Day 28: From Philly to Midtown: Shorty’s on Wheels.
Shorty’s has been serving delicious cheesesteaks to hungry NYC grubbers for years, but does their truck offer the same quality stuff as their two brick and mortars? I stopped by Shorty’s on Wheels just before closing to find out. The truck has been prowling NYC streets for 2 months, but had already earned them a reader NOMination for a visit. I asked Mike at the window for my ususal (you decide!) and received an order of Italian Fries and a sampling of two of their top sellers – the classic Cheesesteak w/ Whiz, and a Steak Special – Broccoli Rabe w/ Provolone.
The sandwiches were hefty. My w/ Whiz was stuffed with creamy cheese, onions, and piled high with steak, and although it didn’t have my favorite crispy burnt edges, the meat here was just so unbelievably tender and moist, I easily forgot about it. Mike tells me their bread is what truly sets them apart, and I believe him. Twice baked- it made for a flaky, crispy, toasted shell, but left the insides as soft as any fresh bread I’d ever eaten. They get their bread straight from Philly and bake them a second time for a taste and texture that I can say betters that of once-baked fresh bread. There’s just something about twice-baked bread that makes the contrasting textures of hard shell and soft insides so drastic, yet balanced.
The Steak Special was my favorite. The w/Whiz was good, but I’m just not a big fan of the artificial taste of Cheez Whiz. The sharp Provolone of the special, and that super tender steak (you just have to try it for yourself) made for a sandwich that tasted more at home in a fork and knife setting than out on the street. The broccoli rabe was tender, sweet, with a hint of garlic and butter, and didn’t contain any of its inherent bitter qualities. The accompanying onions were plentiful, and served to balance the sweet and savory with a whisper of spicy. The Provolone was so sharp, yet milky smooth, and combined with that awesome twice-baked bread, I felt luxurious eating it. I stuffed a few crispy fries into the last bites of my special and wished I’d done so sooner. The bold flavors from the Italian seasoning and Romano cheese combined with the crunchy texture were a perfect pairing with the sandwich. There’s no doubt I’ll be visiting their brick and mortar locations to have a second sampling. Thanks Mike and Shorty’s on Wheels!