Triad Sub Review: Penn Station Subs
March 17, 2007
I’m starting a new set of posts on a subject that is near and dear to my stomach, submarine sandwiches. Some call them hoagies, some grinders but most people call them subs. Ever since I moved to the Triad in 1994 I’ve been looking for somewhere that offered sub sandwiches at least as good or better than the place I fell in love with them – Dibella’s Old Fashion Subs in Rochester NY. In over 10 years of looking around the Triad, nothing has even come close. So to try and help my fellow denizens, I’m going to review sub sandwiches from various eateries around the Triad. The first in the series is a new place that just opened off of 68 called Penn Station East Coast Subs.
The Penn Station restaurant I visited is located off of highway 68 in High Point, NC near the Deep River shopping center. Its currently only one of two shops open in a new plaza so traffic to and from the restaurant was no problem. The restaurant itself is quite small with tables lining one side and a few booths in the rear. This makes moving around inside Penn Station rather cramped with no real places to wait if you have placed a “to go” order. The number of subs to choose from was rather small, so I ordered the signature “Philly Cheese Steak” sub as well as a standard 10″ Italian as a good baseline for the review.
The heart of any great sub is its bread. You can usually tell how good a sandwich is going to be by the freshness of the hoagie roll it comes on. Since you can’t specify a type of bread with your order, you have to hope the standard white roll is good. Penn Station’s bread was fresh and crunchy, but not something you’d write home about.
The meats on the Italian sub were hearty and flavorful. The sub itself was packed with ingredients, although way too many onions for my liking, but good overall. The oil and spices used brought out the nice flavors one would expect from an Italian sub and didn’t make the bread soggy or overly greasy.
Since the cheese steak sandwich is the selection that the chain is supposedly famous for, I also ordered a regular 10″ cheese steak with no extras such as mayo, mustard or (eegad) pizza sauce. The result was adequate, but not overly wonderful. A bit greasy and heavy on banana peppers, I’m sure that true Philly residents would balk at the notion of this hoagie being a real “Cheese steak” sandwich. If I returned to Penn Station again, I would like to try their Reuben or Artichoke subs just to see how the less popular subs stack up. Their french fries were nothing spectacular, although the fresh squeezed lemonade was indeed quite good. Not too sweet and not too tart.
The Wrap Up
Overall my visit to Penn Station East Coast Subs was enjoyable. I got in and out with my food in a timely manor. The staff was courteous and the subs themselves were better than average. The price of each 10″ sub was $6.49, which is about what I would expect to pay. On the downside, the food selection is rather small, and the dining area is tiny and cramped. Lastly, although I noted that the restaurant received a 96.5 health rating as of February 2007, I did see some troublesome spots both in front of and behind the counter. Spilled drinks, unclean trash areas and several messes in the kitchen didn’t inspire my appetite as I was leaving.
All things being equal, I would return to Penn Station again and try some of their other subs and I would definitely recommend them over Quizno’s almost any day of the week. Perhaps my largest disappointment was the lack of “true” sub-type sandwiches. Most were the toasted, heated, types of gourmet sandwiches that seem to have taken over today’s sub shops. Even the Italian sub I ordered came toasted, and while not really a bad thing, it made Penn Station seem like just another Quizno’s. My search for the perfect Triad sub continues…
What about you? Have a special place in the Triad that you think serves up the best subs in town? Post them in the comments thread and point me in their direction. I just might review them here!