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Best Philly (style) Cheese Steak in LA?

ipsedixit Dec 29, 2011 11:56 AM

Is there a consensus on the best Philly Cheese Steak sandwich in LA?

I dug up this old thread, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/340805, but was wondering if there's anything new to be had, or tried?

  1. f
    funkycold Jan 9, 2012 03:01 PM

    Never been to Philly but I love South Philly Experience. I love it soooo much that it is one of my favorite food trucks in all of LA.

    That and Nom Nom! Its a close tie.

    1. b
      Burger Boy Jan 7, 2012 09:51 AM

      There is a new place on Virgil at Fountain, Boos Philly Cheese Steak, has anyone tried it yet?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Burger Boy
        Peripatetic Jan 7, 2012 11:04 AM

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8255...

        Looking forward to trying this place out!

        1. re: Peripatetic
          Servorg Jan 7, 2012 11:34 AM

          CH place link for Boo's added to the database

          -----
          Boo's Philly Cheesesteaks and Hoagies
          4501 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

      2. w
        wasabica Jan 5, 2012 07:23 PM

        Lived in Philly for decades making many a trip to South Philly. I still go back when I can. Except for this one hole-in-the-wall in Medford NJ, I found Geno's to be the best. (Sad the owner died.) Whiz is gross. Most locals (and everyone I hung out with all got Provolone. Whiz is for tourists & kids. And I got mushrooms. So with that context, I haven't found any place in LA better than Philly's Best. It is a chain, there are a few.. There used to be a better place in Pasadena but it closed about 5 years ago. That is not to say PB is that great, it is not. But it is the best I found. And it is WAYYYYYY better than that awful SPE truck that I went to great lengths to hunt down...and even gave them a second chance. Lacks depth of flavor. And they do not assemble it well - the cheese needs to be melted on to the bread using meat grease. Then the meat, then the onions even distributed over all. As other posters mentioned, the steak and onions need to be cooked in the rendered fat of the steaks that came before it. They probably clean the grill way too well and lose the flavors. http://www.eatphillysbest.com/locations/

        16 Replies
        1. re: wasabica
          j
          Jase Jan 5, 2012 08:07 PM

          I started going to Philly's Best years ago when they first opened up their original one in Fountain Valley. To my non-philly palate, it was pretty darn good. But it seems like in the past few years, they've gone downhill. At the very least inconsistent from location to location. The prices creeped up with the quality and quantity dropping.

          It's been a couple of years since I've been to one and it was at the Lake Forest and Irvine locations. Have they improved their quality control?

          1. re: Jase
            w
            wasabica Jan 5, 2012 08:26 PM

            I have just been to the one in Long Beach. I haven't been there in about a year, but in the few times I went it was consistent. Again, not great - but acceptable.

            1. re: wasabica
              j
              Jase Jan 6, 2012 09:25 AM

              Thanks. I used to like Mike's in El Segundo a lot. But the last couple of times something changed in the way they mix the peppers, meat and cheese. Can't quite put my finger on it but it's not as good. I still like it but it doesn't quite hit the spot for me.

              Philly's West on Westwood, I like how they do the meat, cheese and onions but their bread definitely isn't traditional philly style.

              1. re: Jase
                w
                wasabica Jan 6, 2012 09:33 AM

                Jase, you lost me at "Peppers." ;)

                1. re: wasabica
                  j
                  Jase Jan 6, 2012 09:54 AM

                  LOL! I like peppers in my cheesesteak. I thought cherry peppers were part of the philly cheesesteak canon? Philly's Best offers it. Yes, there is something sublime with just the meat, cheese, onion and bread. But I also like the heat and texture difference the peppers give. Not bell pepper though, should be cherry peppers.

                  Mike's does offer it without.

