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Oct 1, 2006 08:53 PM

Praise the Lord - Gregoire's Philly Cheesesteak Has Returned

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.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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

        Nope. The lunch cutoff time is 4 pm though.

        Here's all I know about cesar

        1. re: oakjoan

          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.

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

          1. 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

              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.

              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                        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?