the short and tall of food

a couple's adventures in eating

Laspada’s (Orlando, FL)

Philly Cheesesteak with onions, sweet & hot peppers

Restaurant: Laspada’s Original Cheesesteak & Hoagies
Location: 1010 Lee Road, Orlando, FL

The Food:
Philly Cheesesteak with onions, sweet & hot peppers, and fries
The Price: $6.55 plus tax
The Critique: The elegant simplicity of the Philly cheesesteak sandwich: bread, steak, onions, cheese. How can anyone mess this up? Trust me. They can. Not Laspada’s, though. This is the understatement of the year. Forget every Friday’s, work cafeteria, or IHOP’s cheesesteak sandwich…yes IHOP has one. Laspada’s does it the old-fashioned way. AMAZING.

I have frequented Laspada’s for several years now. My first visit was on the first week they opened this location on Lee Rd. Believe it or not, their cheeseteak was not the first menu item for which I sprung. I got their classic Italian hoagie. This sandwich is so massive that the meat has to be anchored by your forefinger, as your thumb and middle finger grip the sides of the sandwich, but I digest. On to the task at hand: The Cheesesteak.

Any Philadelphian worth his weight in salted pretzels will tell you that there is only one roll worthy of holding the cheesy, unctuous, steaky goodness that is the “Philly”. That bread: The Amoroso Roll. Laspada’s agrees, and with planned disregard to placement, boxes of these crusty pillows of heaven are scattered (label out) about the restaurant as if to say, “oh yeah, we went there.”

The cheesesteak leaves the kitchen steaming hot. No worries if you are concerned about the cheese melting. As a matter of fact, the cheese is almost woven into the meat with a technique so simple, an artisan couldn’t do it. The meat is tender, juicy, and deliciously seasoned. I think the fellow behind the counter might have accidentally shared his secret (Looks like Lawry’s Seasoning Salt to me).

Get the small sandwich. It will be enough. If you can eat, spring for the large, but let the buyer beware. You will have leftovers.

In short, get to Laspada’s yesterday. You can’t go wrong.

The Verdict: I look way, way up to this sandwich.


Laspada's 2

Chicken cheesesteak with just cheese

The Food:
Chicken Cheesesteak with White American cheese and fries
The Price:
$6.55 plus tax
The Critique:
Timothy being a Florida boy with Philly family had frequented this place before we met. Seeing as how our relationship has cultivated itself on food, food and more food (he’s Greek, I’m Southern; a sheer inevitability), this was a no-brainer destination for a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Admittedly, I’m a suicidal “culinarian” in that I’ve had one Philly cheesesteak my whole life. Additionally, I have some strange opposition to onions hanging out atop my sandwich. So, I ordered the chicken cheesesteak. It was utter perfection for my childlike palate (“Ew! Onions are slimy!”). The chicken literally oozed with flavor. The juicy combination of salt and creamy melted cheese contrasted perfectly with the crispiness of the hoagie which was on that perfect cusp of being too toasted, which I love.

The setting was spectacularly unadorned: sun-bleached Philadelphia memorabilia, mismatched chairs to wobbly tables, a hodgepodge of Tastykake pastries piled carelessly on a snack rack. Great food is rarely matched with posh ambience.
The Verdict: A meal I look UP to!

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3 comments on “Laspada’s (Orlando, FL)

  1. thisfloridalife
    August 11, 2012

    Great post, I will have to give it a try sometime!

    • cantimothy
      August 12, 2012

      Aw- you’re our first non-default, real life commenter! Thank you!

  2. Jose
    August 22, 2012

    I will say that LaSpada’s cheesesteaks are alright by Central FL standards, but they are nowhere near being good enough to be called great. Having grown up in Philly eating TONS of cheesesteaks, I can tell you that LaSpada’s cheesesteaks are mediocre at best. Being a proud Philadelphian, I’ve always been a huge fan of the cheesesteak. Over the years, I always made it my business to try different ones whenever I could, whether from the famous Pat’s/Geno’s/Steve’s/Tony Luke’s type places to the hundreds of “hole in the wall” pizza joints throughout the city. While LaSpada’s makes a valiant effort, they manage to fall a bit short of cheesesteak nirvana.

    One of the main problems I have with their cheesesteak is the meat. If you look behind the counter at the grill area, you will see a big pile of meat sitting in a bin already precooked. While this approach works well with the Philly-based high-turnover establishments, it simply doesn’t work here and frankly, I find it a bit. My wife and I went to the LaSpada’s on Lee Rd a few months back and were the only customers there. I started to think about it and became grossed out at the thought of the precooked meat just sitting there all day waiting for people to buy it. Thinly-sliced sirloin takes only a few minutes to cook up, so keeping the bins of precooked meat at the ready is simply lazy and greatly affects quality.

    The other issue I have with them is the bread. While they may go the extra mile to use Amoroso rolls (as they should), the bread must be imported from the Philadelphia area so it’s never as fresh as it would be up there. As a result, they are forced to toast the hell out of the roll to remedy the “day old” texture of the roll. A real Philly cheesesteak has a nice, soft, fresh roll with a lightly crispy crust and soft interior that melts in your mouth. They could make a much better product if they were to find a local source of comparable Italian rolls and have them delivered fresh daily. It may not be Amoroso’s, but I’m sure it’d still be better than 1-2 day old imported Amoroso rolls.

    If LaSpada’s were to use fresh sirloin cooked to order and fresh local Italian rolls, they would have an absolutely PHENOMENAL product. As it stands currently, if I had one of these cheesesteaks in Philly, I’d give them 1 star out of 5. Since they’re down here in FL, I’ll go ahead and give them 3 stars because there is simply nothing else that I’ve found better in this area and I’m feeling a bit generous at the moment. I won’t be returning to them in the future, and will continue my quest to find the best cheesesteak in Central FL!

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This entry was posted on August 11, 2012 by in American, Florida Food, Hole In The Wall, Restaurant and tagged , , .

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