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The ALC Cheese Steak Cadre
November 6, 2008
Click on Images to Enlarge 


After more than a year of good-natured arguing about who offers the best
Philadelphia Cheese Steaks, we (ALC team members and relations,) finally devoted an evening where we would sample the product of five Philadelphia establishments,  vote on our findings, and then walk away knowing who really deserves our respect.


Howard Abrams:
Cheese Steak Commander

Howard rented the bus, recruited the team of judges, and then called roll to insure no one was left behind at any given stop.




First stop, Tony Luke's at Broad and Oregon.


Bread:  Soft, yeasty.  Cheese:  Nicely melted.  Steak:  Soft, flavorful, melts in your mouth.  It would be hard to beat this great start of an evening.  No wonder Chef Bobby
Flay chose Tony Luke's as one of the participants when he came to Philadelphia
for his "Cheese Steak Throwdown."


                                   Cheese Steak Picture from and-ultimate-south-philly-cheesesteak.html

Roll call!  On to Pat's Steaks, 9th & Passyunk Streets, possibly the most famous cheese steak vendor in the universe.  Pat's advertises themselves as "Pioneer and Originator of the Cheese Steak Sandwich."


Cheese Steak picture from and-ultimate-south-philly-cheesesteak.html



We had a great time, but when compared to Tony Luke's,
Pats' Cheese Steak was tough and leathery.  I tossed my sandwich after the second bite.

On to Geno's (across the street from Pat's).


Cheese Steak picture from and-ultimate-south-philly-cheesesteak.html



Geno's was better than Pat's, but only by a tiny bit.  Pat's and Geno's
have not kept up with their competitors and appear to be living off their
combined fame.

On to South Street where we paused at the Copa Banana Bar to digest, drink,
and get ready for Jim's Steaks.


And now on to Jim's Steak's at 4th & South Streets






Jim's Steak Photo from

Just as Steve's Prince of Steaks (described below) holds many positive
child and teen memories for Howard, Jim's has been part of my life since I was very young.  
For the majority of our judges, Jim's was Cheese Steak perfection.
Jim's finely dices the meat so it melts in your mouth.  Fran Green described the
meat as "fluffy."  (Correction - Fran was repeating Lori Magill-Cook's observation.) The roll and steak portions were larger than Tony Luke's, and
just as soft, yeasty, and tasty.  
If you order American or Provolone cheese instead of Cheese Whiz, the cheese
will not be fully melted. (Howard did not approve.)
After the disapointments at Pats' and Genos' for me this was ecstacy and I even debated ordering a second sandwich.  I can't wait to return to Jim's.

On to the bus to Steve's Prince of Steaks in North East Philadelphia



Steve's Prince of Steaks serves the meat in slabs similar
in shape to those found in Gyros.  For Commander Cheese Steak, this is the style he grew up with.  This style makes
Steve's the best in Howard's opinion.  While not as
popular as Jim's, this was liked by half of our judges.
Steve's and Tony Luke's both scored well, but not
as well as Jim's.


Steve's bread is large, moist, and soft.  All cheeses are completely melted.


The slab-style of the meat was not for me.  I gave up after two bites, but Steve's Foot Long Hot Dog turned out to be perfect.  

P1100513.JPG<== Plain and Loaded ==>P1100514.JPG
                                            Both styles = Wonderful


We paused for a group shot of all the judges. . .



Back onto the bus for a safe trip home!