BOCA Magazine April, 2009
Big Big Al Rules
I don’t know about you, but I’m a sandwich kind of guy. Give me a choice between a slab of foie gras, a fat lobster tail the size of a hose and a good ham ‘n’ cheese sammie and, for lunch at least, I’ll take the sammie nine times out of 10. Not just the standard deli concoctions or more fevered stylings of “gourmet” restaurants but sandwiches that can be tossed together with any odds and ends that happen to be hiding in my refrigerator. My mentor in these things is Francis X. Delaney, the fictional detective in the late Lawrence Sanders “Deadly Things” series of novels, who could turn gold into a sardine sandwich before you could say, “You’re under arrest.”
But that’s a topic for another time.
Today I’m thinking about where to go for a big, hearty, filling, mouth-watering sammie, one that will grab my appetite by the throat and shake it until it begs for mercy but will treat my wallet as if it was made of Venetian crystal. So one of the first places I thought of was Big Al’s Steaks in Delray. In the pantheon of sandwiches, the Philly cheesesteak ranks up there with the best of them. Thin-sliced beef, fried onions and Cheez Whiz crammed into a soft roll, the cheesesteak is a gloriously greasy, juicy, unhealthy, delicious meal, and of all the cheesesteaks I’ve had in SoFla (which, admittedly is not a huge number), Big Al’s is the best.
It better be, because while Al uses real ribeye steak and bread brought in from Philadelphia itself, he doesn’t much care about things like service, ambiance and a place to sit. You stand on the sidewalk and order at the counter, watch as the ribeye and onions hit the griddle, get scooped up and stuffed into the split roll and drenched with the neon, cheeselike Whiz, then get going and start chowing. Eight inches of cholesterol-laden goodness costs less than 10 bucks, a real bargain in these times of economic gloom, doom and brou-ha-ha.
561-819-1888, or by fax at 954-449-0405.