June 15, 2011

Reader Contribution: Operation "Whiz Wit" Reveals the Best Cheesesteaks

Here's an idea for a party: Bring home eight different cheesesteaks from eight different places, hide the labels and conduct a taste test with your friends. Let the crowd decide: is Pat's really the King of Steaks? Or is there a hidden gem somewhere else?

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


A and J said...

This is a great idea-- I propose a blogger meet up where we all bring one food item (cupcakes?) and taste test.

PS John's Roast Pork cheesesteak is good, but it's got nothing on their roast pork sandwich.

Kristy said...

That is a fantastic idea! Cupcakes would work. Or something take-out-ish. Like everyone bring a pizza from their favorite spot.

hungry crasian said...

i used to live at 7th and tasker around the corner from cosmi's and holy crap those cheesesteaks are enormous and delicious!! you are correct, i am sad to see you didn't put geno's on that list... i am a pat's girl but i would have liked to see how geno's stood up to the competition, i smell a rematch!

Pizza Quixote said...

Love the notion of side-by-side comparisons! Here is my Top 12 Philly sammiches: http://mainlinepizzaquest.blogspot.com/2013/04/pizza-guy-talks-about-philly.html