Sunday, February 19, 2012

Where Do You Get A Good Cheesesteak?

I"m often loathe to eat a cheesesteak outside Philadelphia after far too many failures under my belt -- and a bad cheesesteak can stay under your belt for a while.

But the Gateway Gourmet and I were emailing last week about whether there is a Howard County option for a great Philly sandwich.  And it's a specific sandwich.  It's not a gourmet steak sandwich with sliced strip steak served on a baguette.  It's a cheesesteak that looks something like this:

  • Lean, thin-sliced steak, probably cooked through on a flat griddle.
  • Cheese melted into the meat.  The GG and I both want provolone.  We know Cheese Whiz is authentic in Philly, but it's not welcome on our sandwich.
  • A good sandwich roll.  Good bread needs at least a slight crust, but the right rolls are softer than a baguette yet stand up to the filling.
  • A few options -- onions, peppers, hot peppers.  The GG wants mayo.  I'll agree to disagree.

Anyone know this sandwich in Howard County?  Near Howard County?  The Royal Pizza in Columbia pops up occasionally when people recommend sandwiches or wings.  Do they do a good cheesesteak?  I was also thinking about the New York Deli -- just for good ingredients and a broad menu.

39 comments:

Alicyn DelZoppo said...

So funny...my friend was having this discussion on Facebook just yesterday. He was asking more for Baltimore though. My response...I have no idea. I'm interested to hear what people say!

Rob said...

It has to be on a Amoroso roll or it isn't a Philly Cheesesteak!

Mayo!??

Elisabeth said...

Growing up in Princeton, NY, and Philly, you could always count on finding a good cheesesteak sandwich nearby (although I had my favorites). What clearly is lacking in this area is the perfection of the sandwich roll. I simply cannot find one like those I could get back home. The roll makes the sandwich, cheesesteak or sub. That said, and minus the superb roll not yet discovered in the Baltimore area, Cafe Nora makes a decent cheesesteak sandwich.

envirosound said...

Surprisingly the cheesesteak at Hickory Ridge grill is quite tasty...

Brian said...

I haven't tried yet but Federal Hill has a quietly thriving cheesesteak culture.

MaGerk's on Thursdays does half priced cheesesteaks, both traditional and several other options. A friend of mine loves them and I'll probably swing by there soon to enjoy. At $4 on Thursday thats a steal.

In addition, just clicking around several other Fed Hill bars on Google Maps, there are at least half a dozen who do Thursdays cheesesteak specials!

There's also a place called Hot Corner Lee's inside the Cross Street Market that is getting some buzz, especially for their fries but they specialize in cheesesteaks as well.

James Binckley said...

Mr.G's on Rt 40 and Johnnycake Rd. is the best. They've been cranking out cheese steaks since the 60's. The little sub and pizza place at the Columbia Exxon across from the fire station, ( I think it's called Waterloo Pizza and Subs ) makes a really good cheese steak

Anonymous said...

philly's best or gateway pizza

Chris Bachmann said...

I'd say Waterloo Pizza and Subs/Roma's as well. There's also Simmie's off Cedar Lane & Hickory Ridge Road.

Alan said...

Ditto on Magerk's. Closest i've found to a real Philly cheesesteak in MD. Owned by Philly folks and a great place to watch Philly sports. I was there when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 and it was off the wall...

Anonymous said...

Read your statement that a real Philly cheesesteak has Cheeze Wiz...well, a real Philly cheesesteak has white American cheese, not Cheeze Wiz. Cheeze Wiz was invented in 1950 or thereabouts, almost 20 years after the cheesesteak itself was invented. The Cheeze Wiz thing must have started at Pat's or Geno's for convenience. Both places make the worst cheesteaks, and native Philadelphians know it!

Scittino's in Catonsville and Philly's Best in Elkridge make pretty good cheesesteaks!

MarkM said...

Simmie's in Hickory Ridge; Salano's Pizza at St. John's Lane and Rt. 40 next to Mars(?); Elkridge Cafe; Salerno's in Arbutus; Roma's in Atholton Shopping Center.

Alex M. said...

Vennari's in the Oakland Mills Village Center makes a good cheesesteak, and they deliver...

James said...

Huntington Deli (next to the pool)makes a very good cheesesteak. Also Royal Pizza is pretty good to. For Baltimore I would say Captain Harvey's, Maria Dee's, and Pepe's are all good spots to pick up a good sub.

zackpund said...

i usually enjoy the cheesesteaks at Roma's as some others have mentioned. it is usually where we end up if we want a cheesesteak for carry out. the few times we have tried to go to new york deli, it was closed.

Amber F. said...

Jersey Mike's in Laurel. Not Howard County, but worth the trip.

graciesmom said...

If you can get it online, the current issue of Cooks Illustrated magazine has a recipe for a good cheesesteak. Using white American cheese. They don't address the roll, though, which is a big part. I'm wondering about some pre-packaged Italian rolls I see at Safeway right in front of the deli meat case. Don't remember the brand, but they look crusty & not huge.

Also, J.W. Treuth's (butcher) sells precut "steak sandwich" meat in the freezer, plan to buy some tomorrow.

Andrea said...

My husband and I moved from Phila to Howard County about 15 years ago. We have had more heartbreaks than we can count trying "just like Phila cheesesteaks." We have given up our search and just wait for the real thing when we visit family! I recommend a 2 hour drive north.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Delaware County, PA my whole life until 5 years ago when my wife and I moved down here for jobs. I have my fair share of cheesesteaks to say the least.

