Philly Cheesesteak

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westsidetommy
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2004/03/11 18:10:39 (permalink)

Philly Cheesesteak

So I was in Philly a couple of weeks ago and went after one of these famous cheesesteaks. I was with my daughter who lives in DC and loves Philly and knows the town a little.

So we went to this corner with Pats and Genos and went to Genos. I'm standing in the street in line with some obviously neighborhood guys talking college basketball betting, just like in Armour Square but instead of talking Illinois, Notre Dame and Wisconsin they're talking Syracuse and Holy Cross. I asked them what I should get on my sandwich and this guy with a gold Italian horn and a green, white and red T-shirt tells me to get cheese-whiz. Cheese-Whiz!?! I don't know from Philly but in Chicago no Italian neighborhood guy is gonna tell you to put cheese-whiz on anything.

So I resisted this Italian Stallion's advice and got mine with provolone. The result was a very bland sandwich. The bread was soft and chewy instead of snappy, like Italian bread that been kept in a plastic bag. The meat was bland and overall this was a colorless, blah sandwich.

I tried my daughter's sandwich with wiz and fried onions and it was much tastier, evidently the stuff is needed to give the sandwich some flavor. Not a bad sandwich just a boring one.

The fries were the worst fries I'd ever had, terrible frozen things with no meat or taste to them. And expensive no less.

When I got back to Chicago the first thing I did was to stop at Al's on Taylor Street for a combo and some real fries, you know, actual fresh potatos cut on the spot and fried. How novel.

But I liked Philadelphia anyway, seems a great town.
#1

106 Replies Related Threads

    CheeseWit
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/03/11 19:01:43 (permalink)
    Sorry your cheesesteak experience didn't live up to your expectations. Hope you'll give our beloved sandwich another try sometime.
    #2
    Bushie
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/03/11 20:08:14 (permalink)
    Two things you did wrong:

    1) You shoulda gonta Pat's.

    2) CheezeWhiz is de ONLY cheese dat goes wit des tings.

    Go and sin no more...
    #3
    peppertree
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/03/11 20:45:58 (permalink)
    I agree. Big mistake. You should have gone to Pat's. And Pat's only uses Cheese Whiz.
    #4
    signman
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/03/11 21:13:43 (permalink)
    Peppertree, I'm a Pat's man, and my order is always Provywitextra.
    #5
    berndog
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/03/11 22:41:16 (permalink)
    I have to agree with westside and peppertree. I always get mine with provalone. Same thing with a sub or grinder or hero sandwich. Good provo has a lot more flavor than Cheese Wiz. My son prefers american cheese, but he's young; he'll learn....
    #6
    buggsy
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/03/11 22:55:37 (permalink)
    That guy is always in line at Geno's, he gets obnoxios late on the weekends after he gets out of the clubs.
    I get mine with provolone and whiz and prefer Rick's in the Reading Terminal Market to Pat's or Geno's. Rick is Pat's grandson or greatgrandson but somebody somewhere taught him how to keep his place clean. He should let the rellies running Pat's in on the secret.
    #7
    Spudnut
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/03/11 23:53:28 (permalink)
    My chief takeaway from the original post is that if you don't do it the way they do in Chicago, it isn't "correct."

    Are you sure you're not a New Yorker?

    Think of it this way: Some Easterners consider Chicago-style pizza second rate, although many, many people would disagree (including me). Same with cheesesteaks. To each his own.

    PS: IMHO, you should have avoided Geno's altogether.
    #8
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/03/12 01:57:28 (permalink)
    Along a similar line of thought, I recently had my very first Italian Beef sandwich during a business trip in Chicago, at Luke's near the Sear's Tower. I honestly didn't think it was a great sandwich....but nonetheless I am committed to going up there again and getting one from Mr Beef or one of the other great Italian beef vendors in the city.

    One experience is not a good basis for an overall conclusion on a food item, imho....

    (Ill add that the Chicago style dogs and the stuffed pizza I also had during the trip were OUTSTANDING)
    #9
    JDSpiedies
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/04/26 20:09:48 (permalink)
    I recently heard about a month ago on Arthur Schwartz's radio show on 710 WOR in NYC that there is a Cheese Steak stand on 34th and I think on either 2nd or 3rd avenue in Manhaatan that serves Cheese Steak sandwiches. I forgot the name.
    #10
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/04/26 20:44:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by JDSpiedies

    I recently heard about a month ago on Arthur Schwartz's radio show on 710 WOR in NYC that there is a Cheese Steak stand on 34th and I think on either 2nd or 3rd avenue in Manhaatan that serves Cheese Steak sandwiches. I forgot the name.


