It was suggested on another thread that what HO needs is a good Philly cheesesteak thread. So voila!
First, what constitutes a Philly cheesesteak? For me, it starts with a good roll: crusty on the outside, doughy on the inside. Then the meat should be thinly shaved ribeye, cooked to order on a steaming hot grill (not those piles of essentially steamed pre-cooked meat they serve at stadia and tourist traps). A good white American cheese or, at the least, a nice provolone. As a Philadelphian of a certain age I don’t even recall whiz being an option–even in the burbs where I now reside, I’ve never been faced with a whizzy steak. Finally, really nicely carmelized onions. That’s it. The Philly cheesesteak.
I grew up in NE Philly, so Steve’s was the Prince of Steaks. In college, we spent a lot of time on South Street, so these years were definitely slanted to Jim’s. That may have been as much for the fun of sitting on the second floor and people watching than for the sandwiches themselves. As an adult in the city, I pretty much reverted to Steve’s again. Here in the burbs? I like Ray’s.
I grew up in Philly back in the Stone Age. I can’t remember when I had my first cheesesteak, but we were more inclined back then to eat a hoagie from Lee’s. I was so happy when both my sons went to Penn, so I could easily visit from NY and indulge in cheeseteaks again. This thread has me drooling on my keyboard with envy. I took my British husband to South St. about 5 years ago for his first experience, and I think we ate at Jim’s… or was it Gino’s? I need to return!
Being relatively new to town and living in the far reaches of Delco, I haven’t ventured out to try a lot of the classics in the city.
That being said, we’re a big fan of the Original LaSpadas (because there are apparently copycats somewhere?) in Aston. I believe they start with a nice Liscios roll and then pile on the shaved ribeye. My only complaint is that once in awhile the grill guy seems to go too light on the seasoning and it comes out slightly bland. Having moved to Philly from the midwest, LaSpadas was the first true deli I’ve ever visited. Lots of Eagles and Flyers stuff painted on the walls, a row of booths with a bunch of men in track suits hanging out shooting the shit. In general, a good place – they have a lot of other great sandwiches too.
I have side question, and I hope it won’t hijack the real thread. My short question is: Is cheese whiz the way to eat a cheesesteak? I grew up liking cheesesteak a lot. However, where I grew up, people put regular slices of cheese. Not until I moved near to Philadelphia that I found out about the cheese whiz variety? I still like the regular provolone or whatnot.
Am I correct that whiz cheese is the more default/standard choice? Thanks.
(I think Spataro’s Cheesesteak at Reading Terminal Market only serves with cheese whiz)
No cheese wiz is most definitely NOT the way to eat a cheesesteak. I am just north of 50, and growing up in the city I never even heard of a steak with wiz. Not sure when it became popular. But in my experience, when I order a cheesesteak it comes with white American cheese. Provolone is also acceptable.