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Where's the BEST Philly Ch'Steak in West LA?

Okay... so, I've been to this weird place on Westwood, just south of SM Blvd. I was shocked and appauled when the hostess offered the "house special" which included marinara sauce. Reserving judgment until I actually tried it, I gave it an honest taste. M'eh. Not awful, but CERTAINLY not what I would call a house special. Sucked.

So, come on Chowhounds, if anyone knows, you all do... Where can I find an unbelievable Philly Steak in LA? Oh, and a killer French Dip spot couldn't hurt either.

((If any of you are in the Upper Northwest... near Seattle.... Salty's has THE most amazing French Dip I've had in a while... and on a Ciabatta, no less. Hmmm. Innovative. Tasty))

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  1. Well worth the drive is Big Mike's. I make the drive from SGV. Get the large size because it is way too big for one meal and the other half is just as good cold or re-heated later that night.

    Big Mike's Philly Steaks
    http://www.chow.com/places/9482

    Mimi's (a chain) has the French Dip. The bread and sliced rost beef ae both outstanding.

    http://www.mimiscafe.com/

    1. I trust you are talking about Philly West, which is a divy sports bar just south of Santa Monica Blvd. on the east side of Westwood. Yes, their cheesesteak includes a marinara sauce in its description, but the default version seems to be served without it unless one specifically asks. I like the cheesesteak there -- it is only about $6, they grill the onions properly, and it is a straightforward meaty version rather than emphasizing the peppers. It can benefit from the double-meat option for a couple bucks more, which just brings it up to competitors' prices. But I gotta say, I've found it difficult to order the cheesesteak at Philly West since I discovered their burger, chargrilled and served on the same kind of roll, which I think is the best in town for less than $12 -- twice its price.

      I miss Markie D's in Culver City, which was a huge hot football of meat, heavy on the peppers and light on the cheese, but more than I could eat. Hoagies & Wings, which took over the place, serves more a hot beef grinder with lettuce and tomato. Great Western, down on Lincoln towards Venice, cooked me a horrible burnt-onion american cheese laden mess the time I tried it. South Street, in Westwood Village, is up and down depending on the cook and their cleanliness rating -- their cheesesteak is good if a bit chintzy and overpriced, but it becomes an ok value with the combo that includes fries, a small salad, and a drink. It improves with their hot sauce. I've never tried the cheesesteak at The Shack on Wilshire about 25th, usually ordering the double-burger there. I've read enthusiastic recommendations for the prime rib french dip at Houston's, but by the time you include tax and tip there you are spending more than a $20.

      7 Replies
      1. re: nosh

        yeah - philly west only serves it w/marinara unless requested. most people like it. but i LOVE philly west - it's great! the hogie steak is fantastic.

        if you want a super real philly steak - go to philly. we're in la.

        1. re: dtud

          The first one I had at Jim’s I added one of the “extras” listed in the menu -- “Pizza Sauce.” IMO it was good but I like the steaks I have had since without that extra because the meat, cheese, a little grilled onion and hot peppers are more than enough flavors to handle. So maybe you are correct about having to go east to have that kind of extra done right. Philly West just might be doing the best they can to live up to their name, at least the “West” part of the name. The issue becomes how close is that marinara sauce to pizza sauce?

          Jim’s – click on menu and see “extras.”
          http://www.jimssteaks.com/indexb.htm

          1. re: JeetJet

            That's where you start getting into the variations that they have even in Philly - pizza steak, mushroom steak, etc. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they start with a good cheese steak.

            And I agree, Big Mike's is the best anyhere near the Westside. But I have to admit, I was never a huge fan of Jim's.

        2. re: nosh

          YES! Philly West. {{shiver}} not again. Yeah, I've gotten a couple people saying Houston's for the 'Dip. I think that's my destination, next. =) Thanks, nosh.

          1. re: WORX4FUDE

            Or you can find the same thing, (prime rib dip) at their sister restaurant, Bandera. SW corner of Barrington and Wilshire.

            1. re: WORX4FUDE

              Based on this Board's Rec. I had a Houstons French Dip at lunch a few months back. Manhattan Beach location. A friend and I had spilt one along with one of their Burgers. Actually did not live up to the expectations for me ( roll not philly style and more like a roast beef sandwich with a jus no cheese, sauce, onions etc..... I prefer Philly West anyday of the week over Houstons. FYI I am not a big Houstons Fan.. we went there take adavantage of the free corkage after a Bordeaux Wine run in OC..

              1. re: Foodandwine

                French Dip sandwiches never have cheese or onions or anything, really, except the meat and au jus.

          2. The hoagies are Philly West are just as good as their cheesesteak. One has to ask for marinara on that chessesteak - otherwise it is properly prepared, ol' skool style, sans marinara.

