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Nov 10, 2008 06:50 AM

Best Sandwich in the World

Howdy folks. A couple of months ago I stumbled across the Reubens sandwich, which is probably my favorite sandwich now. I just wondered if there were any other top-grade sandwiches I didn't know about. What's your favorite? As a trade, here are some of mine:

Turkey/Chicken and coleslaw (good for xmas lefovers)
Turkey and stilton (ditto, but a little dry)
wafer thin ham (lots) and supermarket cheese and chive sandwich spread

Not particularly inventive eh? Bonus points for unusual ingredients or fish.

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  1. If you had asked me a week ago I wouldn't have had an opinion. But since then I have eaten a Philly Cheesesteak made with top loin steak, griddled onions, provolone cheese - and most important of all - an Amaroso roll. The sliced beef, onions and cheese melt together into a succulent mass reminiscent of French onion soup, and the crusty Amaroso roll soaks up the sandwich juices while somehow retaining a crusty outside and pleasing chewiness. I can't imagine a more perfect sandwich combination.

    I got this sandwich from Balboa's in Indianapolis and I can't recommend that place enough.

    25 Replies
    1. re: RealMenJulienne

      That sounds nice. I had one once in a chain bar, but I'd forgotten it until now. What's provalone? Ever since Frash and Wild closed by me, it's a bit of a pain to find decent cheese. Anything else that might work?

      Also, what's Amaroso?

      1. re: Soop

        White American.

        The place I worked at used shaved Ribeyed for our Philly's.

        1. re: Soop

          Soop, I find that the Philly cheesesteak is only worth eating at the higher levels of quality; that's why I was indifferent to them until last week! So if you had one at a chain bar I suggest you give it another try at a place which specializes in them.

          Provolone is a sharp white cheese. You can get an OK version at any grocery store, but a cheese shop is much better.

          Amaroso rolls are made in Philly by a local baking company. Before actually eating one I had always smirked at the glowing testimonials of this roll from Philly natives, but I know better now. The crusty, chewy texture is essential to hold together the drippy steak, onion and cheese.

          1. re: RealMenJulienne

            i must be getting crummy provolone, but i don't associate provolone as a sharp cheese. maybe i would describe it as having almost a meat-like savoriness, or ... well, i'm stuck. nuttiness? ah, from the venerable wiki, i learn that the taste of various provolone can vary widely. "Provolone is a semi-hard cheese with taste varying greatly from Provolone Piccante (piquant), aged minimum 4 months and with a very sharp taste, to Provolone Dolce (sweet) with a very mild taste."

            this says provolone can be from buffalo or cow's milk, and ranges from mild to sharp (piccante):

            i wonder if sharpness is due solely to age, or is regional?

            this buonotavola provolone is described as sharp, too.
            -- nice cheese website -- searchable by various criteria

            i'd love to do a taste test, but i need to find a cheesemonger with a few varieties -- not my local italian deli that only has one type in the deli case. maybe i should look again.

            i love it on the italian subs i get, though! thanks italian store!

            1. re: alkapal

              I would describe provolone cheese as having an almost sweet and sour taste.
              Provolone cheese is to American cheese as sour dough bread is to white bread.

          2. re: Soop

            Provolone. It is really good, slightly smoked, rich, tasty, stand alone cheese.

            1. re: VenusCafe

              Provolone can be smoked, but is not always. The smoked version is a more standalone cheese, the unsmoked is better on sandwiches.

              1. re: BobB

                I like provolone cheese very much, do not like smoked provolone at all

            2. re: Soop

              Most provalone I've ever had sliced was rubbery and bland. Not calorie worthy. Would havarti work?

              1. re: Angelacason

                Was it the pre-sliced packaged provolone or deli provolone? Pre-packaged is pretty bad, but in my area most delis have a good variety of provolones ranging from mild to sharp that are definitely calorie worthy.

                I'm surprised a shop in Indi would have Amoroso's rolls. They're a staple cheesesteak & hoagie roll here in Philadelphia. Or maybe Amaroso is just a take on Philly's Amoroso?

                1. re: gaffk

                  Our guy Johnny here in Southern Oregon has em shipped in all the time. :)

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Provolone. Never had a cheese whiz steak. I guess I'm old . . .whiz wasn't an option at the spots I went to as a kid. I don't see why you'd ruin a steak with that processed junk.

