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Philly Slim's Gloppy Mess

Just tried Philly Slim's on University-classic double wiz wit. Gloppy mess. Doesn't compare to Carl's or 99 Miles. Never tried Tony Luke's (which I suspect is the best in the city) since I can't get past the roast pork italian.

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  1. Have you been to Woogies?

    1. tony luke's (both the roast pork italian and the cheesesteaks) is a far cry from the original in south philly. it's one of the better nyc cheesesteaks by default, but no great shakes compared to philly.

      i think carl's, wogie's, and tony luke's are the 3 best i've tried in nyc, but again, it's all relative. none of them could hold a candle to even the most mediocre tourist trap places in philly like pat's and geno's.

      for what it's worth, i've heard that the cheesesteak factory (a thinly veiled ripoff of the cheesecake factory's moniker) is good by nyc standards.

      3 Replies
      1. re: surly

        haven't been to wogies but heard negative reviews. Cheesesteak factory looks like the worst of the bunch. The big question is: chopped or sliced?

        1. re: guttergourmet

          yeah, i wasn't too impressed with wogie's, actually, but the fact that it's one of the better ones i've had in nyc (by default) illustrates the sad state of affairs here w/regard to the cheesesteak. the only reason i even bothered to mention it is b/c unlike tony luke's or carl's, at least the place is a pub where you can have a few beers and chill out with friends. but yeah, the sandwich itself is unremarkable.

          as for cheesesteak factory, i've never been, but have heard from several friends who report that it's ok for ny, but nothing compared to philly. and sietsema of the voice also gave it a (relative) thumbs-up, but mentioned that they use sirloin rather than ribeye! weird...regardless of whether it's chopped or sliced.

          1. re: surly

            I wasn't impressed with Wogie's, and while I personally like Tony Luke's cheese steaks, many have reported awful experiences. I gotta give my vote to Carl's, which is a bit greasier than it used to be, but still solid.

      2. What with the cheesesteak thing finally gaining momentum in NYC, what do you all think it will take to start doing them on a par with Philly? It seems like all the ingredients are the same -so what's missing?

        1 Reply
        1. agreed with johnleah. you'd think that making a great cheesesteak would be no big deal, but apparently it's still a complete mystery to all the pretenders here in nyc.

          better ingredients would definitely go a looong way toward making a superior cheesesteak sandwich. i've noticed that almost every cheesesteak joint in ny (with the possible exception of tony luke's) uses bland, generic rolls that are too thick on the inside and not crusty enough on the outside. this overwhelms the meat, cheese, and onions, which themselves are bad enough to begin with.

          meanwhile, the top philly places (dalessandro's, chink's, steve's, john's) all use really good, crusty rolls baked at local italian bakeries. the exterior of these rolls are nice and crispy when you bite into them, but aren't overly thick or doughy on the inside, while being strong enough to hold all the fillings. it's a delicate balance, but the top places in philly get it right.

          i'm baffled as to why ny cheesesteak purveyors don't understand this.

          then there's the matter of the meat. i can't exactly explain what it is about the best philly places, but the meat tastes juicy, flavorful, and fresh, as opposed to the limp, lackluster, pallid gray meat i always see in ny cheesesteaks. i guess the key factors are the freshness, quality, and appropriate level of fattiness in the ribeye.

          another issue that factors into all of this is the turnover rate of the food. i once went into carl's here in nyc and was shocked to see a huge, lumpy, gray mass of meat on the griddle, even though there was no line at all. i mean, come on - would it kill them to make their food to order?

          pat's, geno's, and jim's (the 3 biggest tourist trap cheesesteak joints in philly) are able to get away with this b/c of their high turnover rate/constantly long lines, but the places here can't.

          even little things like the size and preparation of the onions make all the difference in the world. i often get big, raw chunks of onion in my nyc cheesesteaks as opposed to nicely grilled, thinly sliced, and finely chopped onions in philly.

