Somehow, my adventures on the veggie cheesesteak trail (see sidebar) got lost in the woods for the past seven months. But I recently laced up my wedge sandals and trekked up to The Abbaye in Northern Liberties to check out their gastropub grub, which just so happened to include a cheesesteak.
The Abbaye's seitan chees steak sandwich is filled with not-too-chewy, just-perfect, cubed seitan made in house, along with garlic aioli and Gruyere. The seitan was great, the garlic aioli was not garlicky, and the filling to bread ratio was way off. I ended up pushing the filling to one end of the sandwich and not eating the other half of the roll. I don't understand not filling a roll up. Fill 'er up and put some garlic in the sauce, and The Abbaye's cheesesteak sandwich would be my favorite cheesesteak as of yet.
I'm not a fry person (I prefer to save those calories for other things), but as far as skinny fries go, I had no complaints with The Abbaye's fries. They weren't nubbins, weren't floppy, weren't overly greasy. I ate a few, and called it good.
My partner ordered the seitan bbq plate, again, with seitan made in-house. I loved The Abbaye's bbq sauce - tart, tangy, slightly spicy, and not too sweet. The bbq sauce is like the best of tomato, mustard, and vinegar bbq sauces all in one.
The coleslaw is another story. See all those red specks in the slaw? How about all the pepper seeds? Click to enlarge if you must.
This was the spiciest, hottest coleslaw I've ever eaten. I like hot food, but coleslaw is not supposed to light a fire in your mouth; it's a cooling food. Underneath the hot pepper was what seemed like a pure vinegar base. The coleslaw went uneaten, except for the forkfuls we kept eating in pure disbelief that someone made coleslaw so spicy. I'm sure some will love this spicy rendition, but it should come with a warning.
The seitan bbq plate came with fries, and a few spears of asparagus that seemed like an afterthought, but we should all eat more asparagus.
On my next visit, here's what I would love: a half-sandwich filled -- filled -- with their awesome cheesesteak seitan, and another half-sandwich filled with their tangy bbq seitan. Oh, and a few asparagus spears on the side.
637 N. 3rd. St., Philadelphia, PA 19123