Tuesday, January 26, 2010

DiNic's Roast Pork

Things have been quiet around here the last few days but that's only because I've been busy eating and drinking my way around town with a group of friends who'd gathered in Philly for an extended bachelor's party weekend. Not to worry, there's no extended blow-by-blow on the horizon but at least a few of the details are ready for prime time play.

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A must stop on my short list of places to take friends visiting from out of town, the Reading Terminal Market has been a Philadelphia institution since it first opened its doors in 1893, One of the country's oldest public markets, there really is something there for everyone: excellent butchers and produce purveyors, cookbooks and kitchen supplies, one of the city's best cheese mongers, crack cookies.... There's also a fabulous array of what are essentially indoor street food vendors from which to choose, making the RTM a great spot to go for lunch when everyone in your crew wants something different.

Even with all the great choices, there's one that always seems to call my name: Tommy DiNic's Roast Pork and Beef. DiNic's for short. The rest is a given.

Visiting the RTM for the first time at mid-day on a Saturday is akin to baptism by fire. You get to see the market in full swing, experience the energy and bustle of peak traffic. But if you're claustrophobic or crowd averse, it can be a bit overwhelming. Suffice it to say that every aisle is a constant traffic jam and every seat is snapped up within seconds of being vacated. You'll get only a slight sense of it from the above picture of DiNic's, where the line actually wrapped around all three sides of their "end of block" space at the market's center before doubling back to the order and pick-up area. We were lucky on this day, as four guys handed over their seats at the counter just as we had made it to that point in the line.

The Philly cheesesteak might steal all the thunder when it comes to our fine town's sandwich traditions but I'll go for roast pork four times out of five. And I think there's little question that DiNic's is one of its foremost practitioners.

DiNic's offers hand-carved roast beef, brisket, pulled pork and grilled sausages, all of which are quite admirable. Just as DiNic's always calls my name, though, it's only one of their sandwiches that does the same: their roast pork. It's one of those things that is so good I just have to order it every time, no matter what else is on tap. My preferred version is exactly what you see above: roast pork with provolone and greens. On any given day, the greens option may include broccoli rabe and/or spinach. While both are excellent, I favor the spinach, which adds to the overall flavor of the sandwich without dominating the succulence of the pork. The provolone is very sharp, accent on very, so much so that it actually adds a piquant aspect to the experience. The pork, though, flavorful and tender, awash in its own pan juices, along with the soft roll that willingly soaks up all those delicious drippings, is what really makes it special.

I'm not sure there's a better post-pub-crawl recovery meal or, for that matter, a finer pre-pub-crawl prep. On this weekend, it served more than admirably in both capacities.

Tommy DiNic's Roast Pork and Beef
1136 Arch Street
(in the Reading Terminal Market)
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 923-6175
Tommy DiNic's Roast Pork and Beef on Urbanspoon


TWG said...

I love Roast Pork sandwiches but the pickings are slim in NJ

Rozita said...

Here is my blog for restaurants in my country Restaurants in Macedonia

David McDuff said...

Ah, but Jersey has pork roll, Tom....

Hi Rozita,
Thanks for stopping by.

Joe Manekin said...

That looks (and sounds) like quite the sandwich, McDuff!

David McDuff said...

Definitely delicious, Joe. Whether or not you're a roast pork fan, I'm sure you'd dig walking the aisles at the Reading Terminal Market. Be sure to check it out when next you visit Philly.

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