I don’t know how I have avoided this one for my seemingly brief 30 years on this planet, but I have never watched a Rocky movie from start to finish. Sure, I’ve seen the Russian dude pulverize Apollo Creed a couple times and I seem to remember some bit about Sylvester Stallone running up stairs pumping his sweaty fists, and later screaming the name of some dame named “Adrian,” but honestly, that’s about it. Call me un-American, but it’s just never happened for me. This is something I would never mention to anyone from the fine city of Philadelphia either, I’d just look like an uncouth, uncultured idiot. However, I would not be ashamed to say that this little joint in North Little Rock is dishing out a cheesesteak as good (or better) than anything you can find in Philly. Bold statement, but true, and Rocky’s Pub is putting its money where my mouth is.
I seem to have had fairly bad luck in the cheesesteak department. I’ve sampled the sandwich from cities across the country, but often I am left a bit disappointed. I’d nearly given up on the item all together, but after hearing some exciting buzz about Rocky’s version, I had to give the poor guy another shot. Oh, how happy I am that I did.
It may be impossible to objectively determine what makes any dish “perfect,” but if it were possible, Rocky’s “True Philly Cheesesteak” would be score pretty high. You won’t find anything shockingly unique shoved inside this sandwich, it’s a fairly common presentation, but it is executed as well as any cheesesteak I’ve ever eaten. A hoagie is sliced in half and filled with chopped New York strip steak, American or provolone cheese, golden fried onions, and a homemade tomato sauce. It may sound simple, maybe even boring, however it is anything but. The way the juicy, tender beef gets gently coated with a creamy layer of perfectly melted cheese, interlaced with a touch of onion, the hearty tomato sauce adding a sweetly acidic counterpoint to the richness of the cheese and beef…it’s the recipe for a true champion. As the hot cheese, beef juices, and tomato meld together they combine to create a luscious sauce that slowly seeps into the soft bread…one bite, and soon you forget all your troubles and begin softly humming “Eye of the Tiger,” for no apparent reason.
I can think of a dozen excuses for never having seen the Rocky films, but you, my friends, have no excuse for living another day without trying this beautiful sandwich. It’s a true American icon, not to be missed by anyone in Arkansas.
Oh, did I mention Rocky’s also makes some exquisite cheese fries? Well, they do. Go and partake.
6929 John F Kennedy Blvd
North Little Rock