                  1. re: Jase
                    w
                    wasabica Jan 6, 2012 10:37 AM

                    Blasphemy!! LOL. You can have a hot cherry pepper on the side, but no peppers on the sandwich. If you are a purist, that is. I actually like what they call Pizza Steaks, which means that add some tomato sauce. Shhhhhhh

                    1. re: wasabica
                      n
                      nosh Jan 6, 2012 08:23 PM

                      Philly West offers tomato sauce on their cheesesteaks, if desired. It is a divy bar on the east side of Westwood Blvd, just south of Santa Monica Blvd., free parking in the rear. I really like their Philly cheesesteak (with onions and white American cheese). It is not a huge sandwich, but the cheese is melted well with the meat, and it is very succulent. It is also very reasonably priced at $6 and change.

                      Big Mike's on Main in El Segundo used to be my favorite -- I'd order their 12-inch and have half there and the other wrapped to go. Certainly this is a winner in terms of quantity of meat, with lots and lots of nicely grilled beef.I order mine with both mild and hot peppers, and I like the addition. But the last few times the cheese has been skimpy, and the resulting sandwich has been a bit on the dry side. Friendly service, easy parking in the lot alongside, and their onion rings (lightly battered rather than breadcrumbs) are really good.

                      1. re: nosh
                        m
                        mrhooks Jan 7, 2012 12:29 PM

                        In my experience, the cheese issue has always been there, although I like to consider it a "too much meat" issue (along with throwing off the meat/cheese ratio, it also makes the cheesesteak difficult to eat, and sometimes is a little too much grease for the roll to soak up). I always used to ask for extra cheese (extra $.50). I thought it was maybe a tiny bit too much cheese, but far better than not enough.

                      2. re: wasabica
                        Arthur Jan 15, 2012 09:59 PM

                        I've never spent time in Philly, so I've never had a hometown cheesesteak there. However, about 25 years ago the world-famous Pat's had an outpost in NYC and I used to eat there regularly until it went under. As I recall, chopped peppers were considered a standard part of their cheesesteak sandwiches. (For the record, so was provolone.)

                        Every decent cheesesteak place in LA has offered peppers as well, including the dearly departed Markie D's - and I never once heard anyone question MD's authenticity. Also from my experience, mushrooms may or may not be available as a cheesesteak addition at many places, but they certainly are not standard.

                        1. re: Peripatetic
                          Arthur Jan 16, 2012 12:14 PM

                          FWIW, attached is the background picture currently used on the menu page of the Pat's website. As you can see, the restaurant selected a cheesesteak with peppers and provolone - no mushrooms - to most prominently represent and market its arguably definitive menu offerings.

                          http://www.patskingofsteaks.com/menu....

                           
                          1. re: Arthur
                            j
                            Jack Flash Jan 16, 2012 02:02 PM

                            As you can see looking at the menu, that's a pepper cheesesteak "wit."

                            A standard cheesesteak is just that: cheese & steak. Either "wit" [onions] or "wit-out."

                            1. re: Jack Flash
                              Arthur Jan 16, 2012 03:40 PM

                              Jack, my point was merely to rebut the posted notion that it is "Blasphemy!!" by cognoscenti "purist" standards to put peppers on a cheesesteak. That position simply holds no water. Yes, of course the foundational base is always just cheese and steak, but how many people order it that plain? Suggesting it's somehow wrong or inauthentic to put peppers on a cheesesteak is IMO like saying it's inappropriate to put pepperoni on a pizza.

                              1. re: Arthur
                                w
                                wasabica Jan 16, 2012 05:12 PM

                                Arthur, the photo on the home page was for marketing. The peppers are very pretty. But if you look close, the provolone cheese is not even properly melted on the bread (although provolone is perfectly acceptable) and the onions are not well-distributed. If you click on the page "how to order like a local" http://www.patskingofsteaks.com/order... no will note there is no mention of peppers or mushrooms nor do you see them pictured. When I used to go there I had to whisper that I wanted mushrooms; locals in line scoff when you order mushrooms or peppers.

