Cheesesteaks - No need to travel
- Kim Shook
Hang your heads no more, DC Chowhounds! We need no longer feel inferior to Philly!!!! This past weekend, we made the pilgrimage to Pat's in Philly for a cheesesteak. I am having the gastric bypass surgery 8/25 and who knows if I'll ever eat another cheesesteak, so I wanted my (maybe) last to be the "King". It was my first trip to Philly for cheesesteaks. We decided to leave Saturday night at 9pm from Richmond, VA. I ordered a Cheez Whiz Steak with (onions). My husband ordered a Pepper Provelone steak with. They were very, very good. They were almost the best I'd ever had (and we heard some say that Geno's was a bit better). In fact they WOULD have been the best I'd ever had if I hadn't ever been to a certain little dive on Wilson Blvd. in Arlington.
If you haven't been to Mario's and you are hankering for a cheesesteak, you must go - tonight!!!! THEY - not Philly ANYTHING - have the best cheesesteak! My own favorite is a HAM, steak and cheese, but I have had the cheesesteak on it's own and it it tastier and juicier and more flavorful than Pat's ever thought about being. Pat's IS in a MUCH cooler neighborhood, though. There is just something about that South Philly urban, ethnic mix that is so cool.
Is the guy who remembers everyone's order still there? I've been in there when the line was 15 people deep and the guy memorized what everyone ordered...
Agreed that the Philly atmosphere really makes it. Pat's and Geno's are next to one another (for those that don't know) and everyone eats outside, so the two establishments kinda blend together in sweet urban chaos.
And nothing beats the background noise and sights of fat Italian Americans giving each other grief. You can't get that in DC.
Pat's is a great place to people watch, and truthfully there is nothing as good as walking next door to get a water ice after a sub, something you can't do at Mario's. But I agree. Having had both, Mario is the unheralded KING of the (ham) cheesesteak sandwich.
But don't tell Philly. Let them continue to be blissfully ignorant of the truth. :-)
There is no comparable bread below Wilmington. Period. There might be really good sandwiches elsewhere, but nothing like Philly hoagies and cheesesteaks unless someone is going up there for bread every morning. Even then, it's not the same, which probably has as much to do with the South Philly atmosphere.
Pats? You must be kidding. Probably one of the worst cheesesteaks in Philly. I can imagine that someplace in DC could do as well -- it wouldn't take much. Next time, go right off I-95 at the Packer Ave. exit to Front and Oregon, and try Tony Lukes (also try the roast pork there), or Jim's on South Street (not nearly as good as TL, but better than Pat's).