Shorty's nee Tony Lukes (NYC)-update 2/26/08
(I went back to Shorty's for lunch the other day when working in the area. I felt I needed to give it another shot and I'm glad I did. I ordered a cheesesteak (whiz-wit, of course). The guy behind the counter didn't understand what I wanted when I said "whiz-wit" so I was suspicious.
I brought it back to work and here's the breakdown: The roll was crusty, yet soft in the middle, but also sturdy enough to hold it's own against the meat, onions and cheese. The steak was sliced and tender, not chewy as I'd had on a previous visit. The whiz was, well, whiz. And the onions was cooked til silky soft. A really good juicy, messy sandwich was had on this day and I now have hope for Shorty's.)-February 26, 2008
There used to be a branch of Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches in Manhattan on 9th Ave. between 41st and 42nd Street. They had the cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches and you could get them with the broccoli rabe and provolone and they were quite tasty. The setting was sparse to say the least (and it really worked, for me anyway). Cement floor and a few tall boy bar stools to sit at the very thin counter along the edge to eat your sandwich. The only image I can compare it to were the pictures here on Roadfood of the Italian Beef places in Chicago. They always had hot peppers and thick cut pickles to go along side. Take as much as you care to.
The word was that business dropped off after 6pm, when there wasn't much foot traffic in the area, so the owner had to find a way to get people in there. He closed for a while and renovated, putting in big screen TVs, a bar, drink specials, and tables. They had raised the price of the sandwiches about $1.50 each. I had been there with some friends and it was still good (about 4-5 months ago).
I just went there yesterday while working on a job across the street. I had heard they had closed. The name is no longer Tony Luke's. Not sure why. It's called Shorty's. The woman working at the bar said the menu and sandwiches are still the same, only the name had changed. I picked up a roast pork sandwich and brought it back to work. Upon opening it, I saw that the pork was sliced thicker than I remember. It was a bit dry and somewhat chewy.
I remember the pork being almost shaved and very juicy from having been bathed in the aus jus right before being piled on to the roll. It also lacked the peppery bite that I remembered from the juices as well. The bread was very good, but altogether I was disappointed in the sandwich. I was worried that after the renovations, it wouldn't be the same. I'll probably go back to give it another try, but I have a feeling the sandwich that kept me going back many times last year is no longer with us.