                                1. re: wasabica
                                  Peripatetic Jan 16, 2012 05:22 PM

                                  > But if you look close, the provolone cheese is not even properly melted
                                  > on the bread (although provolone is perfectly acceptable) and the onions
                                  > are not well-distributed.

                                  Definitely one for "Overheard On the Boards", Thi N!

                                  My recollection, based on frequent visits when I traveled to Philadelphia from NYC weekly in the late 80's, was that the canonical four choices were: "wiz", "provolone", "wiz wit", or "provolone wit", and cherry peppers on the side were acceptable. Anything else was subject to derision, even though they were on the menu. Remember, Philly is the city that booed Santa Claus: http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christ...

                                  1. re: Peripatetic
                                    w
                                    wasabica Jan 16, 2012 06:25 PM

                                    I lived in the area in the late 80's and agree completely with your recollection. The pizza steak was ok to order but the mushrooms caused glares. My friends refused to ever order for me. Peppers on the steak? no way.

                                2. re: Arthur
                                  j
                                  Jack Flash Jan 16, 2012 06:45 PM

                                  It's an issue of nomenclature. A cheesesteak doesn't have peppers. That's a pepper steak. A cheesesteak doesn't have marinara. That's a pizza steak.

                                  Peppers and mushrooms (and even marinara) have long been available toppings on a steak sandwich in Philadelphia sandwich shops, but the menu item called a "cheesesteak" is supposed to be just that: cheese and steak, either "wit" or "wit-out."

            2. blackbookali Jan 1, 2012 09:43 AM

              Well, Ill start this with saying my fav cheesesteak is Tony Lukes(I assume you know this is not in LA but in the land of brotherly love).

              With that as my standard, cheesesteaks in LA are meager in portions and the requisite grease but I found a place recommended to me by a die hard Eagles fan and fan of Jims(also in Phila), called "Hoagie Steak out". Now one warning sign was that this place had a kogi cheesesteak, which is far from "authentic South Philly", but guess what? We are not in Philly, and the kogi version is interesting. Another warning sign is that the cheesesteak here is tiny compared to say a sub at Bay Cities, but, BUT what is important here is that meat to cheese to bread ratio is SPOT ON and there is a healthy amount of grease in the sandwich. Yeah, any good griddle, whether it be for tacos, burgers or cheesesteaks is a cardiologists nightmare but thats the key to a good steak. This is not to say a great cheesesteak is dunked in a deep fryer, but its born on a griddle that is in a near constant state of rendering steak fat, and sweating onions(and mushrooms and peppers if thats your thing)

              Its really good and its like $6.50 for a steak wid provolone and onion

              18 Replies
              1. re: blackbookali
                Servorg Jan 1, 2012 10:22 AM

                Assuming that you read the above comments made to Chino Wayne regarding the "inauthenticity" of his nomination of a cheesesteak because it had (the horror!) non approved items like provolone cheese on it then what say you about the "chili, cheese, bacon and fries" version offered at Hoagie Steak Out in Hollywood? ;-D> The photos I saw on Yelp made it look absolutely delicious. Good find, bbali and thanks for sharing.

                Assuming that the website for the original one in San Jose didn't get updated to reflect this Hollywood location then this is it: http://www.hoagiesteakout.com/

                1429 N Highland Ave
                Los Angeles, CA 90028
                Hollywood
                (323) 962-8833

                1. re: Servorg
                  Peripatetic Jan 1, 2012 10:40 AM

                  To be fair, the question was: "Best Philly (style) Cheese Steak in LA?". That's a very specific question. So while people came down on poor ChinoWayne like a ton of bricks, he was answering a different question than the one asked. Not that there's any problem with this, but if you don't add some sort of disclaimer that you realize that's what you're doing, things can get ugly.

                  I relearned this the hard way when I made the mistake of recommending Bulgarini to a poster asking about ice cream in the SGV a few months ago.

