It’s a shame Subway hijacked the term “sandwich artist” to describe the fine folks who assemble its cardboard-tasting combinations of processed meats, cheeses, and (okay, we’ll admit it, sometimes tasty) bread. The phrase would perfectly fit Aaron and Rachel Stahlmann, owners of Ravage Deli.
Sandwiched, so to speak, between a barbershop and a nail salon in a nondescript strip mall along Belair Road, Ravage is churning out some of the most delectable handheld creations in the area—if not the country. Food Network named its cheesesteak one of America’s best outside of Philadelphia, and it takes but one bite to understand why. The dry-aged beef and caramelized onions (along with the mushrooms and provolone we opted for) mesh beautifully with the lightly toasted roll to create a juicy, gooey hoagie that fills us with (brotherly) love.
We sampled almost nothing but hits throughout Ravage’s extensive menu. The bison burger was the highest quality hunk of meat between two buns we’ve eaten in recent memory. Chicken wings—plump and expertly fried—were slathered in a Jamaican jerk mango sauce that was quite spicy but pleasingly complex.
Portions are huge. A shrimp salad wrap on an Old Bay tortilla was filled with an ocean of shellfish. Even the regular-sized American sub, with roast beef, turkey, and ham, and the Mobtown Classic, stuffed with hard salami, sopressata, ham, capicola, provolone, Parmesan, and hots, are big enough for two meals. We shudder to think how many feedings the extra-large versions can provide.
Somehow, some way, leave room for fries. Hand-cut and topped with sea salt, Old Bay, or Cajun seasoning, they’re crispy yet still taste like potatoes. Health be damned, try the duck-fat variety smothered in Parmesan, pepper, and chives, which add a dash of color—a nice artistic touch.
›› Ravage Deli 9636 Belair Rd., Perry Hall, 410-529-3354 Hours: Tues.-Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sandwiches: $5-18; salads: $3.75-13.