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Speaking of cheese steak....

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  • yumyum Feb 21, 2005 03:30 PM
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I went into my old standby Nick's in Davis Square for one of their legendary (as in best I've ever had) cheese steak subs. To my shock and horror, Nick's has changed hands and now offers what it seems is a twist on the traditional sub shop fare -- they have a big blackboard with specials like Buffalo burger -- as in Buffalo style with hot sauce and blue cheese -- and standard stuff like roast beef sandwiches on an onion roll, etc. I had a "home-made" chicken cutlet which had a decidedly creepy texture, probably from being zapped in the microwave. I don't need to go back any time soon, especially with Victor's superlative made to order chicken cutlet about 3 minutes away in Ball Square.

Nick's was not a philly style cheese steak (aka with whiz), but the standout elements were the a) bread, which was a nice crusty Italian roll, I suspect from La Ronga's bakery in Somerville and b) the quality of the steak -- not that really finely chopped stuff you so often see, but steak that actually resembled real meat and tasted great. The cheese was an afterthought although they had the perfect ratio of cheese to steak. Anyway, I really need to find an equivilent cheese steak now that the incredibly nice family has shut down/ moved on. Does anyone know their story? They've been in business for years and seemed to be thriving.

I may have contributed to the demise since I really only have a cheese steak sub about once a year ;-) but when I do, I want a great one. Where, oh where are you vaunted steaky treat?

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  1. t
    The SummerVillan

    Which reminds me of my favorite restaurant ad ever, for a place in Maine that I never got to... it used to appear as a 1/4 inch blurb on the side of the page in the New Yorker, when both these establishments were still in business, it read:

    "When the line is too long at the Silent Woman,
    Try the Bakery in Chicago"

    Which reminds me of my favorite steak sandwich ever...
    A 'Vienna' beef hot dog stand immediately next to the Biograph in N. Chicago at one time made steak sandwiches, a rare new york strip steak on a long french roll with tons of chopped tomato and onion,( its things like that that never leave you) It was like eating a real dinner for $3- I think i can go on forever now without another philly steak ...

    The Villan

    4 Replies
    1. re: The SummerVillan

      Boyle's market on Broadway in Arlington has by far the best cheesesteak I've ever had. (and I've had a lot) Soft rolls, no fat, easy to eat (taking a bite does not drag out half of the sandwich) and tasty as hell. Once you go there you'll never go anywhere else. They are located on Broadway in East Arlington near Rt 16. A stones throw from the Foodmaster.

      1. re: Luther

        Great tip! It's on the list. Thanks.

        1. re: Luther

          Oh ya! Seconded on Boyle's. Best steak and cheese around.

          1. re: sablemerle

            Wow! This is right around the corner from my house. We've had a number of their other subs, and they've all been ok-to-pretty-good. I will get a steak and cheese next time.

      2. My favorite steak and cheese is a stone's throw away at Bob's in Medford Square.

        BK

        3 Replies
        1. re: BK

          Can you describe what you like about it? I love the tips at Bob's but have never tried the cheese steak.

          Thanks!

          1. re: yumyum

            I think what I like about the steak & cheese is that everything's fresh, hot, well portioned, and flavorful, much like their other sandwiches. Seems to me to be a pretty simple concept, and yet so few can seem to figure it out (or execute on it). Start with good ingredients, treat them well, and end up with a good dish (or in this case, sandwich).

            BK

          2. re: BK

            hmmm....I love Bob's but have always found their steak and cheese to be dry.

            My current favorite is Dom's in Malden.

          3. Does Victor's Deli make one?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Limster

              Yep, tried it. Nothing special (same almost ground beef textured meat), and IMO not worth passing up the chicken cutlet or veal parm.

            2. Technically speaking, either whiz or provolone are legit options for a Philly Cheesesteak so long as you don't hold up the line while you decide.

              I am a fan of the cheese steak at a little convenience store referred to as Sarchioni's (sp?) on what I think is Plymouth St. between Hampshire and Cardinal Medeiros near Kendall. I have only been there around lunch. It isn't Pat's or Geno's (good but not the best), but it does a good sandwich. Nice egg salad too when they have hard boiled eggs. They make the sandwiches and then wrap them in butcher paper dusted with salt and pepper so its on the outside of the bread which I think is a nice touch and gives their sandwiches a little extra snap.

