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Inquirer Mag Cheesesteak Article


Holly Moore
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In last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Inquirer restaurant reviewer Craig Laban tagged along with four high school seniors on their quest for the best Cheesesteak in the Delaware Valley.

The Ultimate Cheesesteak

The group settled on the cheesesteak from John's Roast Pork, located in an industrial area of South Philly. Been there since 1930. Embarrassingly, I had driven by John's a hundred times and while curious, never stopped. They always seemed closed. Their hours are Monday thru Friday, 6:45 AM to 3 PM, so they probably were closed when I happened by.

Today, the line was out the door at 2:30 in the afternoon. Yeah, I had to try it. The wait was 45 minutes. Despite their new found fame and pressure, they were still cooking steaks to order. Give them a lot of credit for that. I'm willing to bet that the steak I tried today, in the midst of the frenzy, was pretty much the same steak as Laban's hood ate during the testing.

Anyway, the do serve a great cheesesteak and an even better pork sandwich. The cheesesteak is on seeded Italian bread from a local South Philly baker, the portion of sliced rib steak is huge and it has twice as much cheese as a typical cheese steak - incredibly a bit too much cheese for my taste. Never thought I'd say that about anything.

For now though, I still rate Steve's, Prince of Steaks number one, and John's Roast Pork and Dalessandro's as tied for second.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I read the article, but didn't like the way they scored the steaks, they included chicken cheese steaks and specialty steaks with things like brocoli rabe and sauted spinach in the rating process.

My wife and I are doing our own comparisons of the Philly cheese steak joints. We use the "Wiz with" as the control sandwich. May be a problem at John's since you mentioned that Wiz was not available.

Our comparision of the two big rivals Pat's and Geno's was very scientific.

We bought 1 from Pat's and 1 across the street at Geno's, then we split them. We both like Geno's better.

Since then we had sandwiches at Steve' Prince of Steaks which we liked even better than Geno's

Next on the list is Dalessandro's. I've had them before and liked them, but I need to include my wife's opinion the keep the ranking fair.

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When I worked in the area, during the 80's, the place across from Dalassandro's was a little diner. They made one of the best cheese omelets I've had. They whipped the eggs and cheese in the milkshake mixer so as it cooked it fluffed up. Yum!!! :biggrin:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I read that article and was truly dissapointed that one of the best (or to my mind THE best) cheesesteak experience was overlooked.

PUDGE'S 1530 Dekalb Pike Blue Bell (used to be in Norristown till Blue Bell expanded). There, cradled in a run-down stripmall, bravely weathering the oncoming tide of gated communities and million-dollar McMansions which are spreading through the area, rolling over colonial homesteads and picturesque wooded glades is the cheesesteak lover's eden. For those who remember what a cheesesteak in South Philly used to be like before Pat's became a tourist trap and some fool decided that cheese whiz was a food, this is a truly religious experience.

Pudge's is the real deal, it's hard to believe that you have to go so far from the 9th st. cradle of the cheesesteak to find the genuine article, but there it is. Several years ago the founder and owner "Pudge" merged with the infinite, but his legacy has been proudly carried on by his loving family. He is memorialized in a caracture framed behind the counter.

Pudge's puts a real serving of thinly-sliced, chopped-on-the-grill steak on a spongy Philly roll. No seeds (who wants seeds on a cheesteak?) no broccoli rabe, no crap. The meat is tender, melt in your mouth rib eye piled high with just the right ammount of cheese. The sandwich is just large enough to make my jaw ache trying to stuff the thing in my mouth without being ridiculous. (If you want ridiculous order a "large" it's enough food for two very hungry people.) The onions are diced, sweet and oily. In the bottom of the wax paper-lined plastic basket is always a puddle of grease mingled with melted cheese, as there should be. No dry, sitting-on-the-grill-for-a-half-an-hour-in-a-pile-waiting-for-the-next-customer bits of charred used-to-be-beef will be found in a Pudge's cheesesteak. This is the cheesesteak of lore, the holy grail of greasy artery-clogging Philadelphia culinary tradition, and is well worth the trip.

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Has anyone here every tried the steaks at Frank's Pizza In Quakertown? Blows them all to

h*ll (and I've tried almost all of them). They hand slice their meat (it's not rib steak)

cook it to order with raw onions like the other places which cook their onions ahead of time.

They also have an amazing tomato sauce (made with san marzanos I think) that's optional.

Juicy and very flavorful.

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  • 4 months later...
I read that article and was truly dissapointed that one of the best (or to my mind THE best) cheesesteak experience was overlooked.

PUDGE'S 1530 Dekalb Pike Blue Bell (used to be in Norristown till Blue Bell expanded).

Dude, you just gave away the secret to THE best cheesesteak in the region. My wife and I were turned on to Pudges by a friend of ours who brought one of their hoagies to a get-together. The hoagie was just perfectly balanced with meats, lettuce, onions, oil and tomatoes.

The cheesesteaks are just the same. There's a true balance that they achieve. It's FULL of meat, but it's not the crispy burnt steak-ummish stuff. It's real steak with just the right amount of real cheese.

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