                      I've never had Angela's problem of a rubbery, bland provolone, but then Philly has some great provolone . I think the trick is that the prov has to be placed on the steak as it's cooking, so it melts properly.

                      1. re: gaffk

                        Never taken an artifical whiz either, I want a big natural provelone movement. Peppers and onions too; keep the canned mushrooms.

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          Philly is too close to Kennet Square to even fathom canned mushrooms. Take a short, pleasant drive through the country and you can get any type of mushroom you didn't even know you craved.

                          1. re: gaffk

                            Young lady, Kennett Square and I have been well acquainted since 1967. The Mushroom Capitol of the World. I did some work there and for several nights found this great bar that all the entres were made w/ mushrooms. The shrooms, did not help my dart game, however.

                            1. re: gaffk

                              Easy ^^^ to find if you're in Philly?
                              So many shrooms I can't get at home.
                              Would love to find some specialty ones.

                    2. re: Angelacason

                      IMHO, havarti almost always works :-) Yes, I just love that stuff!

                  1. re: RealMenJulienne

                    What could substitute for an Amoroso roll? (I'm a long way from Philly.) Most Google results say "there IS no substitute!" but I'm hoping a Chowhound could suggest something.

                    1. re: mickie44

                      I've only been to Philly once for a cheesesteak (Steve's Prince of Steaks) and they keep the roll a secret, although I've heard that it comes from a bakery whose name begins with a V. I know from reading many posts here and on Roadfood that Amoroso's rolls are popular and common in Philly. I've also read that many cheesesteak afficionados consider Sarcone's rolls not only a substitute or alternative to Amoroso's, but superior. I believe that Holly, of considers sarcone's to be better. What do those of you who have had both think?

                      1. re: hotdoglover

                        Looks like Sarcone's bakery is in Philly too. Can anyone describe the roll so I could substitute it here on the west coast? Would a kaiser even approach the apparent heaven that exists in Amoroso and Sarcone rolls? We have some decent bakeries but I don't know what to look for.

                      2. re: mickie44

                        For anyone from Philly there really is no substitute however a good Itailian loaf soft inside with a bit of crisp on the outside will work. I've even tried a French Baggette here in florida. Rather than buying something in plastic bags which keep the rolls too soft buy them out of the bin and keep in a paper bag.

                        Steve's Prince of Steaks makes an excellent sandwich comparible to the famous Geno's which I like betrer than the originator Pat's across the street.

                        Shaved rib eye will work for anyone making the sandwich at home however, Geno's and Steve's uses thin sliced rib eye. DICED grilled onions adds to the sandwich as the diced holds the sweetness more than sliced. Almost always these onions are better at the steak places as they sit on the grill and absorb all the jucies from many steaks.

                        When visiting South Florida in Delray Beach on Altantic Ave in town is Big Al's Steaks. He uses the same suppliers as Geno's and brings in the same Philly Roll so this is the real thing.

                        1. re: captelliot

                          "DICED grilled onions adds to the sandwich as the diced holds the sweetness more than sliced."
                          odd, but true in my experience, too.

                        2. re: mickie44

                          For what it's worth Peter Reinhart has a recipe for cheesesteak rolls in his "Artisan Bread Every Day" - he's from Philadelphia and says they're as close as he can get to the holy grail.

                        3. re: RealMenJulienne

                          Word! Totally agree. Nice folks as well! And always ask for the cheese whiz!

                        4. 1) Philly Cheesesteak
                          2) Italian Beef
                          3) Rueben
                          4) Muffaletta
                          5) Italian Sub(Mortadella, salami, capicola, provolone, italian dressing)
                          6) Banh Mi

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: swsidejim

                            All of the above including, Patty Melt and classic Hot Pastrami on rye with mustard.

                            1. re: swsidejim

                              That's some good sandwich. I had to look a couple of them up, bhan mi seems to be more of a genre of sandwich than a specific recipe. Any particular one?

                              Also, what's in Italian beef?

                              1. re: Soop

                                The Banh Mi varieties I have had have been pork, or chicken, I like the ones with a fried egg on top.

                                Italian Beef? A Chicago specialty. Thin cut roat beef served on an italian roll, and either dipped in, or ladeled with the "juice". Served with hot giardinara(peppers in oil) on top

                                1. re: swsidejim

                                  Dude, that sounds great. Next time I get steak, I think I'll end up making sandwiches with it!

