22nd & Philly reader Sarah recently conducted this experiment with her friends and sent us her results. We've stayed away from reviewing cheesesteaks to not feed the stereotype about Philly's claim-to-fame, but this taste test party was a really cool idea. It covers some steaks we've never heard of and was done by regular joes like us. We appreciate the chance to share it with our hungry audience.
The competing cheesesteaks were chosen based on Yelp reviews, where Sarah is an Elite member. Her friends divided into small groups to pick up the cheesesteaks and get them all home within a 10 min. window, so none got cold/soggy. Labels were hidden and they started eating.
After trying each cheesesteak, Sarah and her eight friends rated them on a scale of 1-10 for six categories: visual appeal, aroma, roll texture, meat quality, toppings and overall taste. Each participant also jotted down comments/notes. Results were analyzed and the pro/cons of each are shared along with the rankings.
The overall winner was Cosmi's, which we've never heard of but according to Sarah, "you'll definitely have to give it a try -- totally unassuming little corner deli but man, that cheesesteak was delicious!" We'll have to add it to our Sandwich Quest (where, in case you missed it, we just reviewed Q.T.'s banh mi).
So, think about what's important to you in a cheesesteak - the quality of meat? the roll? the toppings? Perhaps the next time you're jonesing for the Philly classic, Sarah and her buddies can help you decide where to go.
Click here to open up this Google doc PDF of the competition results and analysis:
Where to find each of the competitors:
Cosmi's Deli - 1501 South 8th Street (at Dickinson)
Ishkabibble's Eatery - 337 South Street
Jim's Steaks - 4 locations (who knew?) but famous one is at 400 South Street
Kite & Key - 1836 Callowhill Street (random but only included because John's Roast Pork was closed that day)
Mamma's Pizzeria - 426 Belmont Avenue, Lower Merion
Max's Steaks - 3653 Germantown Ave
Pat's King of Steaks - 1237 East Passyunk Avenue
Tony Luke's - Multiple locations, original at 39 East Oregon Avenue