                  1. re: Peripatetic
                    Servorg Jan 1, 2012 10:54 AM

                    If pure junk food (tasty junk food admittedly) like Philly CS's can't be riffed and improved upon by creative "DDD" type grill slingers, then I don't know what can. This is one sandwich that cries out for inventive cooks to doctor. Call me a rebel. Label me as a troll. I don't care...as long as you don't call me late for my ersatz CS... ;-D>

                    1. re: Servorg
                      Peripatetic Jan 1, 2012 10:59 AM

                      > If pure junk food (tasty junk food admittedly) like Philly CS's can't be
                      > riffed and improved upon by creative "DDD" type grill slingers

                      I wholeheartedly agree. But if I were recommending such an animal, I'd preface it with "Not exactly a Philly cheesesteak, but . . ."

                      1. re: Peripatetic
                        Servorg Jan 1, 2012 12:07 PM

                        So, "Neo-Philly-Style Cheesesteak" it is...

                        1. re: Servorg
                          ipsedixit Jan 1, 2012 12:10 PM

                          I prefer the term "Avant Garde Philly Style Cheese Steak"

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            Servorg Jan 1, 2012 12:13 PM

                            ""Avant Garde..."

                            Lipstick on a pig...(or possibly a cow) ;-D>

                            1. re: Servorg
                              Peripatetic Jan 1, 2012 03:37 PM

                              Any of the following should suffice:

                              Philly-esque cheesesteak
                              Quasi-Philly cheesesteak
                              Psuedo-Philly cheesesteak
                              Ersatz Philly cheesesteak
                              Faux-Philly cheesesteak
                              Not-your-dad's Philly cheesesteak

                              Am I off-topic yet?

                              1. re: Peripatetic
                                Servorg Jan 1, 2012 03:55 PM

                                "Am I off-topic yet" Probably not, but you're a "Silly Philly" for sure... And just to keep this on topic for certain I wonder if we have any other on the ground reports besides bbali's for his find? It seems passing strange that the website I found for the one up in San Jose doesn't list the Hollywood location. It makes me think they aren't related, but the Yelp reports about the cheesesteak with the fries, chili and bacon is the same (or at least close to the menu description on the website which lists "chili sauce" on it).

                                1. re: Servorg
                                  Servorg Jan 6, 2012 10:43 AM

                                  Hoagie Steakout place link added to CH database

                                  -----
                                  Hoagie Steakout
                                  1429 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                    2. re: Peripatetic
                      s
                      silence9 Jan 3, 2012 02:40 PM

                      Hi... See, I read 'Philly (style)' in the OP's thread title in just the opposite manner that you suggest. For example, a 'kosher-style' jewish deli is not strictly kosher per say, but serves foods that one usually might expect to find at a deli. In like manner, I read 'Philly (style)' as not being strictly dogmatic as to exacting Philly standards, but rather _in the style_ of that type of sandwich. I would surmise that the OP meant something more along the lines that you suggest, but there would seem to be some latitude in the term 'style', else why wouldn't the less ambiguous words 'Philly Cheese steak' have been employed?

                      1. re: silence9
                        Peripatetic Jan 3, 2012 04:21 PM

                        I read the "style" in parentheses to mean the OP was tacitly acknowledging that could be no Philly cheesesteak in LA (i.e., it would be a geographical contradiction), sort of like Champagne vs méthode champenoise. But I agree, it's not unambiguous.

                        OP?

                        1. re: Peripatetic
                          ipsedixit Jan 3, 2012 07:13 PM

                          You are correct Peripatetic.

                          Just like I would not say, "Where can I get Chicago Deep Dish Pizza in Los Angeles" but rather, "Where can I get Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza in Los Angeles".

                          Sorry for the ambiguity.

