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Dec 24, 2008 06:28 PM

Best Cheesesteak - Case Closed

The matter has now been resolved. We will no longer have to endure debates as to whose neighborhood joint makes the best steak sandwich. An authoritative voice has decided the matter. Gourmet Magazine has made up for its long-standing neglect of the Philadelphia dining scene.

Jane and Michael Stern visited the city, reviewed the contenders and came up with a list of the best. Please do not attempt to criticize this list. This is, after all, Gourmet Magazine. This matter is resolved now and for all time!

You should also enjoy the article about Marc Vetri. They spare no accolades in praising him and his restaurants.

Its about time that the City of Brotherly Love receives its due respect for its culinary accomplishments. Long overdue, in fact.

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  1. OK, who are the winners? NFN, could someone please enlighten me as to how Jane and Michael became cheesesteak mavens? Thanks. Merry Xmas

    3 Replies
    1. re: steelydad

      [QUOTE]Everyone has an opinion on where you can find the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia. Including us.[/quote]

      Jane and Micheal are giving their OPINIONS - if you disagree with them, thats OK too. They also give information about what they base their opinions on so you have a chance to know if your opinions and theirs gibe.

      1. re: rich in stl

        I don't think steelydad's issue is that Mr. and Mrs Gourmet have an opinion, but more so that the OP stated that the debate is now over because Mr and Mrs Gourmet have spoken.

        1. re: mitchh

          I sense a bit of sarcasm in the OP.

      1. re: IamStarving

        Perhaps the OP is being sarcastic?

        And, if not, with all due respect, nobody is the say all/end all expert on cheesesteaks. Everyone has different tastes and I'm guessing that Mr and Mrs Gourmet Magazine has different tastes than Joe Lunchbox does.

          1. re: brightman

            Pickles??? A cheesesteak with pickles? Gaaaagh!

            1. re: janniecooks

              That cheesesteak should be shot.

              How dare they mention Steve's and not put an address...

              I do notice a trend among some of my more serious foodie/cheffie friends, and I wonder if it's the issue here...People who 'Taste' a lot, always needing that acid of some sort. Some steaks have sauce on them, but possibly that is why they liked the bite of the (wrongly) placed pickles.

              And a steak is just a steak is a steak...until it's a steak wit cheese. lol

          2. I seriously think that the cheesesteak may be the worst thing about Philadelphia dining. I don't know what it is about that disgusting excuse for a sandwich that makes people so crazy, but you look at a place like Chicago which arguably has more of a storied street food tradition with things like hot dogs and , to an extent, pizza. Yet Chicago is still looked upon as a food mecca with places like Blackbird and Alinea. I would put any of Philly's superstar chefs(Vetri, Garces, Levin, Sikora ) against any other city's top chefs. There is no much more to Philly food that the cheesesteak, I wish it would just go away.

            As for Vetri, I got his cookbook for Xmas and have to say it is wonderful. He respects the ingredients and makes amazing food that is accessible if you take the time. I love Jose Garces but his recipes call for circulators and mail order for many of the ingredients. Get some white plates and bring Vetri home with his book. Its awesome. It also doesn't have a cumbersome jacket. Very kitchen friendly.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Gorp512

              Gorp: "I seriously think that the cheesesteak may be the worst thing about Philadelphia dining."

              Philly cheesesteak is not dining. It's basically street food or home food. I don't think anyone is touting the cheesesteak as the epitome on Philly cuisine -- it's a convenient identifier, like scrapple, soft pretzels or TastyKakes. NY is known for its dirty water dogs; Chicago for it's deep dish; Cincinatti for its chili; Buffalo for its wings....... I would venture to say that those cities are so much more in a culinary sense than that, just as Philly is so much more than cheesesteaks. Chill, get a grip. It's supposed to be fun.

              1. re: PattiCakes

                "scrapple, soft pretzels or TastyKakes"

                Ok, you are really making me miss home. God, what I wouldn't give for a TastyKake right about now.

                1. re: lynnlato

                  Tastykake delivers, you know.


                  They used to bake all of their pies on Mondays, so if you're ordering any of those, do it Mon/Tues or else you'll end up with the dreaded shrunken top crust. The coconut Kandy Kakes rule.

            2. How the Hell could someone not from Philly decide the best cheese steak?? Its like someone who doesn't know their hot tamale from a frijole going to El Paseo and judging the best menudo. I do hope Johnny t is driping in sarcasm.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Passadumkeg

                What's so special about a cheese steak that would require being born in Philly to judge which tastes better? Is my palate for bread, thinly sliced beef, cheese whiz, and onions worse than someone who's from Philly?

                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                  One must be from the Chesapeake Bay area to know what real Maryland crab cakes taste like (or so I've been told repeatedly), I think tha same hold w/ a Philly cheesesteak. I've had some sorry excuses for them out of the Philly area and the same w/ crab cakes here in Maine. It is a local specialty made in a special way.

                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    Exactly. It's so much more than bread, sliced beef, cheese whiz and onions. The quality of the bread has ALOT to do w/ the quality of the cheesesteak overall. If you have a crappy hoagie roll, the sandwich is garbage, IMHO. And the ratio of steak to cheese and toppings is also key for me, personally. I despise and overloaded sandwich.

                2. re: Passadumkeg

                  Right on Passadumka! It would be like you and me acting like experts on Po Boys. Fact is, even though I moved out of philly after college, I have eaten cheesesteaks in at least a minimum of 25 plus joints in Philly and the environs over the years. Now, lets start a thread on