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Hearty Hoagies and Cheese Steaks, Vallejo

Melanie Wong | Mar 2, 200408:14 PM

This is about as guilt-free and greaseless a cheese steak as can be imagined. The good news is that it’s delicious!

The cheese steaks start with good quality rib-eye steak griddled and broken up on the grill with a mess o’ carmelized onions and blended together with oozing, melted white American cheese. The long (~10”) and skinny bun, split across the top is made to spec daily by Sciambra bakery in Napa. The bun is toasted and then stuffed to overflowing with the meat mixture. I’d asked for both hot and sweet peppers on the side. The sweet peppers are uncooked, crisp, chopped red and green bells in a light vinegary marinade. The hot ones are slightly cooked, just enough to soften, slices of cherry peppers and only mildly hot. I liked adding them to each bite of sandwich for extra zing and texture, and so I could feel like I’d had some fresh vegetables for a well-balanced dinner.

A non-stick grill is used, so hardly any oil or fat is needed. The style was a little too filamentous and hash-like for me, but still a very tasty blend. I didn’t miss the extra grease at all. Later when I asked about this, the owner said that I should specify next time if I want the meat chopped up or more whole. They make them different ways to suit the customer.

The proprietress had tried to talk me into a meal deal – offered with a medium soda and fries. No go, but when she mentioned that they roast fresh garlic from scratch to make the garlic fries ($1.75), I had to try them. The bits of sweet garlic and fresh parsley tossed with the fries are indeed special. But, the fries ordered well-done were golden and crisp, but also pasty and dried out.

Open since June, the other offerings here are hoagies (meat and veggie versions), burgers, salads, and grilled chicken sandwiches. Several options for add-ons are offered, such as mushrooms or roasted peppers. My basic cheese steak was $4.50, and nothing is priced higher than $4.80. This is a really good product at a fair price.

Hearty Hoagies and Cheese Steaks
526 Tuolumne St.
Mon-Sat, 11am-9pm

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