    That would be Carl's. There's also BB sandwich stand in the village.
    #11
    JaneDough
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/04/26 22:37:07 (permalink)
    CheeseWit's the expert, but IMHO, forget both Geno's AND Pat's and head for Jim's @ 4th & South. Even my NY friend loved Jim's! Better yet, join us for the Cheesesteak Tour on July 31 and give us another chance, tasting not only Pat's & Geno's (I kinda think we HAFTA do those, for comparison's sake), but 3 or 4 others that are delicious and lesser-known (if only because they weren't in the movies). Ya wanna CHEESEsteak?!?! WE'LL show ya some CHEESEsteaks!!!!
    #12
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/04/26 22:50:58 (permalink)
    bb sandwich? wuzzat? baked beans? bovine on bun?
    #13
    peppertree
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/06/24 20:22:35 (permalink)
    Philly Connection: I just heard a report about decent cheesesteaks at a chain called Philly Connection. There is one here in town. Has anyone had an experience with them?

    http://www.phillyconnection.com/
    #14
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/06/24 20:36:58 (permalink)
    Interesting website. Looks like a decent sandwich. I'm sure they can't duplicate the great rolls found in the 100 mile radius of Philly, but they seem to be on to something based on the number of locations. I would try them.
    #15
    Ted52
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/07/06 23:53:56 (permalink)
    I am a New Jersey native now in Georgia who gets to Philly at least once a year for a few days. I am truly a fan of Philadelphia and cheese steak sandwiches but....

    I am continually amazed at the number of folks who rave about the twin towers of Pat's and Geno's. I realize that they lay claim to virtually inventing this species of sandwich, and while I value the tradition of these well lit establishments, I still think that they should win customers by producing a top steak rather than by simply being the Philly landmarks mentioned in all the guide books. In my opinion, Pat's (and Geno's) serve a clearly inferior sandwich to many lesser known places. Far superior steaks are served at many Philly area locations including Larry's near St Joe's, D'allesandro's, Leo's in Folcroft, and even a joint called Carmine's Parkside out in Eagle, PA.

    What's wrong with Pat's ( and Geno's)?? Among other things:
    1. Arrogance and laziness -- these guys don't work hard -- they don't chop up the meat because it is easier not to
    2. Assembly line precooked meat -- no made to order here -- this is fast food
    3. Onions, peppers, cheese, other ingredients are cooked separately (and also in advance). As a result there is none of the blending of flavors and spices in the cooking process so critical to a top quality "custom" steak.
    4. There is inadequate meat for the size of the roll. The all-important meat-to-bread ratio is wrong!
    5. If you don't go the, ugh, cheez wiz route, they don't even bother to melt the cheese slices

    If these guys didn't have history and location on their side, they would simply not merit a second look with the many other truly great steak options in the Philadelphia area. I hate to admit that I actually prefer a steak from the Philly Connection chain in Georgia over those served at Pat's and Geno's.
    #16
    GordonW
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/07/07 00:30:54 (permalink)
    Maybe success spoils. There are so many good steak (and hoagie) places around, there's no need for the Pat's/Geno's nonsense. IMHO, Jim, in Reading Terminal Market, is just as good, and it's airconditioned, and there aren't the silly lines, and the rest of the market is an experience. The rest of the city and the suburbs also have some great places, that cut their own meat, and do the onions with the meat, and have the provolone that will bite you back.
    #17
    brentk
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/07/07 06:07:24 (permalink)
    Thanks to Ted52 for calling the kettle black.

    I lived in Philly 25 years ago and felt the same way about Pat's. Ted hits every reason why their cheesesteaks are inferior. I can only suspect that the same applies to Geno's as I've never been there.

