Posted By Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
2/28/2013 6:17:00 PM
Carmen's Deli has achieved a measure of national fame from a visit by The Next Food Network Star winner Aaron "Big Daddy" McCargo, Jr. His sandwich of choice for The Best Thing I Ever Ate was a Carmen's cheesesteak with fried onions and cherry peppers. That combo is now listed on the menu as the Big Daddy, and we gave it a try ("we" being Bruce and the ayersian couple of Chris and Amy). It was quite alright, with plenty of meat, but it didn't blow us away. Needed more onions and cheese, and the peppers were sparse and too timid. Better than average but not Roadfood-worthy.
We were on a cheesesteak sampling tour, but our radar told us we ought to also order a hoagie, and it's lucky we did because the Rose's Special was a very fine hoagie indeed, with both sharp and mild provolone, sopressata, prosciutto, hot capicola, roasted peppers, onions, tomatoes, oregano, and oil. The hoagie roll, which didn't seem quite up to the task with the cheesesteak, offered the proper amount of crust and chew around the cold meats and cheeses.
There's nowhere to eat inside Carmen's; it's strictly takeout. The trunk of our car and the sunny winter's day worked just fine for us. I'm not sure how Chris and Amy feel but speaking for myself, I'd love to return for another Rose's Special, as well as the Papa John with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, and salami. We might even be able to "special request" a cheesesteak more to our liking, with extra onions and cheese, and long hots instead of cherry peppers.