I had always assumed that Philadelphia cheese (and Bruce Springsteen) came from Philadelphia. I was wrong on both counts. I had also assumed that a philly cheesesteak actually contained Philadelphia cheese. I, thankfully, was also wrong about that. Â And I had definitely assumed that if anyone were ever to make a philly cheesesteak in Paris, it would probably be “frenchified” in the same way as curry, tacos and sushi (which bizarrely does often actually contain Philadelphia cheese).
And boy was I wrong about that.
Following in the footsteps of other Parisian food trucks, the always delicious, ever-popular mobile burger joint Le Camion qui Fume’ has set up a stationary restaurant that serves, amongst other things, a phenomenal philly cheesesteak.
Freddie’s Deli – the charming, laid-back, all-American Belleville eatery – opened its aqua blue doors last month, and despite the August exodus, has had a steady stream of patrons ever since. But, with a sandwich’ menu offering fillings like homemade pastrami with choucroute and thousand island dressing, shredded pork with guacamole and spicy cheese, tuna fillet with chipotle and crudités, and parmesan aubergine gratin with smoked cheese – I am not at all surprised.
I had the Freddie from Philly cheesesteak (with the spice it up option’) – fine slices of perfectly cooked entrecote steak nestled in amongst a mélange of diced, grilled peppers, onions and aubergine, topped with a spicy chipotle mayonnaise and replete with melted provolone which oozed in stringy goodness out the sides of a light, soft crust hoagie.
It was unbelievable.
And then there’s the Goodman – which should really be called the Greatman – with its high-rise stack of pickled-on-premises pastrami, cornichons and American mustard lounging in between slices of rye bread from boulanger extraordinaire Gontran Cherrier.
What’s more, there is Brooklyn lager in the fridge, refillable soda on tap, coleslaw and Tyrells chips on the side and a washbasin to wipe that cheesy provolone grin off your face.
Oh and did I mention they do an oreo cookie cheese-cake, with a ridiculously dense cream cheese oreo filling, a thick oreo base that will break your plastic fork and a mini oreo on top? It would have been rude not to.
I do love a good food truck â€“ there is something thrilling about finding the next location, waiting in the inevitable line and braving the elements for a stand out, stand-up burger.Â But when cheesesteak and cheesecake are served up with comfortable chairs, speedy service and refillable iced tea, the immoveable feast at Freddie’s Deli is pretty appealing too.
Emerald Bond (author of www.agoodforking.com)
22 rue crespin du gast, 75011 Paris
Tue – Sun: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm