TODAY’S LUNCH: STEAK & PORTOBELLO HERO FROM TONY DRAGONAS’ CART

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I recently found out that Tony Dragonas’ brother has a cart on 64th & Madison, 2 blocks north of Tony’s cart.  I wanted to try it out, but they were filming an episode of White Collar on that block and the cart didn’t seem to be around.  (This was yesterday.)

So I ended up back at Tony’s cart on the SW corner of 62nd & Madison Ave, but wanted to try something new.  Today’s Lunch is Tony’s Special ribeye steak and portobello mushroom hero, which I’ve never had before.

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There aren’t a lot of options in that area apart from $25 lunches at fancy restaurants, which is one reason there is always a long line at Tony’s cart.  The other reason is his food.  Tony was a finalist for the very first Vendy Award back in 2005.  Was his food still Vendy-level quality 5 years later?  Find out after the jump.

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One thing that differentiates Tony’s cart is he has both a griddle-type grill that most other carts have – but he also has a charcoal grill on one side of the cart.  This gives the food a char-grilled flavor that can’t be replicated with only a griddle.

First he put some fresh mozzarella and arugula on the bottom of a hero.  Next was a large portobello mushroom that he sliced and placed on the top of the hero.  After that, a grilled ribeye steak was cut into slices and put on top of the mozzarella and arugula.  He then sprinkled some salt and pepper on it and wrapped it up.

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The special steak hero was $9, but it was HUGE.  The first bite tasted of portobello mushroom, garlic, and arugula.  The portobello mushroom was thick and meaty and could have been a sandwich unto itself – but there was steak on the hero too.

The steak was a real steak – not the thin sandwich steaks you get in some places – and it had that great grilled flavor.  There was a little bit of fat around some of the edges, but not enough to downgrade the sandwich quality.

You could tell the mozzarella was fresh.  It barely melted, and there was no grease at all.  The arugula had a bitterness that went well with the steak and mushroom.  It wasn’t just some leaf on a hero – it added to the overall taste of the sandwich.

Today’s Lunch was a 9.25 out of 10.  This would have been a good hero with just the portobello mushroom or the rib-eye steak – but with both it was awesome.  The $9 price is a little steep, but all the ingredients used were high-quality, and the charcoal grilling raised this sandwich to another level.

Tony also offers this special with chicken instead of steak for $7.50, but I think the strong taste of the portobello mushroom would overpower the chicken.  The steak stood up to the strong taste of the portobello mushroom well, for a very enjoyable lunch.

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