            4 Replies
            1. re: J.L.

              Actually, for a Philadlephian, that should be "ol' Schuylkill style." Though, even there, you can get into some very passionate debates over whether Geno's, Jim's and Pat's (or some other competitor) is the best/most authentic--me, I was a Jim's fan, though I had a great one at Tony Luke's last visit. For L.A., Philly West is pretty good, not as good as the late Markie D's was but better than South Street has been in the past while--when it first opened, South Street was better and more generous with the portions.

              1. re: New Trial

                Hehehehe... that's SEPTA-style (you "Main Liners" will know what I mean)!

                1. re: New Trial

                  there's actually a Markie D's a few blocks away from Johnnie's Pastrami on Washington, i thnk, near the corner of Sepulveda and Wash.

                  1. re: kevin

                    Unfortunately Markie D's mutated into a Hoagie and Wings or something similar.

              2. Is South Street too far? (http://www.southstreetcheesesteak.com/

                )

                as for french dips... i like Houston's (Century City)

                4 Replies
                1. re: JackonCrack

                  Probably not too far, but South Street is one of the worst cheese steaks I've ever had. And it's way overpriced. Avoid at all costs.

                  1. re: JackonCrack

                    Houstons!... Now that's a place I have never thought to try. Awesome. Thanks, Jack. I will head over for a French Dip tomorrow! =) And I'll save South Street or another day.

                    1. re: WORX4FUDE

                      According to the website, the prime rib french dip at Houston's in Century City is $18! You can get three cheesesteaks (or better, burgers) at Philly West for that.

                      1. re: nosh

                        Yes but the quality of the prime rib in Houston's dip is well worth it. Head and shoulders over what you get a typical sandwich joint.

                  2. Fredo's Philly in Burbank is excellent.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: klaatu

                      Do you mean Fredo's Philly in Pasadena, on Lake Ave. or is there really another Fredo's Philly in Burbank?

                      1. re: ElsieDee

                        Oops. I meant Pasadena. Yeah, the one on Lake.

                      2. re: klaatu

                        Never even knew Fredo's existed until reading this. I work over in La Canada and my guilty pleasures occasionally lead me to The Hat (a few blocks south at Villa). I will have to put blinders on next time, and go the 3 extra blocks to try Fredo's.

                        As for westside cheese steaks, I live near Venice and have frequented Great Western for years and years (30 to be exact).... though I have to admit the quality isn't up to par with South Street, Big Mike's, or the now-defunct Markie D's - just different. Very "hit-r'-miss" and purists scoff at it (but I never followed "purist" anything if the mood hit me).

                        Good luck in your search.

                      3. French Dip has to be Phillipe downtown near Union Station - has been there forever and is the best beef dip...very atmospheric old Los Angeles.

                        1. If Main Street in El Segundo can be considered westside, had a GREAT cheesesteak with sweet and spicy peppers at Big Mike's. Excellent -- a worthy successor to me for Markie D's, though about three times further away and well outside my day-to-day routine.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: nosh

                            Victors on Washington Blvd across from Sony Studio. Does them has good cheesestake?

                            1. re: Jeryy

                              That is Victor Jr.'s on the north side of Washington in Culver City -- I made the same mistake when I first found out about them. (Victors evidently is a deli in another part of town -- no relation.) I like Victor Jr.'s a lot -- eggplant parm, meatball sub, Italian salad. I tried the Philly Cheesesteak there on the rec of a counterperson, and it was a good sandwich but not my favorite item there. It just missed somehow -- more a hot roast beef sandwich with melted cheese than a true Philly cheese. The meat was more still in thicker slices than razor thin pieces that clump together on the grill. I do not remember it having much of an onion presence, and since I was sharing I didn't request peppers. Give it a try, your experience may differ, and as I mentioned I really like the place. Note that it is only open on weekdays.

                          2. Philly West isn't bad but probably isn't the best in LA (at least I hope not), but it IS an authentic Philly steak.

                            What I miss more in an authentic Hoagie like Lee's in Philly. I love Bay Cities, etc. but its a different animal.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ElJeffe

                              Then look no further than Lee's Hoagie House in Pasadena. Once upon a time, it was a franchise of the Philly one (I lived across the street from the Lee's at 4034 Walnut). Though it is now independent, they turn out the real thing, complete with peppers & onions. They also do a fine and authentic hoagie at Luigi Ortega's, also in Pasadena. LO's uses Amoroso's rolls. Their toppings bar includes all of the requisite peppers, both sweets & hots.

                              -----
                              Lee's Hoagie House
                              2269 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

                              Luigi Ortega's
                              1655 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

                              1. re: Jack Flash

                                I've heard good things about Lee's and also Fredo's. But the OP and the thread specify Philly cheesesteaks in West L.A.

                                1. re: Jack Flash

                                  Jack, if Lee's taste's like the real Lee's, you're my new best Chowhound friend. It's on the calendar for next weekend!!