    When I lived there, I was a Mama's devotee. Whenever I'm back in town, that's where I head. Their cheesesteak may not please the purist but it is unique and delicious.
    #18
    angel92
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/07/08 21:22:16 (permalink)
    Pat's in S. Philly is probably the most overrated sandwich shop in the city. Dallessandro's in Roxborough -- on Henry Avenue -- has the best cheesesteaks around.
    #19
    harriet1954
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/07/22 15:44:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by peppertree

    Philly Connection: I just heard a report about decent cheesesteaks at a chain called Philly Connection. There is one here in town. Has anyone had an experience with them?

    http://www.phillyconnection.com/


    They opened one here in Voorhees recently. We went on a coupon & the only thing good were the fries. They were very good. But the rest? FEH!! The cheesesteaks were awful. Not worth the extra Weight Watcher points AT ALL. The manager was very nice though.
    #20
    bxfinest
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/07/23 15:11:31 (permalink)
    The next time I'm in Philly I will definately check out Jims on south & 4th. The last time I was there I tried to go but the line was literally out the door and once you got inside they had this zig zag railing like a wait to get on a roller coaster ride. The only thing missing was a sign that says 30 min wait from this point. LOL... OK maybe not funny. Anyway, I ended up going to a pizza joint in the cut under Fat Tuesdays. I beleive the name of it was LaPizzaria. The Cheesesteak was pretty good. The slices aren't bad either. Bought a slice for the walk back to the Holiday Inn on 4th and Arch where me and my lady stayed for the weekend.
    #21
    Jack_Hoo
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/08/17 15:49:40 (permalink)
    Jims is the place. Definately the best cheesesteaks in Philly.
    #22
    marky
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/08/17 17:03:08 (permalink)
    jims is the best choice beef huge with fresh onions and peppers great italian roll.
    #23
    mtbuckingham
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/08/17 17:09:25 (permalink)
    Made the trek from DC to Philly last weekend and checked out Geno's and Pat's at 1 a.m. Of the two, boyfriend and I both preferred Pats, but to be honest, we were a bit disappointed in both. Even at 1 a.m. The cheesesteaks I've had a couple times at a certain liquor store in Florida blew Geno's and Pat's (and Jim's, for that matter) WAY out of the water.

    Then again, I did get provalone. Without. Maybe next time I'll have to try the "Whiz wit".
    #24
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/08/17 17:11:35 (permalink)
    ask a hundred Philadephians and it would appear you'll get a hundred opinions

    well, maybe 80 :-)

    Some people might object to the longish lines and the lack of fries at Jims *shrug* but then again there are plusses and minuses to every place I have seen reviewed.

    My short list, having never eaten one but read a lot about them, and in no particular order
    Dallesandros
    Johns Roast Pork
    Steves
    #25
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/08/17 17:43:29 (permalink)
    Jack, Marky, mt, TJ: Hope you read our results from The Cheesesteak Tour recently completed. The winning cheesesteak was Dallessandro's. Read all about it in The Cheesesteak Tour thread.
    #26
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/08/17 17:57:05 (permalink)
    Yeah, and you didn't go to John's Roast Pork :-)
    #27
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/08/17 21:23:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    Yeah, and you didn't go to John's Roast Pork :-)


    Time didn't allow. I wanted to give everyone a taste of 5 shops. John's is great-I agree. There are so many other places including the suburbs. We're doing another one in the fall.
    #28
    signman
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/08/18 00:09:33 (permalink)
    MT, where is that liquor store in Florida. Sounds like I'll have to make a visit.
    #29
    gatorbreath
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    RE: Philly Cheesesteak 2004/08/19 20:26:34 (permalink)
    My only experience to "genuine?" Philly Cheesesteaks was at the 30th St. train station in Philadelphia. I don't remember the name of the place but my overall recollection was that it was pretty good. Therefore, I have no preconceived expectations of this sandwich. A new franchisee has recently come to St. Louis called "Penn Station East Coast Subs." I saw a brief mention of them in another thread. Their web site is:

    http://www.penn-station.com/menu.php

    Their menu is varied enough that I should have tried many items but I can't seem to get beyond the cheesesteak and the occasional Reuben. Their fresh cut fries (slathered in malt vinegar) are some of the best taters I've ever eaten. I have no connection to this place other than an apparent devotion (they no longer have to ask for my name when I order.) The only drawback I can think of is the bread which is utile but nothing else worth mentioning. They are located mostly in the midwest and southeast.
    #30
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