Penn Station is a restaurant franchise specializing in “East Coast” sub sandwiches, as well as fresh-cut french fries and fresh squeezed lemonade.  It features a number of sandwich options, including mainstays like the Philadelphia Cheesesteak, Reuben, and Italian subs.  I’m still unclear on what makes these sandwiches “East Coast” style, as opposed to any other style, but I digress.  For this review, I tried one of their signature subs, a personal favorite of mine, the Philadelphia Cheesesteak.

I was having trouble uploading the picture I took, so enjoy this low res marketing image!!

The cheesesteak was a pretty standard recipe, featuring steak, provolone, onions, mushrooms, and banana peppers.  Most of the toppings were optional with no extra cost, and spicy brown mustard, mayo, and pizza sauce were also available.  I had a 6″ sub, which was plenty of sandwich.  It was pretty good, as cheesesteaks go, and the inclusion of banana peppers gave it a kick not usually found elsewhere.  The cheesesteak was this month’s special, so it came with a heaping helping of fries and a drink.  The fries were deliciously salty, and tasted fresher than the usual fast food fare.

The meal was a little bit pricey.  It cost around $7 overall, which isn’t too bad until you consider that it was the special, and the a la carte cost for fries and a drink is a bit more.  However, I’d still recommend Penn Station wholeheartedly.  It’s a high quality sub shop with a number of interesting offerings (I’m hoping to head back for the vegetarian Artichoke Sub soon.)

It’s that time of year again.  Time for McDonald’s to trot out the war-horse of the promotional fast food offers, the McRib.  The McRib is a “rib-style” sandwich (which means the meat isn’t rib meat at all) served infrequently at McDonald’s locations in various regions.  Much of the allure of the McRib comes from its erratic availability, with the sandwich taking on an almost mythic quality.  Never fear, I was able to track down the McRib and review it for you, dear readers.

Your old friend is back!! (Seriously. That's what it says on the box.)

The McRib is actually a processed pork patty shaped like a small section of ribs (sans the bones).  It’s slathered with barbeque sauce, and includes pickles and onions on a longer sub roll.  It’s not bad, as imitation rib sandwiches go.  There’s plenty of meat and BBQ sauce, although it is a bit messy.  The pickles and onions provide a nice counterpoint without complicating the flavor too much.  The bun is good too, it provides the proper shape for the sandwich (McDonald’s experimented with a McRib Jr. a few years ago on a hamburger bun, but it didn’t stick).  Overall, a good if unremarkable sandwich.

The McRib costs around $2.50 alone or $4.50 for a meal.  It’s not something I would get very often, because it’s a bit expensive for what you get, considering McDonald’s also has a prodigious dollar menu.  Still, it is an interesting cultural phenomenon, and having it once or twice per season isn’t going to wreck your wallet.  I’m told the current promotion ends on December 5th, so if fake rib sandwiches are your thing, head out to McDonald’s soon.