J. Michael’s Philly Deli

11 Nov

Rating: 1 Ranch

This place has a been a staple birthday dinner of my youngest brother for as long as I can remember. Every year we trek out to Porters Neck because for some reason family tradition dictates we must go to the furthest one. Don’t ask me why; it’s free food and I’m down. This also makes reviewing this place by “food” standards as difficult as rating Spaghetti-os by pasta standards. If you’ve grown up eating it, it tastes as it should. You like it. Does that make it good? Probably not. But after much debate I decided to attempt a review.

The menu is mostly apps, burgers, and subs, but the big thing are their phillys. Many a Wilmingtonian swears by them and hey, I’m not here to judge them. The natives, I mean. Of course these phillys will be judged. The ordering around the table is pretty much the same with different adds/subtracts on the phillys. The waitress takes our drink orders and since they have my favorite craft microbrew in bottle I get that (PBR).  I barely glanced at the menu since I’ve been ordering this shit fo years, son! (sorry that coffee martini is getting to me) I order the mozz sticks, a 2 piece chicken tender, and a philly hoagie with mayo. I notice while the food is being prepared that there’s some weird basket of pickle spears on the table.  Yes, for a second review, there are pickles. I like pickles, but they are just pickles so who cares? Im not even sure if they were ordered or brought out as some pre-app.

available for purchase at your local costco

Ok first up are the chicken tenders. They are almost certainly the frozen ones you’ve had in a million other bars/diners/cafes and taste like chicken and pepper. Not to worry, I ordered the Ranch as the dipping sauce. J. Michael’s has some of the best Ranch ever. In the history of this one post. Its slightly watery and possibly the home-made kind. Don’t care what magic creates it I just know I love it. The Ranch makes the tenders taste like Ranch so I approve. I was slightly worried when they brought the food out; my tenders had fries with them. Which is indicative of a kids meal, not a 2 piecer. The waitress informed me the cooks had messed up and the fires were no charge. Huzzah! Actually I didn’t really care for their fries but free food is good food as I just started saying so pretty cool of them. Fries were big wedges that were once again the average frozen variety.

Onto the mozz sticks which have been a favorite for years. The sticks are breaded with actual bread crumbs. I appreciate this. At least it wasn’t those weird floured farmrich walmart ones, so if they are frozen they’re the better kind. The marinara sauce has always been my favorite part of getting the sticks but this time it wasn’t as great. It seemed thicker and a little off tasting, it may have been the bottom of the bucket or the fact I was trying to review it. I’m going to say they make this in-house since I haven’t ever tasted another sauce that came close. It’s a bit more vinegary than your normal marinara and works well with the fried greasy sweetness of mozz sticks. I ended up dosing those in ranch after a few bites with the sauce though; man the Ranch makes everything awesome.

I ordered my philly hoagie style (lettuce and tomato) and yes I know that’s not traditional. Don’t care, that’s how I like it. My brother got the large while I got the small. After we had taken a few bites he grinned at me and stated “This isn’t a race. But if it was, I’d be winning.” Challenge accepted. Heated scromming occurred and I can’t say I tasted most of my philly. What I did taste was (also) frozen thin slices of steak with some tasteless cheese. It had soft bread and I have to say I’m a fan of a crustier bread with subs especially when it’s a hot messy one that needs something more substantial to hold it in. The point of this story is I won with a few of his bites to spare. Upon my glorious victory dance, my brother then asked me with an even larger grin “What’s wrong with you? I told you it wasn’t a race”

I come from a family of trolls.

This “deli” is a grilled/fried frozen food supplier. And I’m ok with that. It tastes exactly how I remember and its not claiming to be a 4 star affair. The phillys are pretty good if you’re judging from that stand point, and most drunks I know would claim the food delicious after a few beers. I think this place would go down easier if it was more of a bar with decent munchies than an actual restaurant, but either way I was satisfied. I am going to judge it based on how many of the Ranch you should order with each item. And 1 is not too shabby.

J Michael's Philly Deli on Urbanspoon

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