We did it!!! 9 Italian Beef places in one day, sampled, evaluated and rated. Awaiting the scores from everyone to announce rankings, but I can share some things we picked up.
There are a lot of good beef places, each with a unique approach. Heavy spicing/light spicing, shredded, sliced thin, sliced thick. Better and worse cuts of meat, meat purchased fully roasted and seasoned, or totally raw - and from a lot more suppliers than we imagined. That was not what made the difference.
And hold the peppers, please. The state of the sweet pepper is deplorable, and the giardinera is highly variable.
If you want a really, really good sandwich, bring your own bread. At one place, Gwiv brought in his Fox & Obel baguette and asked them to make a sandwich on it. Wow, what a difference! Most places used Gonnella, which is decent, while a couple use Turano, which is not good (soft, flavorless and without character).
Of course this will not be defintive, as there are so many other places to sample, but we tried Freddy's, Chickies, Mr. Beef, Patio, Boston Bar-B-Q, Al's, Carm's, Scatchell's and Johnnies. And they all do a respectable job. Scatchell's and Carm's were clearly a step below the others in overall quality, but beyond that I have no idea which one will be the best - stay tuned!