Huge cheese steak, but food's only fair Huge cheese steak, but food's only fare

TAKEOUT

There's steady flow of sandwiches at Captain Harvey's

Takeout

January 14, 2004|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I had been hearing good things about the cheese steaks at Captain Harvey's for some time, so the other night, my trusted cheese-steak taster and I ventured to Dundalk.

The captain has two outposts in Greater Dundalk: the one we visited, on Merritt Boulevard, and another on Dundalk Avenue.

Indeed, we found a cheese-steak factory. A large slab of thinly sliced beef sat near a well-used grill, while a calm cook turned out a steady flow of the sandwiches.

As we waited, I surveyed the joint. It didn't take long. A long counter runs down the middle of the narrow room. The only decoration was a tiny American flag taped to the wall. A World Cup 94 pinball game lined one wall. It wasn't working.

The staff was efficient, albeit far from cuddly. "What do you want on 'em?" somehow sounded like a threat when we were asked about our sandwiches.

In any case, Captain Harvey's Submarines is clearly not the kind of place to linger. It is strictly a pick-up-and-flee operation. The food, it turned out, was only fair.

The famed cheese steak ($10.50 for a whole) was enormous, with a huge pile of meat, yellow cheese and fried onions. (While some Philadelphians may quibble, we like ketchup on our cheese steaks, as well.) I found it too meaty, but my 15-year-old son plowed impressively through the whole thing.

A cheeseburger ($1.85) was fast-food quality, while chicken tenders ($4.50) were bland and lifeless. A fried shrimp basket ($5.75) was also boring, although the crinkle-cut fries were plentiful and delicious. Better was the turkey-breast sub ($4.25), which the menu noted featured "real" turkey meat.

Finally, a Caesar salad was made with romaine lettuce and was a nice antidote to all the grease.

The menu listed "assorted cakes and pies," but during our visit we were informed that "The pies haven't been sliced yet."

We were pleased to see that Captain Harvey's sells sodas brewed with cane sugar and made especially for its two outlets. The only one available during our visit was ginger beer, which was quite tangy but a bit on the medicinal-tasting side.

Captain Harvey's Submarines

Food: **

Service: ***

Waiting area: * 1/2

Parking: ***

Where: 1543 Merritt Blvd., Dundalk

Phone: 410-288-8990

Web site: www.steaksubs.com

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Burgers, crab cakes, sandwiches, salads, fried shrimp and subs from $1.65 to $15.60; no credit cards

Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor: *

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