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Praise the Lord - Gregoire's Philly Cheesesteak Has Returned

Morton the Mousse Oct 1, 2006 08:53 PM

This is The One, the Holy Grail of Gregoire sanwiches. Much as I love the beef patty, the cheesesteak beats all. It's their most popular sandwich of all time, the only sandwich that outsells the potato puffs. Ironically, its popularity means they almost never offer it because it's so much damn work for the chefs. Gregoire was finally bullied into bringing it back, but after October it may be more than a year before it returns.

Not too much to it. Thinly sliced flank steak, quality mushrooms, onions and cheese grilled to order and served on a toasted baguette. As with all of Gregoire's sanwiches, it's the quality of ingredients, particularly the meat, that stand out. The flavors come together to make a sandwich that is deeply satisfying. I haven't been to Philadelphia, but I've never had a Cheesesteak this good on the West Coast. I also noticed the truffle scalloped potatoes on the menu, best potatoes at Gregoire, period. Newbies order the puffs, old Gregoire fanatics or the scalloped.

Here's rworange (AKA Krys) raving about the Cheesesteak last time it was on the menu "A Philly native would weep that such a sandwich could so outclass the original.":

You've got one month, my fellow hounds, and then it will be gone.
Don't forget about the new location in Oakland.


  1. gatun Nov 10, 2007 10:15 PM

    Darn I am always half way around the world when the all time greats appear on the menu. But I know where I am headed when I get off that plane on Saturday.

    Have you tried the pulled pork sandwich?

    1. a
      Agent 510 Nov 7, 2007 11:18 AM

      It's back, in case anyone missed it last time around. Love that Gregoire cheesesteak.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Agent 510
        Morton the Mousse Nov 7, 2007 11:43 AM

        Really phenomenal lunch menu this month. The cheeseteak is fantastic, but so are the lamb burger with garlic confit and marinated tomato, and the pulled pork with avocado and cilantro.

        1. re: Morton the Mousse
          chompy Nov 7, 2007 01:12 PM

          Wow, I'll have to try that lamb burger. Every lamb-centric sandwich I've had there to date has been excellent. My husband brought home the pulled pork the other day, which I thought was pretty good but didn't blow me away. Also had the quiche, which I probably wouldn't have ordered if I had been picking up lunch. It surprised me by being magically delicious.

        2. re: Agent 510
          nicedragonboy Nov 8, 2007 01:04 PM

          Thanks for the heads up on the cheesesteak, I ordered it today along with the cheddar cheese gratin and the pumpkin bread pudding, whipped cream.

          It was all excellent. The cheesesteak was not overly cheesy, filled with a decent amount of meat, cheese and grilled onions. I admit it got all over my hands but wasn't overly greasy. The Gratin is indeed good, though it took me a few bites for it to grow on me. Initially I thought the potatoes were a bit undercooked, but that actually helps when it's so perfectly thinly sliced and layered and it thankfully wasn't overpowered by cheese. A nice golden cheesy crust on top and just enough in between to make it stick. Lastly, the pumpkin bread pudding definitely satisfied my fall craving for all things pumpkin. I was at first expecting a more pudding consistency, but it turned out to be more like a very moist and soft banana bread consistency. It was wonderful, subtly spiced and was amazing with the fresh whipped cream. I licked the container clean.

        3. l
          lmnopm Oct 2, 2006 08:41 PM

          This was my lunch today. I've had their menu on my fridge for months (ok, not the current menu) and have been meaning to go there for months. The sandwich was really delicious. I can't imagine Philly having bread as good as this. It could have used more meat - I don't know if mine was particulary short on meat (or this is how they make them), but it was a really good sandwich.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lmnopm
            Morton the Mousse Oct 2, 2006 09:32 PM

            Yeah, most Gregoire sandwiches could use more meat. He uses really expensive beef and his margins are slim so if he piled it on thick it would be a $10 sandwich.

