Cheese Steak Shop Redux
Your posts got me excited to try the Cheese Steak Shop. I wanted to post then, but figured I'd wait. Now that I know what I'm talking about...
I went to the University location in Berkeley, just west of San Pablo.
I can enthusiastically recommend it. Solid cheese steak. I've lived on the East Coast, not in Philly, but close enough that I'll warrant my haunts didn't lose much of the cheese steak concept in translation.
As other posters noted, the bread is flown in from Philly. The classic Amoroso roll. They do a good but not perfect job with the grilling. The familiar cheese/meat mash-up is delicious--greasy but not grossly so. The onions is where they lose points with me. A little more caramelization is essential. Of course, this is a problem that might easily be addressed by a quick word over the shoulder of the grill master.
The fries suck, but who cares? (I suspect they fry their fries in the same oil as their fish--whether by policy or aberration from policy I don't know. I could be wrong on this point.)
While this place doesn't quite equal the few famous Cheese Steak Cathedrals of the East, it would be a respectable entry in the genre in any eastern city. Anybody who says different is homesick.
I eat very little meat, but went to the Divisadero location with a cheeseteak fan last week. Had the spicy veggie (or "tangy," or something), and totally fell in love with it.
All this is to say, you'll be doing your vegetarian friends a favor by dragging them along with you. (Okay, not strictly veg -- I know the mushrooms/onions/peppers were cooked on the same grill as the meat. But hey, still loved it.)
Cheesesteak shop calls my name about once a month and won't shut up until I go there. I go to the one at Divis and Sutter. Need to try another location one of these days to see if they measure up. Medium cheesesteak wit onions and peppers is my libation of choice. Frys are worthy but not a reason to go.
Polker's does do good fries, but have a burger and skip the cheesesteak. Jake's is good, but the bread/meat ratio is just a little off when compared to CSS.
On an aside, I think the fries at the California Street Deli (in the JCC next to 415) are very good and worth a trip.
i agree the cheesesteak shop fries are good.
I had a Jake's [San Fran on Buchanan] delivered last night. Good sandwich but the fry options suck. Jake is still around for another month.
Polker's has satisfying fries, but i've never been brave enough to try their version of cheesesteak.
I should pick up an order of their fries and get Jake's to deliver, including a water ice of course.