                    3. re: Servorg
                      blackbookali Jan 1, 2012 10:51 AM

                      in regards to authenticity: "American, wid wiz, or provolone" are all fair game at Tony Lukes. And IMO, as well as quite a few others, Tony Lukes is "authentic"

                      1. re: blackbookali
                        Servorg Jan 1, 2012 11:00 AM

                        Maybe it was the addition of mushrooms that caused the purists heads to explode (and not the provolone)... ;-D>

                        1. re: Servorg
                          m
                          mrhooks Jan 2, 2012 05:49 PM

                          They have mushroom steak and pizza steak (and the oddly-named chicken steak) in Philly too. And Jim's will put peppers in your cheesesteak if you request them, but I guess that comes with the territory of being a touristy place.

                          Even locals can't agree on white American vs. Provolone vs. Cheez Whiz. Whiz may be the original, but I have no problem with real cheese, any more than I do with gourmet burgers. I like a cheese that melts, so it's white American for me. A friend from South Philly swears by Provolone. It's all good. Whiz wit' may be what one orders at Pat's, but IMHO there are better steaks to be had than the original.

                          1. re: Servorg
                            s
                            Sgee Jan 5, 2012 09:11 PM

                            Purist says.. mushroom is fine just not peppers, flavor is too prominent.. :P

                            1. re: Sgee
                              s
                              Sgee Jan 5, 2012 10:10 PM

                              A sloppy beauty from Pat's. Wiz wid and 'shrooms

                               
                               
                    4. ChinoWayne Dec 30, 2011 08:03 PM

                      It's called a Hoagie at Domenico's in Monrovia. I just had one for lunch yesterday. I have no idea of the provenance of the roll they use. It comes loaded with beef, onions, peppers and mushrooms and by default mozzarella. I always sub provolone. They are a little skimpy on the provolone, but I suppose you can request extra. It's a pretty good sandwich when I am jonesing for one, but not quite as good as my recollection of the cheesesteak that Mike's Pizza in Encino turned out in the 1960's when my old man turned me on to them. (Probably nothing is ever as good as your first memories of a favorite food item.)

                      One of the good things about getting this sandwich at Domenico's is that if it doesn't fill you up (and it should) you can always have them make you a pizza.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: ChinoWayne
                        s
                        Sgee Dec 30, 2011 08:22 PM

                        Aaaaugggh!!! Philly Cheese Steak should only consist of proper bread, steak, cheese and maybe onions. Frankly it's all about the bread, screw it up and it won't matter if you fill it with 45 day old dry aged prime beef or artisanal provolone from Italy, it will suck!

                        Absolutely NO fried peppers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        1. re: Sgee
                          ipsedixit Dec 30, 2011 08:41 PM

                          I'd have to agree with Sgee on this.

                          Domenico's might make a great sandwich with sliced beef, but it ain't no Philly Cheese Steak.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            ChinoWayne Dec 30, 2011 10:53 PM

                            Here we go, cheesesteak wars. ;-)

                            Well, as I said, Ipse, the best cheesesteaks I have had were from a pizza joint 50 years ago and Domenico's Hoagie is the best I can currently find within the limits of my mobility, and it does a good job of satisfying my cravings.

                            So if anyone has a "taste" for a cheesesteak, and they are in the Monrovia area, Domenico's Hoagie might fit the bill, and they will serve you a beer alongside their Hoagies.

                            1. re: ChinoWayne
                              j
                              Jack Flash Dec 30, 2011 10:57 PM

                              Sounds like a delicious sandwich regardless of what they call it.

                              1. re: ChinoWayne
                                Servorg Dec 31, 2011 06:04 AM

                                CW, beware the cheesesteak pedants and their biting remarks! ;-D>

                        2. SilverlakeGirl Dec 29, 2011 04:02 PM

                          Over in NELA there is a place called Boos Philly Steak.

                          I have yet to try it.

                          http://www.boosphillycheesesteaks.com/

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                            j
                            JosephEBacon Dec 29, 2011 08:57 PM

                            Didn't know it was there. Sounds interesting and worth a try!

                            1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                              m
                              mrhooks Dec 31, 2011 01:54 PM

                              Boos sounds interesting, worth checking out.