                                  1. re: Soop

                                    Just be aware, Soop, that an authentic Italian beef sandwich is a rump or round roast braised tender in a specific blend of seasonings (predominantly oregano), sliced very thin and piled on a crusty French roll or slice of baguette. It's topped off with the juice and then spicy and/or sweet green peppers finish it off.

                                    I can't vouch for the authenticity of this recipe (the bell peppers are missing) but it will give you an idea:

                                    1. re: chicgail

                                      I wouldn't even allow for the baguette. Without the French roll, it's just a sandwich.

                                1. re: BobB

                                  Cool, what's cuban bread like? Looks to be a bit fluffy - almost bagel-like

                                  1. re: Soop

                                    Not as chewy as a real bagel, closer to an unseasoned foccacia.

                                1. re: kmcarr

                                  Yeah, I love a good BLT :3 Crispy bacon, fresh cold mayo (or caesar sauce!) and the finest tomatoes and lettuce. On toasted white bread... Man I had one about 2-3 weeks ago with propper dry-cured bacon, and it was stunning. I just went to the fridge, and it was all there!

                                  1. re: Soop

                                    If I can't get a great fried clam roll (with Bellies!), then a BLT is heaven!

                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                      can't argue with that... now I'm off to find a clam roll!

                                      1. re: steinpilz

                                        Well, if you're from my current neck of the woods (PA), you'll have to look far and wide.......and probably end up driving at least 150 miles each way! Alas.

                                        And if you happened to grow up in SE Mass, a Portuguese Linguica sausage sandwich with just a touch of sauce was nirvana!

                                  2. re: kmcarr

                                    Indeed, a good BLT with really good bread, fresh tomato and bacon is hard to beat. Even in less then ideal situations, like in the middle of nowhere, the bacon and toast will still you get you much of the buzz. Safest road food ever IMO but done right..sublime.

                                    The club sandwich, Italian beef and fried oyster sandwich can also be very good. My current favorite is the torta al pastor. Done right it has some of the same qualities of the Italian beef...but pork and a nice kick of salsa.

                                    p.s. a fresh BBQ tri tip sandwich can also be exceptional.

                                    1. re: kmcarr

                                      I go overboard w/the bacon and oven cook a batch sprinkled heavily w/brown sugar and TONS of cracked black pepper

                                      Adds immesurably to the classic BLT

                                    2. In no particular order:

                                      The pork with sharp provolone and rapini from Tony Luke's in Philadelphia. Roasted pork on an Amarosso roll but the sharpness of the cheese and the rapini set it off.

                                      The Bolito from the market in Florence Italy. Boiled beef belly with a great spicy pesto sauce on a soft roll. Absolutely fantastic.

                                      Crabcake from Faidley in the Lexington Market in Baltimore. Baltimore is the crabcake kingdom and Faidley is the king of the crabcakes.

                                      All attempts to re-create in my own kitchen have fallen well shy of all three.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: KAZ

                                        crabcake sandwich is a good call.

                                        1. re: KAZ

                                          This provolone is definitely something to look into!

                                          1. re: Soop

                                            The provolone on a cheesesteak vs the provolone on a roast pork sandwich are generally two different things. For a steak sandwich, deli sliced provolone is generally used as it melts better, but even deli provolone can vary in sharpness. On a roast pork you use sharp provolone from a cheese store - aged, drier, not particularly ameniable to melting and you get "shards" of it on your sandwich which contrast nicely with the warm smooth pork and the bitter rabe. Guess I know what's for dinner tonight! (happily Phila is home)

                                          2. re: KAZ

                                            Entirely agree about Faidleys, what a memory.

                                            1. re: KAZ

                                              Had a crabcake at Faidley's this week! Still one of my favorites!

                                              Another great Baltimore offering is Pit Beef sandwiches. Piled high on an oversized bun.

                                              Herb Rubbed Mahi Mahi sandwich at Pusser's in Annapolis. Mahi filet with Key West herbs and topped with LTO and mango corn relish. yum.

                                            2. *looks around* No fish sandwiches yet. Aren't the Jewish and polish big on that dried fish? Maybe that's a possibility... Or anchovies. Yum.

                                              3 Replies
                                                1. re: Sloth

                                                  po' boy, another one I forgot on my list. good call.