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I tried 23 cheesesteaks that were listed for another websites' ultimate cheesesteak guide and this is what I think.. I am not a local and don't have a local's insight, but this list was made by locals.. All sandwiches were with American cheese, no onions. I believe that onions' strong flavor distracts from the meat, which should be the main focus. If they can't give you a good cheesesteak without onions then they won't be giving you a good cheesesteak. As for cheese, I grew up on American and I think it's the amount of cheese and distribution that matters, rather than the type.. I assessed the sandwich size, flavor, ratios of bread to meat to cheese, and level of cheese distribution. If you've had better or worse sandwiches at one of these places, then that place I think should lose points for inconsistency. These are my findings from worst to first:
23) Joe's Steak and Soda Shop, (formerly known as Chink's):
This is the loser. This was a bad, tiny sandwich, with dried meat that wasn't even in the roll properly, and a small amount of cheese that wasn't even distributed, and it was overall tasteless and cold. The only thing they did interesting was they toasted the outside of the roll.
I don't care if Kobe Bryant went here, this was an uninspired cheesesteak with nothing to recommend it. Lackluster. "Blah" comes to mind.
The roll was way too wide on this sandwich and the meat got lost. It was hard to even bite this sandwich, you had to squish the roll to get it in your mouth. Couldn't even taste the meat.
I found it generic. The only thing memorable about it was how uninteresting it was, and lack of freshness made it mediocre.
I know it's often in contention for best cheesesteak but, though quite big, I found the meat too finely chopped and tasteless. I don't think cheesesteak should be like cheeseburger and how about some seasoning? (Their roast pork is much better.)
For the inventor of the cheesesteak, they insult the legacy. They aren't even trying here. They don't melt the cheese or distribute it, just plop a tiny amount of meat into the big cheese-lined bread. Much too much bread to meat here, though rhe meat was somewhat tasty.
An interesting taste to the meat here but the sandwich didn't taste very fresh and was small.
16) Jimmy G:
This also had an interesting taste to the meat, some sort of vinegar or worcesershire. The sandwich was small, though it was the cheapest on the list. Not enough meat on the sandwich knocks it down. (Everyone working here is high).
Sliced beef, a bit dried out and not that flavorful. Bread was good and amount of cheese was good, but a little blah to taste.
Pricey at $13, but this was actually a big sandwich. But MUCH TOO MUCH CHEESE!! It was the only one that had this problem and the cheese overwhelmed the whole thing.
13) Mike's BBQ:
The only one made with brisket, this was small and $14, with cheese just plopped on top. It was tasty but brisket just seems weird, and the sandwich was tiny and cold.
Good, chunky texture, good ratios, needed more flavor. Quite neutral about this, very middle of the pack.
11) Steve's Prince of Steaks:
Similar to Phillip's, with steak slices and chewy bread, but this was moister and had better flavor. The only problem was not nearly enough meat (though you can get double meat).
This was a nice cheesesteak, flavorful, but it wasn't very big for $12.
This was a tough one. The meat is so moist and squishy and seasoned that I have to believe it is treated with broth ie processed. I don't think they cook it from raw since it wasn't that hot. It was a lot like roast beef. It gets this ranking because it was so well seasoned (sodium!) and meat to bread ratio was good, but the texture was definitely mushy.
8) Gooey Looie's:
This was huge, easily the biggest sandwich on the list. The meat was a tiny bit dry but it really lost points for not distributing the cheese, just laying it underneath, and not enough of it either. But it was quite decent.
A good cheesesteak, big and flavorful, needed more seasoning but otherwise good.
Extremely flavorful because they squirt oil onto the cooked meat, which kind of seems like cheating but oh well. Needed much, much more meat on the bread, but filled with flavor, quite delicious.
5) Donkey's Place:
This sandwich was huge, but the meat was much like roast beef. On a poppy seed bun which was a nice change. It was so seasoned it was actually salty. Could use a bit more cheese. But it was delicious and big so I still gave it a high ranking.
4) The Original Tony Luke's:
Very nice sandwich, fantastic bread, the best bread of them all, lots of meat and cheese, except a lack of cheese distribution, just a blob on top. Otherwise this would win.
Very well made cheesesteak, nice crusty bread, plenty of steak and cheese in perfect ratio, piping hot, just needed more seasoning.
Perfect texture, the best of all of them, nice and chunky, with lots of cheese and good bread, I don't know why so many more people go across the street to Dalessandro's.
1) Sonny's is number one for this list.
A perfect cheesesteak, right ratios of bread to meat to cheese, nicely seasoned and very flavorful, just an all around nice cheesesteak.
6030 Torresdale Ave
1 W Girard Ave
2459 N 54th St
471 Leverington Ave
214 Market St
14 Snyder Ave
3653 Germantown Ave
695 N Broad St
2234 W Passyunk Ave
736 S 9th St
1703 S 11th St
337 South St
7200 Bustleton Ave
630 South St
1219 S 9th St
600 Wendover St
400 South St
1223 Haddon Ave
901 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
5826 Henry Ave
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