When I stopped by Hog Island Italian Deli recently, I had an austere meatball-parmesan hoagie (which I mean as a compliment). Nicely textured parmesan-cheese meatballs were topped with just enough of their well-balanced East-Coast-Italian-American-style marinara sauce, plus good provolone, pecorino, and a sprinkle of oregano. This sandwich even travels well: That’s how restrained they are with their saucing. And I love those rolls they use for their hoagies. Since my last post on Hog Island, I’ve also tried their Old Italian hoagie, which was highly recommended by other ‘hounds. This was a nice combo of semi-dry capicolla, sopressata, genoa salami, mortadella, provolone, and excellent housemade roasted red peppers. Personally, my sandwich philosophy is of the “less is more” school. For that reason, my personal favorite of the cold hoagies is still the paisano (which I raved about here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/310139 ).
I also found out that the owners are going to be running the kitchen of a soon-to-open branch of the sports-bar-chain Third Base. Training is currently taking place in the kitchen of Hog Island. A glance at their practice session indicated that some new fare will be on the menu at Third Base (typical bar-fare like nachos and burgers). But customers will also be able to enjoy their delicious cheesesteaks and other hoagies. Apparently, they’re even working on cheesesteak “egg rolls.” If they use good wrappers and fry them up right, they might prove to be a no-muss way to enjoy the flavors of the Philly classic.
Third Base will be located at 1717 W. 6th Street (at MoPac). Their website claims that they’re opening in winter 2006; a myspace page claims February 2007. Through an on-line search, I saw that recommendation was pending on the approval of Third Base’s late-hours permit to serve alcohol after midnight, according to the agenda for the December 12 City Council meeting. Their myspace page also indicates that they’re still hiring staff.
I'm not a fan of chains in general, but Third Base's Hog-Island connection might be good news for ‘hounds who like to enjoy their cheesesteaks in a sports-bar atmosphere. I’m more excited about the fact that Third Base may, unlike Hog Island, have a parking lot.