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Chink's Cheesesteaks

Chink's Update:

Finally, after living in Philly for 36 years (50 now), I made it to the supposed holy grail of cheesesteaks, Chinks. Located on Torresdale Ave. in the Lower NE, the small, but very busy restaurant was humming. I squeezed into one of their very small booths with my daughter, I anxiously waited for my waitress (only one there) to take my order and fulfill my destiny. After nearly a 20 minute wait to order, I gleefully ordered the large steak wit onions and american cheese. There were several other patrons ahead of me, but alas, nothing could deter me from tasting what many locals feel, the best cheesesteak in Philly.

Our waitress did bring us our drinks and a bowl of cut pickles and mildly hot peppers. I noticed two young girls in front preparing the cheesesteaks to order, each engaged in heated conversation with the other while another prepared milk shakes at the bar.

Finally, after a 30 minute wait, my prize had arrived. Upon first inspection, I noticed that the roll was not fully populated with steak, there was space aft and stern. Still, pushing past the empty aft, I got my first taste of what I hoped would be the best steak in town. My first taste revealed a little fat, some over cooked meat and chopped onion. Undaunted, a proceeded to give this sandwich another try. Yet again, over cooked meat, a little gristle, and a sad combination of too much cheese and onion.

Finishing the sandwich in less than 10 minutes, I walked away dismayed and somewhat betrayed by all the local fanfare. Chink's did not deliver the perfect cheesesteak by any means and in fact may be one of the worst steaks I have ever had.

My search continues.

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  1. Never been to Chinks.

    What do you think of Steve's I am?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Den

      Steve's in the Northeast, Bustleton Ave. location, is great. It's not chopped steak, like most, but thicker slabs of meat. A little chewier than others, served with Whiz, if you want. I liked it very much.

      1. re: IamStarving

        Thanks. I like Steve's Langhorne better but I asked because I wanted to get some perspective on your view of Chink's.

    2. I was just at Chinks this weekend and thought the steak was real good. No fat, great roll, perfect onions, great milkshake, speedy service. The best cheesesteak, and pork sand in the city are found at John's Roast Pork - awesome.

      2 Replies
        1. re: waynefoodie

          Still trying to digest that thing, two days now.

      1. This is a prime example why we as a city should discontinue rating cheesesteaks.......I've been to Chinks at least a dozen times and it has produced for me, each time, the most fantastically delicious steak in the city......it amazes me that anyone would consider this one of the worst. And yes, I've been to all the biggies. It is such a subjective issue.

        7 Replies
        1. re: G Goo

          I don't know, isn't rating ANY food or restaurant 'subjective' based on an individual's own taste?

          1. re: GDFLS

            My friend and I went on our own cheesesteak hunt per WIP. We went to Steve's, Grey's Lodge Pub, El Frusco's, Slack's, and Chinks. I thought that Chink's was the best out of all of them and that was our fourth stop. My buddy liked Steve's the best, but ranked Chinks 2nd. I completely agree that Cheesesteak rating is subjective to ones own tastes, but I am surprised to hear that Chink's steak was so bad because what I had was definitely not fatty, over cooked, or under stuffed. I would give them a second try.

            1. re: Adamlick

              Since enough people here give them a thumbs up, If I ever find myself in that neck of the hood, I'd give em a try. Maybe IamStarving just happen to get there on a bad day and a bad hunk of meat. Maybe the gril girls were having an off day :) I use to love this place, Brocco's, in south philly for cheese steaks, but only when the 'old dude' was there cooking them. For some reason his steaks came out so much better than anyone else that made them there, could be the case with Chinks?

              1. re: GDFLS

                I am able to move my left arm, now. Just kidding. If I ever get back there, I'll try it again.

                1. re: GDFLS

                  brocco's was the best. i grew up around the corner from there and pretty much only ate theirs and ragazzino's (now morning glory) for my first 17 years (with one exception - i had a girlfriend (not actual girlfriend, but the s philly definition of girlfriend) who lived just off city line avenue and there was this awesome place she used to get steaks just on the edge of west philly). the old man was nickie brocco, who passed away a little while ago. they also had awesome hoagies.

                  and just to complain a tiny bit, i love what the rebirth of bella vista has done for the local economy, but can you believe that people who moved into the neighborhood actually tried to get the brocco's to take down their sign (about ten years ago)? you move into a neighborhood for the local color and then say it's too gaudy. humfph! that still annoys me.

              2. re: GDFLS

                True enough. Are there levels of subjectiveness??

                It always amazes me that people could have such different opinions of such a simple food.

                1. re: G Goo

                  Nothing's simple. I made butter cookies at Christmas. I didn't have unsalted and so I used salted butter. (Which I forget I think I read has 3/8ths of a teaspoon in the pound?)

                  Anyhow, this is a rough, but it's close: Roughly 23 people loved them. Person 24 tasted the salt mildly but didn't bother him. And #25 said they were putrid and tasted like she was eating the ocean.

                  So yeah, imagine something more "complex" as a cheese steak. :)

            2. I live about five blocks away from Chinks. And I've lived here about 15 years now. I've always heard the same story Chinks this, Chinks that, Chinks is the greatest. Two things.

              One, I haven't been to Chinks in 12 years or so because they were not that hot. I suspect the rep they got must have been 20-30 years ago.

              Two, another couple blocks more away, Star Pizza at Vankirk and Torresdale. These guys rock and this is the place I have gone over and over for a decade-plus. Great cheesesteaks. Among the best I've had.

              Plus they are not a one-trick pony. They also make among the best pizzas anywhere. A killer meatball grinder. And not only the best grilled chicken caesar salad in Philly, but the best I've had anywhere. (I mean I tried casinos in AC, in Vegas, places in Center City Philly, you name it.) And the two best grilled chicken caesar salads are from two little places in Northeast Philly, with Star being one of them.

              So if you get back up this way, try them out for sure!

              1 Reply
              1. re: HarryK

                Make your way over the bridge to SJ and try out Donkee's! I suggest the Medford or Ocean City locations unless you think going to Camden and risking your life for a chessesteak is a good idea.

                Is Harry K really talking about salad and butter cookies on a cheesesteak thread?

              2. We all have our favorites but I'm so bored by hyperbole. I've never had a Chinks steak but I cannot believe that by anyone's judgment it "may be one of the worst steaks [they] have ever had".
                If you were looking to bait folks, I fell for it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Chinon00

                  I had a Chink's cheesesteak today for lunch. It was pretty packed, so I had to wait about 10 min for the cheesesteak, but it was worth it. I like my cheesesteaks with lettuce, tomatoes, raw onions and mayo. I got the large, and with the extra toppings the total came to $7.50 - kind of expensive for lunch, but not bad.

                  Overall, I enjoyed the cheesesteak. Lots of meat and toppings, and it tasted great. My only criticism would be that the cheese wasn't fully melted into the steak. But the steak was right off the grill and very hot, so it melted quickly. Not the best I've had, but definitely up there at the top.

                2. I agree with IamStarving. Heard all the great pub about Chink's so I had to try it. Underwhelmed. EXACT same experience. Long wait for a mediocre steak. Won't be back. So many others to try, so little time. Think I'll try Steve's next time I'm up that way.