For lunch today, I sampled Manhattan's new cheesesteak place, called Carl's Steaks. Its model is closer to Jim's than Pat's or Geno's (i.e., chopped rather than sliced steak).
I am far from an expert. The above places are the only ones I've ever been to, except for another Manhattan cheesesteak place in Times Square called Philly's Cheesesteak (clever, huh?) But, I liked Carl's well enough to go back. Certainly better than Philly's, for my money. The place still feels "new," so we'll see if it improves. The guy preparing the meat didn't seem as fluid or automatic as the folks in Philadelphia, that's for sure.
This guy Carl argues -- convincingly -- that the bread is key. Most knowledgable people I know say the same thing. That said, I didn't find that the bread integrated as well with the meat, cheese and onions as I would have liked. But, again, it wasn't bad, and the place is still new. It's not Philadelphia, but at least it's physically closer to me.
By the way, I'll share the following anecdote, for what it's worth: the man preparing the cheesesteak wore a latex glove on one hand; the other was ungloved. Yet, he consistently handled all food products with the ungloved hand, while holding the spatula in the gloved one.