Tat’s serves what it calls “East Coast steaks & subs.” Cheese steaks head the list: thinly-sliced beef piled into an Italian roll topped with your choice of provolone, Swiss, cheddar, American, pepper jack, mozzarella or, of course, Cheez Whiz. Options include onions, mushrooms, and peppers. The grilled beef is velvet-soft and admirably unctuous and the fresh rolls have oomph, even if they do lack the yeasty flavor of the very best bakery rolls that star back in Delaware Valley cheese steak country.
Hot subs are awesome, especially the one known as Tat’strami. That’s pastrami with melted Swiss cheese, cole slaw, and Russian dressing – in other words, a Rachel on a roll. What makes it sing is the pastrami itself: spicy, tender, juicy, radiant with smoke flavor. A more familiar Reuben, which is a similar configuration but with corned beef instead of pastrami, also is available – on rye bread. And there are subs of sausage, fried chicken or chicken parm, eggplant parmesan, meatballs, and hot roast beef.
Tat’s makes the traditional distinction between subs (which are hot) and hoagies (which are cool and customarily dressed with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and mayo or oil). Among the latter are a classic Italian, made of capicola, salami, provolone, and coteghino bologna, and hot and sweet peppers. All sub-roll sandwiches, hot and cold, are available in 8-inch or 12-inch sizes. They are generously apportioned, so the smaller version ought to satisfy all but the most Homeric appetite.
A noisy, high-spirited Pioneer Square eatery with a crowd of tables inside and a few on the sidewalk, Tat’s doesn’t fit the rule of Roadfood that says a restaurant should deliver flavor unique to its location. It is, after all, a taste of the Northeast in the Northwest. But if you crave a hefty sub, hoagie, or cheese steak in Seattle, it is a place you’ll be glad to visit.