South Street in Westwood ...
South Street Philly Cheese Steak has been in Westwood Village a long time.
But when it went in, I was still a vegan, so I didn't eat there and never really got around to it after I returned to carnivorism.
But, yesterday, I found myself out front after an errand and thought "What the heck?" and orderd a sandwich.
I ordered a chicken sandwich (same as the steak, but with chicken), with hot peppers and grilled onions, NO cheese. I ordered and brought it up to my office (I can walk it, but I was running an errand so I drove -- I work about a mile away).
Got back to my desk and the whole thing is covered with melted cheese. Now, I'm out 8 bucks and have no lunch and no time to run back and get it replaced.
So, I called them up and explained. Nice girl on the phone apologized. She told me to come back, I said I had no time. I said I'd come back today. She said fine, took my name and phone number.
Today, I went back and there was a note explaining what happened.
I got my sandwich replaced.
As for the sandwich, I thought it was pretty darn good. Not sublime, but very tasty. I thought the onions and the bell peppers were cooked just right for me. The hot pepps weren't whole, they were sort of ground up. The chicken was moise and the bread aborbed the sogginess and held together.
I can't compare this to a real Philly cheesesteak or steak sandwich since I've never been to Philly. I do like the steak sandwich at Markie D's, but that's as close as I've come. A Philadelphia guy in there today said they had the "right bread" if that means anything, some brand from Philly.
All in all, a good sandwich. Not a drive across town sandwich, but an I'm in Westwood and here I am so I'll have one sandwich.
But the real point of the post is that I would have written a negative comment if they hadn't done the right thing and replaced my sandwich. And maybe they did "what they were supposed to do" and don't deserve the praise. But my feeling is that mistakes happen, I'm the non-cheese eater in a place were almost everyone gets cheese and I'm sure the cook just got in a cheese-rhythm and put it on by accident. It happens. But they made it right and for that they've earned my business when I'm in the neighborhood.
Philly West is on the east side of Westwood Blvd, just south of the stripmall south of Santa Monica Blvd. Unbeknownst to most, they have some parking in the back. It is a bar atmosphere, with some bigscreens and a couple of arcade games, but they make a good and very reasonably priced cheesesteak. It normally comes with some tomato sauce, but I've always been asked about it, and declined. Friendly service.
I never eat the chicken sandwiches at these Philly joints, just the standard cheesesteaks, so I can only comment on those. I think South Street is perfectly fine (maybe better than that) if your sandwich-to-go options are limited to Westwood Village. (i'll unhesitatingly choose South Street almost any day of the week over the Jerry's Deli on Weyburn or the fairly dreadful Falafel King across the street on Broxton.) Otherwise, take the extra five minutes and drive down Sepulveda to Markie D's on Washington Blvd. for true cheesesteak nirvana.
I'd give South Street higher marks if it didn't consistently have some of the worst, genuinely nasty french fries in town. (Old oil?) To be fair, the well-made cheesesteak sandwiches are very tasty but often seem skimpy for the price. The sandwich bread is fine and for all I know it's "authentic" as claimed, but IMHO it's also fairly anonymous and nothing to get too excited about. Meanwhile, the side salads that come with the sandwich combo always have the distinct flavor of produce that's been sitting around in a plastic bag for too long. One big plus: South Street has an unusually extensive condiments bar with multiple varieties of peppers, mustards, ketchup, et al.
As for the service response to the unwanted cheese, yes, some might say that they "merely" did the right thing by replacing your sandwich without question. But from my own experiences, even that basic amount has quite sadly become a lot to expect nowadays.
I have yet to have a good experience at South Street. In fact, from the 3 or 4 times that I have been there, I feel that South Street should be sued by the City of Philly for misrepresentation and in general, giving philly cheesesteaks a bad name. Maybe I'm too hard on them, but I really really really think their sandwiches are terrible
On the other hand, Philly West is awesome and less than 5 min. away on Westwood and Santa Monica.
Like I said, I thought the chicken sandwich was good, not great. I suspect my standards are lowered in this instance because -- to be honest -- I thought the service was fair.
I appreciate the feedback, though, because I'd like to find better places that serve steak sandwiches.
I used to go to a Philly West on Westwood 20 years ago -- Wilt Chamberlain used to come in all the time. But it became an (I think) Indonesian place. Is the Philly West you are talking about descended from the one I used to go to (you might not know, of course.)