          2. Curtis Oct 2, 2006 07:04 PM

            Thanks for the heads up Morton :) I was just enjoying the braised beef cheeks at the Piedmont Ave. outpost last week and mentally checked off the last of the September items that I had wanted to try. Now that October has begun and the menu includes the cheesesteak, I'll be sure to get right back over there. As to the popular puffs, I like them well enough, but also think that the fries are definitely the go-to starch. On a side note, while we were eating dinner, there was a very curious pot of something sweet just bubbling away on the stove. When I asked, it turns out that the chef had just caught an episode of Good Eats about making preserves and had been inspired. He was making and putting up many jars of a secret "triple plum" preserve. As we finished up our meal, he handed us two containers and told us to wait a week to let the pectin set before we ate it. Today was that day and all I can say is "Wow!" that's some excellent jam! My compliments to the chef for the complimentary preserves :)

            Gregoire's is a very welcome addition to Piedmont Ave. indeed. Now if the cheesesteak is as good as Morton says, I may just have to have my counter seat roped off permanently.

            a sante,

            1. c
              chocolatetartguy Oct 2, 2006 07:03 PM

              Can you get it wit whiz?

              7 Replies
              1. re: chocolatetartguy
                Agent 510 Oct 2, 2006 08:32 PM

                Wow, that was a pretty good cheesesteak. Doesn't quite beat out the Cheesesteak Shop for "my favorite cheesesteak", or the blue cheese/pecan burger for "my favorite Gregoire sandwich" but it comes close.

                It's interesting how they make it...pretty much like they do in Philly, with the chopping and grilling, except that the cheese and bread are heated together in the oven and combined with the rest of it when ready.

                "Wit' whiz?" Hee! I'll bet Gregoire, in his quest for perfect authenticity, will one day whip up a gourmet version of Cheez Whiz made with organic dairy ingredients from free-range cows or something like that.

                1. re: Agent 510
                  chocolatetartguy Oct 2, 2006 10:16 PM

                  I was seduced over that way for lunch too. I would say Gregoire's version is a cheesesteak of a different order, since the intention isn't really the same. It was certainly a good sandwich and by any rational criteria probably a better sandwich, but my memory of a PCS, say from Geno's, is that it is a relentless three pronged assault on the senses: beef, cheese whiz, onions. I would say that Gregoire's tantalizes the senses. The beef/onion mix was tasty, if a little on the salty side. I liked the addition of mushrooms. I liked the bread a lot, although not authentic. The guy at the register had actually brought his own whiz.

                  I sat at the counter and one of the batches of two packs of beef which they made into 4 sandwiches, is probably less meat than goes into one sandwich at Geno's. I think the cooks at Geno's or Pat's probably drop more meat on the floor than was in any sandwich I saw. The person next to me at the counter, lifted up his bread and made a face. Of course in mid prep, he asked to change his order of fries to potato puffs and when told his fries were already up, he complained they were five minutes old. He ended up getting his potato puffs.

                  I'm with 510, if you want the real cheesesteak experience, go to the Cheesesteak Shop. I actually enjoyed everything else in the Gregoire lunch much more than the cs. I especially liked that little vat of very olivey couscous? and the bread pudding was, as always, excellent, with a sparkling caramelized honey syrup. Beats hell out of a Tastykake. The other grill item, a lamb burger, looked tempting.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                    Morton the Mousse Oct 2, 2006 10:22 PM

                    The lamb burger is excellent, as are all of the Gregoire "burgers" (just don't let Gregoire hear you calling it that (g)). I'm particularly fond of the pork burger with bacon and swiss, and the chicken burger with pear compote.

                    1. re: Morton the Mousse
                      Agent 510 Oct 2, 2006 11:39 PM

                      One time I ordered the "burger" (in person) and the guy at the counter, who may or may not have been Gregoire, raised an eyebrow and said, "You mean the beef patty"?

