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Best Italian Beef in Chicago? - Chowhounds speak (very long)

dickson d | Nov 28, 200301:06 PM

I guess as many of the votes are in as we will get for now, but this is an ongoing process, so if you would like to vote, let me know and I will provide you with socresheets and some guidelines.

Background: On November 18 a group of Chowhounds went out to sample as many Italian Beefs as we could stomach in a day. We tasted each of the components and then entire sandwiches. Places were scored on each of the components (beef, bread, gravy, dipped sandwich, "dry" sandwich, french fries, giardinera, sweet peppers, and atmosphere).

We started with about 10 people, added one or two en route, then lost people. Only 3 people made it thru all 9 places which were (in order of sampling): Al's, Carm's, Patio, Mr. Beef, Boston Bar-b-q, Chickie's, Freddy's, Scatchell's, and Johnnies.

There have been a number of postings, including some from folks who never provided scores. I will revise the rankings if they provide their scores and based on any other ratings I get.

Is this perfect? Of course not. For a start, we have barely scratched the surface and should really do at least 2 more tastings (south and north). Then there is the whole process issue - some places do not have enough scores to really represent much and what about Beef fatigue? Did Johnnies fare worse than Al's because it came at the end? Lastly, there is the issue of bias. At least one taster admitted to comparing all the sandwiches to his memory of Johnnies perfection. Hardly an open minded approach.

But it's a start.


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