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Best Cheesesteak - Case Closed

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JohnnyT Dec 24, 2008 06:28 PM

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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    steelydad RE: JohnnyT Dec 24, 2008 08:08 PM

    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
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      rich in stl RE: steelydad Dec 26, 2008 01:05 PM

      [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
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        mitchh RE: rich in stl Dec 26, 2008 02:16 PM

        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
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          jpc8015 RE: mitchh Dec 27, 2008 05:13 AM

          I sense a bit of sarcasm in the OP.

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      IamStarving RE: JohnnyT Dec 25, 2008 03:37 AM

      and then?

      2 Replies
      1. re: IamStarving
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        mitchh RE: IamStarving Dec 25, 2008 05:20 AM

        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: IamStarving
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          MattInNJ RE: IamStarving Mar 24, 2009 06:30 AM

          no and then!

        2. b
          brightman RE: JohnnyT Dec 26, 2008 12:12 PM

          link to article

          http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s...

          2 Replies
          1. re: brightman
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            janniecooks RE: brightman Dec 27, 2008 03:22 AM

            Pickles??? A cheesesteak with pickles? Gaaaagh!

            1. re: janniecooks
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              sommrluv RE: janniecooks Dec 27, 2008 08:32 PM

              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

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            Gorp512 RE: JohnnyT Dec 26, 2008 12:27 PM

            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
              PattiCakes RE: Gorp512 Mar 24, 2009 05:31 AM

              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
                lynnlato RE: PattiCakes Mar 24, 2009 06:53 AM

                "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
                  JohnE O RE: lynnlato Mar 24, 2009 11:46 AM

                  Tastykake delivers, you know.

                  http://www.tastykake.com/

                  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. Passadumkeg RE: JohnnyT Dec 28, 2008 03:27 PM

              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
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                Ericandblueboy RE: Passadumkeg Jan 2, 2009 02:46 PM

                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
                  Passadumkeg RE: Ericandblueboy Jan 2, 2009 06:46 PM

                  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
                    lynnlato RE: Passadumkeg Mar 23, 2009 03:53 PM

                    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
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                  steelydad RE: Passadumkeg Jan 29, 2009 11:48 AM

                  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 HOAGIES...lol

                3. paulj RE: JohnnyT Dec 30, 2008 08:07 AM

                  The Sterns have been giving their opinion about 'road food' long before they started a column in Gourmet. They have books, a web site, and are regulars on The Splendid Table. Their opinion of cheesesteak should be taken as THEIR opinion, not the magazine's. They have been writing about this kind of food for several decades.

                  Years ago I took a short vacation along the Blue Ridge Parkway, with Sterns' book in hand. After ordering items like peanut soup and sweet potato pie at a Virginia restaurant, the waitress asked if I was using their book. Apparently they were getting quite a few customers placing similar orders. Overall I was happy with their recommendations.

                  I'd trust them to find good, and sometimes unusual, examples of regional food. Whether that makes them good judges of a hotly debated dish like Cheesesteak is another matter.

                  1. f
                    FriedClamFanatic RE: JohnnyT Jan 29, 2009 06:50 PM

                    LOL........those of you who are nautically inclined, will be used to the continual debate over the best type of anchor to use.

                    Cheesesteaks, Like Clam Chowder (NE vs Man vs RI), Hot Dogs (natural casing or not) Crabcakes (MD or the rest of the world), Spag. Bolognese, Sourdough Bread, Oysters, etc. will always have vociferous adherents on both sides of the fence (or mutiple fences in some cases). Right after we solve the problems of the Middle East and who has the right way of life, we will tackle who makes the beast...........whatever. Stay tuned! Decisions will then be final!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic
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                      keby RE: FriedClamFanatic Mar 23, 2009 02:35 PM

                      Too funny. I go with Phila - cheesesteak, MD Bay for crabcake, New England for Oysters - but love west coast too, SF for Sourdough . . . to each his/her own but let those regions have their specialties. That's what makes a foodie traveler sooo excited - at least me anyway.
                      Find a hot new place, get a resv. out of town in only 2 weeks ahead of time - sweeeet!!

                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic
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                        Lenox637 RE: FriedClamFanatic Mar 23, 2009 03:36 PM

                        A lot of sand in the Middle East but no Maine lobstahs..... I'll take my chowdah with cream, my crabcakes with no bread crumbs, my etouffe with crawfish and my thin crust pizza, why would ANY ONE in their right mind want to use a knife and a fork for PIZZA of all things........... and my gooey Philly Cheesesteak with orange cheese sauce..... the way it's meant to be...... hold the pickles :-)

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