                      The next time, I called in and ordered the "beef patty", and the girl on the phone was all like, "You mean the burger"?


                      1. re: Morton the Mousse
                        chocolatetartguy Oct 5, 2006 10:16 PM

                        Good call on the lamb patty. I had a meeting nearby and ended up back there again. The lamb burger was the first thing I've had there that I thought was really good. The lamb was flavorful, almost sausage-like and blended well with the mayo, tomato, lettuce. Will they cook it to order? I asked for medium rare, but got it on the well side. Very tasty, nonetheless.

                        I also had the cheddar cheese potatoes gratin which was like cheddar scalloped potatoes. I was impressed with the thinly sliced, yet not overcooked pieces of potato, generous portion and overall cheesy goodness.

                        I think contributing to the experience was the friendliness of the cook with the tattooed arms. Earlier in the week the cook looked liked they wanted to be anywhere but there.

                        1. re: chocolatetartguy
                          Morton the Mousse Oct 5, 2006 10:28 PM

                          Yes, the burgers can be cooked to order. Sometimes you have to insist, it depends on who is cooking and who is working the register. I usually order mine "seared."

                          The cooks are always pretty stressed the first couple days of the month. They have a new menu to learn, and hordes of Gregoire fanatics storm the restaurant looking to try the new dishes. After about a week, things have mellowed down a bit and the atmosphere is more relaxed.

                      2. re: chocolatetartguy
                        rworange Oct 2, 2006 10:52 PM

                        So, the guy at the counter who brought his own wiz ... I hope you mentioned Chowhound to him. If ever there was someone who sounded like a chowhound ...

                        You made me giggle asking about Gregoire having wiz.

                        So did anyone see that jelly mentioned in this thread?

                  2. JasmineG Oct 2, 2006 05:30 AM

                    You've convinced me to try the cheesesteak (especially since I've been meaning to grab lunch at Gregoire on a day that I'm working from home, since lunch is so much cheaper than dinner). Here's my question: what are the fries like at Gregoire? I got the potato puffs the first time I was there, and didn't love them (they were a little too mashed potato-ey for me, which is I think why some people do love them). But the hangar steak that I got...oh wow, was it good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JasmineG
                      Morton the Mousse Oct 2, 2006 05:36 AM

                      The fries are usually excellent. I've had an off batch every now and again, but I'd say they're spot on more than 95% of the time. However, I've found that an order of fries along with a sandwich is too much for one person. I wish they'd do a half order. For lunch, I'm usually satisfied with a sandwich and the side of pasta salad it comes with.

                    2. m
                      mwtrx67 Oct 2, 2006 04:21 AM

                      My question is when is the corned beef sandwich gonna return?

                      1. oakjoan Oct 1, 2006 11:48 PM

                        So is it ever offered on the dinner menu? It's really hard to get there for lunch. If it's not, however, I may be forced to motor up to Piedmont Ave. around noon this week.

                        Cesar store? Is it a store or just another location of Cesar on Shattuck? Or is that a store, too?

                        Vty, Oak "Doesn't Get Around Much" Joan

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: oakjoan
                          rworange Oct 2, 2006 12:01 AM

                          Nope. The lunch cutoff time is 4 pm though.

                          Here's all I know about cesar

                          1. re: rworange
                            Morton the Mousse Oct 2, 2006 01:50 AM

                            Lunch is served until 4:30

                          2. re: oakjoan
                            JasmineG Oct 2, 2006 04:19 AM

                            Re Cesar: it's both. It's a bigger location of Cesar, and there's a retail store there too that (during the day) sells Spanish specialties.

                          3. rworange Oct 1, 2006 09:59 PM

                            Thanks for the heads-up Morton. I've been meaning to check out that Cesar store on Piedmont too, so this gives me another reason to get up that way.

                            Hmmm ... mission fig bread pudding is on the menu too. That sounds like it has promise.

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