          1. Tony Luke's is godawful. I had high expectations after trying the original a time or two. The pork w/ the broccoli rabe is wet!, like it had been boiled and insufficiently drained. The same fate befell the broccoli rabe -- insuffiencient drainage. You jam that on some bread and add some provolone and you got nothing good.
            The cheesesteak was a more recent try. Horrific. Meat was overcooked to the point of unchewability, couldn't eat more than a bit of it, and I can usually eat anything bad. Fries were ok. Service was strange, well-meaning but inexperienced and unorganized.
            I like Wogie's. Haven't tried any other contenders.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Peter Cuce

              totally agree that tony luke's can't even remotely compare to the original in philly. a big reason for this is that it's not owned or operated by the philly owner; some local nyc dude just paid for the franchise rights so that he could use the tony luke name and ride on the place's reputation. while he does claim to try and emulate everything from the philly original, suffice to say that he falls way short.

              philly's not too far from us. the best course of action for any of us would be to take a quick road trip down the nj turnpike whenever we get a craving.

            2. FWIW, this Philadelphia transplant thinks that Carl's (at least the one in Murray Hill) holds up just fine compared with "real" Philly cheesesteaks. I thought the one at Tony Luke's was subpar and the one at Wogie's was just average.

              1. I liken the NY cheesesteak situation to the Ramen situation: Lots more attempts in recent years, but still nothing all that thrilling.

                My choice for overrated sandwich of the year is the sandwich they are trying to pass off as a cheesesteak at the BB sandwich bar in the West Village. It has more sauce than anything else, and the portuguese roll they serve it on seemed kind of stale to me.

                Having been to philly joints such as Pat's and D'allesandros, and having enjoyed many a delicious tubesteak hero at Boston's now defunct but legendary Buzzy's, I do cross my fingers and look forward to better cheesesteak days in NYC.

                1. walked by a small place called "bb sandwich bar" on w. 3rd today. claims to have the best cheesesteak in town. anyone tried?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: piccola

                    not traditional good sauteed onions gourmet american cheese and ketchup. Not traditional but interesting

                    1. re: piccola

                      Piccola, I just commented on this place - two posts above yours.

                      Basically, the much-ballyhooed sandwich they serve at bb - like it or not - bears no resemblance of any kind to an authentic cheesesteak. not even close. that said, i was
                      still prepared to enjoy mine, in the hopes that it would live up to the hype. nothing doing.
                      It was more bread and sauce then anything else - the portions were skimpy. Very overrated.

                      1. re: Polecat

                        sorry, not being a cheesesteak person (i'm veg), i didn't read too attentively - my bad

                    2. I've never had a cheesesteak at Tony Luke's either as I can't seem to make it past the Roast Pork. I'd take that over a cheesesteak any day!! The roll is key though. I bought one about a week ago and ended up getting home with it much later than I had planned. About an hour later and the roll held up really well. Its firm, yet doesn't squish the ingredients when you bite into it. The pork is really juicy and has a nice peppery bite to it. I went to see a show on 42nd street with some friends and convinced them to go to Tony Lukes for drinks after. Right!! My mind was on that prok and I ended up eating 2 1/2 sandwiches (I polisehd off the second half of my girlfriend's sandwich). What can I say, leaving that was akin to food abuse!! hehe

                      1. I was in Philly yesterday and had a very good Roast Pork with Provolone at DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market. That market, by the way, is fantastic! It's like combining the Essex and Chelsea Markets, and it's still better!

                        Now I'm curious to finally try Tony Luke's here in NYC.

                        There are tables since the renovation, correct?


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                          Correct, tables and a bar. Also a take-out window at the rear.

                          1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                            Where can one find a pork sandwich like that in NYC?? I would love to know. The only problem with Reading Terminal Market is that it shuts down at 5pm and is closed on Sundays.

                          2. Folks, please keep this thread focused on chow in Manhattan. Thanks.

                            1. I think people are discounting 99 Miles. I had a Carl's and I found it pretty inferior comparatively.

                              1. I just had the cheesesteak at Tony Luke's the other night and wasn't crazy about it. I like the steak chopped fine like at 99 Miles or Carls, but this was sliced and a bit tough. I had it as a steak Italian with rabe and provie. I enjoyed it enough, but porbably wouldn't get it again. I've never been to Philly, so I can't compare it to the original Tony Luke's, but I'd eat two roast pork sandwiches a day from the 9th Ave shop if I could.