              Now if only they started carrying cheetos and birch beer.

              -g

              1 Reply
              1. re: g

                I also don't know why people think Pat's and Geno's are the ultimate cheesesteak makers. I thought their steaks were ok, but nothing like the hype makes them out to be. I've had better tasting steak and cheeses in New England. I'm sure there are some lesser known joints in Philly that does them better.

                Link below has a few MA places.

                Link: http://www.bestcheesesteaks.com/

              2. t
                twentyoystahs

                Ducking the flames here but I think our local D'Angelo's chain does a pretty good job of creating a steak and cheese....the rolls are fairly fresh, it's good old fashioned shredded beef, and if you want it w/provolone, onions, and mushrooms, just order a number 9.

                3 Replies
                1. re: twentyoystahs

                  As a former (but not born and bred) philadelphian, I must agree that D'Angelos has, IMHO, the best cheese steak that I have tried in the boston area. On the other hand, I had a lifetimes worth of cheese steaks when I lived in Philly and do not now seek them out. I agree with the poster below that although Pat and Geno's have the hype for best Philly Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, they are far from the best.

                  1. re: tdaaa
                    t
                    twentyoystahs

                    After much Chowhound research, I tried Jim's, on South Street, in downtown Philly. It looked like there were a few other places that might be higher on the list, (D'Alessandro's etc) but Jim's was most convenient so that's where I went. I enjoyed every greasy, gooey bite. And though there's no question that Jim's was the 'real thing,' I think when you're living in Boston, D'Angelo's comes closest to that experience. Not the same, but "closest." Order with extra provolone and I think it's pretty good.

                    1. re: tdaaa

                      Completely - I think D'Angelo's is the best! LOL - it seems so wrong and yet oh so right. I don't think anything else is good there, but a steak & cheese w/ mushrooms. Dagnabbit!!

                  2. You guys don't seem to venture to the western 'burbs much, but there's a place in Natick called Maria's Subs, on Rte. 9 at Oak St., that makes the best cheese steaks I've ever had. They've been around for over 30 years (though they changed hands about 8 yrs ago, and aren't quite as good), but their cheese steaks are still the best.

                    No shaved steak, whatever that is. Thin strips of real meat that look like real steak, on a good roll, with just the right amount of provolone.

                    Definitely worth a trip.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: winedude

                      I live around the corner from Maria's (and a D'Angelos). Niether the Maria's steak nor the #9 has the density and moisture (cooking grease) of the platonic cheese steak, but they're the best I've found around here, too.

                      1. re: Tatania

                        And not enough meat, etc, for the bread.

                        1. re: Tatania

                          I just went looking for Maria's and it's closed. So I settled for D'Angelos. Not bad, but not what I was craving.

                        2. re: winedude

                          It's on the list. Thanks for the tip.

                        3. This may not be 100% what you are looking for since the beef in these are shaved, but Carl's Steak Subs in Waltham are the best around. The smalls are huge and I can't finish a large. I haven't had one in a while, but now I'm drooling. They recently (last year or two?) added a lot more to their menu...chicken, burritos, etc. In the past all they served was steak and cheese subs. I'm going this weekend now.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Ali G

                            Totally worth a try out. Thanks for the tip Ali G.

                            1. re: Ali G

                              To me its telling that whenever anyone praises Carl's - it's always for the portion size and not the quality.

                            2. That's too bad about Nicks. They used to be my standby for local comfort food when I lived a block away. Nice family.

                              Not the most enthusiastic endorsement, but if you want a cheesesteak in downtown Boston, there's a deli/pizza joint on the same side of the street as the Bostonian Hotel (between the hotel and the McD) called Mike's that makes a pretty good cheesesteak.

                              1. I don't know anything about authentic but I do like the shaved steak sandwich at Cabots in Newton. They also have a real steak sandwich (piece of steak) which I don't like as much, mostly because I don't care for the big slab of meat between bread concept. The shaved steak is on a very fresh roll that's lightly toasted if I remember correctly. I get it with onions and mushrooms. All are well cooked with little crispy edges on all, then the bun soaks up the juice. Very yummy. Choice of cheese.