thinly and cooked fresh-to-order (expect to wait a bit longer than you do at Pat’s or Geno’s), then folded into a fresh Amoroso-style bun. For those used to to the chopped steaks served up by most pizza joints in the ‘Burbs, this may take some getting used to, but 77 years of success at 9th and Passyunk certainly should convince you give it a try. The beef itself is excellent — with a rich, beefy flavor, and just enough fat to add taste without creating tough gristle. The bread is insanely fresh, soft and pillowy with just a touch of chewiness to hold things together. But perhaps the most amazing thing about this sandwich is how greasy it is NOT — and because of this, that it doesn’t sit like a brick in your stomach for hours after you eat it (like so many other steaks). In sum, it is an incredibly flavorful, fresh sandwich and one of the finest steak sandwiches we’ve ever eaten.
We also tried the Roast Pork Abruzzese ($8), which contained sliced roasted pork, sharp provolone and broccoli rabe, on the same fresh bun. This sandwich also had a great deal of flavor, with the pork gravy, cheese and bitterness of the greens all coming together in each bite. Though this sandwich was excellent, it is harder to gush about considering how easy it is to find a great roast pork sandwich in the suburbs (see the Pork Mile) versus how difficult it is to find an authentic cheese steak in the same area. (Interestingly, though we didn’t try Rocco’s chicken cutlet, it seems unlikely that they can beat Primo’s cutlet, available just down the street.)
Which brings us back to the cheese steak: Rocco’s has a great one. Enjoy it.