2nd tier Philly Cheesesteak


First let’s be clear about the tiers of Philly Cheesesteak. According to the materials I’ve read, there are really only two in the elite class, Pat’s (the originator) and Geno’s. There is endless rivalry and debate about who is better, but I can’t comment, since in my quick trip to Philly recently, I didn’t make it to South Philly.

However, many real Philadelphians usually prefer their own places and finds, mostly non-touristy locations. Of these, the most intriguing to me was Steve Prince of Steak. I really wanted to try it, but it is a million miles away from where I had access. Instead I had my cheesesteak experience at a place called Abner’s, which is fairly well-thought-of among locals (see here and here and here). I don’t know if I’m getting the best, but I am getting authentic and representative of the indigenous version.

Here’s what goes on. First, fresh and very thinly sliced roast beef is thrown on a greased grill. As it’s cooking, it is chopped into small very very juicy pieces. Along on the grill, in my case, were peppers and onion. Finally, the cheese. While most tourist believe it has to be Cheese Whiz to be authentic, my research indicated that provolone or american are favoured by locals. I asked Abner (or whoever was grilling my cheesesteak) for his suggestion and he said definitely go provolone. So I did. I wasn’t disappointed. No matter how good Cheese Whiz might be on a cheesesteak, I don’t think it would have been optimal for me. A hoagie bun is then placed on the grill and the contents expertly transferred inside the bun.

So how was the sandwich? All in all, a bit of a letdown, given my astronomical expectation. The grilled beef is delicious and goes wonderfully with the toppings. The sauce is usually pretty minimal or in this case absent, so you are really getting the flavour from the grilling and the ingredients. No horseradish, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, or MSG juice to add flavouring. I think I need some with my beef. I’m used to say a Kelly’s Roast Beef sandwich. Beef is great, but beef is better when sauced. The sandwich is very very hot and greasy. The grease needs to spend a little time saturating the bun, meaning that the sandwich kept getting progressively better with time. I think to truly evaluate this cheesesteak, I need to try at least two others, just in case one is the most amazing thing ever and all the others are just pretty good. But I suspect that I will be disappointed.

Absolute verdict: Delicious

Relative verdict: Push

10 Responses to “2nd tier Philly Cheesesteak”

  • Sounds super delish, but I think optimum could be an I-Beef on the salty side. Just cuz its juicier. God I miss Kelly’s. North shore in the house! Where is mdhatter? I bet he lives at Kelly’s.

  • The sauce is usually pretty minimal or in this case absent

    It’s covered in melted cheese, chumploaf. What more “sauce” do you want?? The cheese IS the sauce, which is why you should have gone with a saucier cheese-based product.

  • The Uncanny Canadian

    Beef Cheese =| Delicious marinated beef in delicious sauce with delicious melted cheese atop. Even better would be delicious marinated then dry-aged beef with delicious sause and melted cheese. I’m not saying that cheese doesn’t add something to the beef, I’m just saying there could have been 100000000% more flavour and I would have liked it more.

  • I can’t even remember the last time I had a Philly cheesesteak. I do know that I cried a little inside when I saw that California Pizza Kitchen added a Philly cheesesteak pizza.

  • The Cheez Wiz fallacy was started by GEORGE BUSH, in one of those fake- normal guy photoshots he’s always doing, where he mistakenly ordered Cheez Wiz (cuz he’s really just a WASP who moved to Texas to fail some bidnesses) and the fawning press immediately rushed to support the idea that Cheez Wiz was authentic.

    I am sure that the Philly Cheesesteaks available in brewtown are iinferior, although almost all of them use provolone.

    Therefore, I will be accepting donations to immediately send me on a jaunt to Philly to try all the available options and decide how things stack up.

  • I saw some crap on the Food Network (which is the MSM, admittedly) about the origins of the Philly Cheese Steak. They showed some joint in Philly that is supposedly the “first” or whatever, and they were slathering some cheeze-whiz crap on ’em. It was white cheese whiz, though, so I guess that’s kinda provoloney. Or not. Anyway, they looked good, and although I realize that this is blasphemy among the Bicoastal Food Elite, there is definitely something to be said for the melty cheezy unctuousness of “american cheese”.

  • That was on teh Food Network?

    Should have been on Spike. Right before MXC.


  • The Uncanny Canadian

    AG brought me back a Geno’s yesterday from Phily. With Cheeze Whiz and thick-cut steak slices and everything. It was good. That is all.

  • Next time you’ll get provolone and it will be an orgasm in your mouth. AG is back at UPenn in January.

    Tis a shame you don’t really get the goodliness of meat and cheese the way Americans do.

  • Cheese and meat? Is that kosher?

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