One culinary upside of living in a town full of expatriates is the cross-section of regional delicacies available in the Las Vegas Valley.
But two of the northeast corridor’s favorite sandwiches, the Newark Italian hot dog and Philadelphia roast pork, have proven fairly elusive — rarely attempted and almost never done properly. Fortunately for any North Jersey or Philly transplants who may have given up on ever finding them locally, the new Plantone’s Italian Market, 8680 W. Warm Springs Road, is offering solid versions of both.
The restaurant’s consultant, Tony Figurelli, brings the street cred of having grown up outside of Newark eating Italian hot dogs at the famed Jimmy Buff’s, and later managing a franchise of the iconic Philly chain Tony Luke’s. And while his creations aren’t exactly what this Jersey boy remembers from his youth, they’re pretty close. For both longtime fans and the uninitiated, here’s a rundown of what he and his team are doing.
Roast pork Italian
This sandwich starts with a 7-pound pork shoulder, marinated 24 hours in a secret blend of spices. It’s then cooked four hours before it’s allowed to rest another day in the liquid. Finally, the meat is reheated in its juices, sliced thin and placed on a thick roll with sharp provolone cheese and a broccoli rabe that’s been sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes.
The beauty of this sandwich is the way the extra sharp cheese, spicy peppers and bitter greens fight with each other for dominance in every single bite, while never overpowering the nuanced subtleties of the marinated meat. This is a big sloppy mess that will definitely tide you over until you can pay a visit to the famed John’s Roast Pork in South Philly.
Italian hot dog
This feast on a bun starts with a semicircle of hollowed-out bread (Figurelli says his greatest challenge was getting Great Buns Bakery to approximate the only-in-Newark “pizza bread” made famous by Jersey hotspots Dickey Dee’s and Jimmy Buff’s), slathered in brown mustard, then topped with two “ripper” style fried hot dogs.
Plantone’s uses thin all-beef franks and cooks them in a saute pan full of oil after scoring them. Next comes a layer of sauteed onions and green peppers, followed by a healthy dose of fried potato squares. (Top them with ketchup if you like.)
Unlike the roast pork, it’s impossible to get all of these disparate flavors in every bite. So it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a fork, and eat only one ingredient at a time.