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Wendy Hargreaves: Melbourne’s best American food

By WENDY HARGREAVES

Often deep fried and always tasty, American food has made a permanent dint in Melbourne’s food culture.

Whether you’re craving dude food like Philly steak or a perfectly constructed reuben sandwich, we’ve got you covered… without the jet lag.

SPARROWS PHILLY CHEESESTEAKS

The Catfish, 30 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, + 240 St Kilda Rd, St Kilda

Philadelphia’s shirt-destroying Philly Cheesesteak is a grilled scotch fillet in a soft white roll with fried onion and melted American cheese. The best place to find it in Melbourne is Sparrows (in both Fitzroy and St Kilda), with a food truck popping up at events across the city.

POPE JOAN

Sofitel forecourt, 45 Collins Street, Melbourne

When Matt Wilkinson moved his Pope Joan diner from Brunswick East to the CBD, his Reuben ($19) had to come for the ride. Riots would ensue if he’d left it behind. It’s that good, with a generous layer of Warialda beef pastrami, smoked mozzarella, sauerkraut and Russian dressing.

LE BON TON

51 Gipps Street, Collingwood

This old pub is a love letter to America’s southern states, with Texas-style smokehouse brisket, Louisiana blackened fish from the Gulf Coast and other dishes from as far west as New Mexico and as far east as Alabama. The chicken wings with chipotle dressing are always good ($12), but the stand-out dish is the Berkshire Pork Belly with Creole honey mustard ($18). And make sure you leave room for pie – a choice of pecan, chocolate cream, banana cream or apple.

BIG DOG DELI

327 Lennox Street, Richmond

Richmond’s home of the American sandwich has perfected the balance between good bread and super-flavoursome just-hold-together ingredients. Our favourite is the Big Dog ($15) with salami, prosciutto, ‘nduja, grated pecorino, pickled peppers and shredded iceberg lettuce.

SHAWCROSS

324 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

These New York style pizza slices are more like slabs, and they’re as big as your head (two for $10 on Mondays).  Shawcross also encourages BYO, opening until the wee early hours on weekends.

Wendy writes online at fiveofthebest.com

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