                              If the current South Street locations are the same quality-wise as the now-defunct Westwood location, it's gotta be the worst cheesesteak I've ever tried.

                              Hard to say with Philly's Best, as there are so many locations. But if they're all pretty much the same, then they're decent, but hardly the best.

                              I haven't tried SPE or Luigi Ortega's - sadly, I'm falling out of love with cheesesteaks the older I get and the longer I'm away from Philly - but as I've said in every other thread, the closest I've ever had to a "real" cheesesteak here in LA is at Big Mike's in Hermosa Beach. But I haven't been there in a few years.

                              1. re: mrhooks
                                j
                                JosephEBacon Dec 31, 2011 10:07 PM

                                I went to Boos today. Very impressed with them! They serve it on Amoroso buns, they're also stocked with Tastycakes and Wise chips. It's been 30 years since I've had Wise chips, as good as I remember them. I'll definitely go back for more!

                            2. mucho gordo Dec 29, 2011 03:36 PM

                              This place gets my vote. Ice cold beer on tap, too.

                              http://southstreetcheesesteak.com/

                              1. w
                                wrlord Dec 29, 2011 03:28 PM

                                There is none better, or more authentic, than http://southphillyexperience.com/

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: wrlord
                                  c
                                  chuck Dec 29, 2011 06:26 PM

                                  I will second SPE. Worth finding their truck for lunch or dinner.

                                  1. re: wrlord
                                    j
                                    Jack Flash Dec 29, 2011 07:53 PM

                                    Meh. They park down the street from my work regularly. I tried it once. Not worth the outrageous price they charge. It's a freakin' truck; it should cost a couple of bucks less than a sit-down place; instead, a sandwich only costs a whopping $8.50.

                                    The same sandwich at L.O.'s or South Street - places where you can sit down and enjoy your meal, have a beer, etc., is under $7.

                                    1. re: Jack Flash
                                      g
                                      granadafan Dec 29, 2011 08:22 PM

                                      Gotta agree, JackFlash. There's just something wrong about paying high prices for food from a truck where you have to stand to eat.

                                    2. re: wrlord
                                      q
                                      QualityMart Dec 30, 2011 12:09 AM

                                      Absolutely 100% agreed. SPE truck has the best flavor and is the most authentic.

                                      1. re: QualityMart
                                        Dommy Dec 30, 2011 11:05 PM

                                        Agreed... a major contributor to the price (Aside from them using higher quality steak than most places) is also what you pay for them importing the Amoroso Rolls... that's the only way their sloppy sandwiches are able to be eaten standing up, other places, their roll falls apart by the third bite! Bleh! Also, be sure to asked for some of their italian peppers.... SO GOOD!

                                        --Dommy!

                                        1. re: Dommy
                                          j
                                          Jack Flash Jan 1, 2012 12:46 PM

                                          The point is more than there are other places also using Amoroso rolls, and yet they still manage to charge a couple bucks less than the truck.

                                    3. s
                                      silence9 Dec 29, 2011 01:26 PM

                                      This is an underdog/sleeper choice, but at The Stand (Ventura blvd. location) they do a very nice (and generously portioned) Philly-style cheesesteak. Plenty of beef and provolone, and the roll seems right (Amoroso or not, I do not know). Sauteed peppers and onions aplenty. On the side you can get their homemade sour pickle chips, as well as an unorthodox cup of their horseradish sauce. They also make some rockin' coleslaw and homemade potato chips for an extra charge... It seems kinda pricey at $8 or $9 dollars, but the quality is there, especially regarding the tasty beef. It's a nice alternative to their dogs and burgers...

                                      1. j
                                        Jack Flash Dec 29, 2011 12:51 PM

                                        I still cast my vote for Luigi Ortega's in Pasadena (Amoroso Roll; Cheez Whiz). I liked Philly's Best, too, but the Pasadena location is no more (it's now a high-end sushi joint).

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