I have not tried many places down here because of being "spoiled" of where I am from. I can say that Philly's Best in Elkridge makes a very good cheesesteak.

As some have stated, I feel the roll is the most important thing because its the one ingredient that is hardest to replicate for a classic cheesesteak.

As Rob said, Amaroso is one of the staple Philly bakeries. However, Liscios Bakery is now the #1 roll provider in the Philly area. Their HQ is in Washington Township, NJ (aka Little South Philly). Their operations is much larger than any other, making it more viable for them to ship further away from the Philly area.

Here is there locator site which provides places that use their rolls. There are a few in Baltimore. It would be great if some of the other places listed in these comments started using their rolls. They are my favorite. We usually buy a few dozen when we go up there.

http://www.lisciosbakery.com/locator/

Anonymous said...

tratoria

Barbara said...

Salsa Grill on Security Blvd. www.eatsalsagrill.com

Anonymous said...

May favorite two options both involve a bit of a drive. I'm particularly picky about cheesteaks, shunning the mayo and having a strong preference for white american slices. My favorite options are Philly Flash in Annapolis, and even better but a longer drive, the Capriotti's outpost on Kent Island.

Marty Katz for Zagat said...

London broil on just-baked ciabatta with good cheese melted with caramelized onions at Bon Fresco makes me think of cheesesteaks like a teenage-era car, great when I didn't know better. Cheesesteak truth at Geno's, my first edit project:
The real Philadelphia Story:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5CRpfP-wq8

Rob said...

Great tip on Liscios Bakery. I've been away from the Philly area too long to know the latest.

Also, good to know that Capriotti's has an outpost on Kent Island. If it is like their Delaware stores, it will be great at both hoagies and steaks. They have franchised out though and the franchises are not created equal to the original.

lucky little bird said...

I'm from Baltimore, not Philadelphia, so I can't comment on authenticity, but I don't know anyone that doesn't like the "Philly" cheesesteaks (soft rolls, tender steak, provolone cheese, fried onions, mushrooms and bell peppers, lettuce tomato, mayo and cherry pepper "hots" on the side) at The Trolley Stop in Ellicott City. Huge and delicious.

While you are there, try an order of hot wings!

Anna said...

I'm nota cheesesteak connoisseur, but I'd give another vote for the cheesesteaks from Waterloo Pizza @ the Columbia Exxon on Little Patuxent. I cannot attest to its authenticity, but its a good sandwich.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I like the Cheesesteaks from Three Brothers, but I would defer to others on their "Philly" authenticity. Either way, they are super tasty.

Lee Biars said...

It sometimes gets lost on our menu, but we serve a pretty good cheesesteak at The Diamondback Tavern. My partners and I actually sampled 5 different cheesesteaks from different joints in Philly (I agree with Anonymous that Pat's and Geno's weren't even close to the top) and modeled ours after the one we liked best with a few minor adjustments based on product that is available to us. We went with very thinly sliced prime rib cooked on the flat top with caramelized onions and choice of Provolone or Wiz on a hoagie roll. It's a solid cheesesteak and you can add whatever you want to it (lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, peppers, etc...) as long as we have it in house.

jim baker said...

i'm kind of late on commenting on this... but i'd agree that Waterloo Pizza and Subs has the best cheese steak around. It fulfills all of your requirements.

Although... I hear good things about Jeno's in Severna Park, I haven't made it out there yet though.

Alex said...

Jeno's in Severna Park, plus any location of Pat's Family Restaurant.

Katie S said...

I would second Waterloo Pizza and Subs - the original one over by Trader Joes. As far as I know the 2 Waterloos are owned by different people and this one is not a Roma's. We have been going there for over 20 years and love the subs.

1LTkls said...

I can't eat a sandwich in which a critical ingredient comes out of an aerosol can. Nuff said. I'll eat me a Jerry's Subs & Pizza cheesesteak if available. None too close by. The best sandwich hereabouts in this class, for my money comes from New York J & P Pizza in Laurel. They share the strip mall with Dunkin Donuts on MD216, east of US 29, right at the eastern most of the BIG CHAIN OF ROUNDABOUTS!

Great crusty bread, everything else in a very nice balance. It is a nice neighborhood joint.

taryn silbert said...

Hello there! I know of the most authentic philly style cheesesteak around!! My fiance just opened HOT CORNER LEE's inside the famous Cross St. Market located in Federal hill (Baltimore). He hand slices his ribeye and has the FAMOUS AMOROSA roll! Yes they deliver it from Philly! After much research, he has created a true philly style cheesesteak..wit or witout cheese whiz, you have a choice of the type of cheese!These cheeseteaks are amazing! He also hand cuts his curly fries in front of your eyes. Please check it out! I am speech pathologist at Centennial Lane Elementary in Ellicott City and I have yet to find one in the area thats tastes as authentic and fresh as Hot Corner Lees! A family from Howard County came in last Saturday, we would love you to come in and try one! Please Check out the menu below!

http://www.hotcornerlees.com/

ho.co.po said...

Can't believe nobody has mentioned Pastablitz on 108. I don't know about authenticity, but it's GOOD. (and plenty of mayo for GG, lol) It's one of the hocoloco food items I miss!

dc said...

Tratoria da enrico in Kings contrivance. I've tried just about every one mentioned above and this is by far the most consistently good cheesesteak. They do a great job of getting the cheese and onions melded with the meat on good bread. There's no point in looking for a "philly" cheesesteak because no philly area native will ever admit anything is close to what they get at home. These are good. Go get one.

Taryn silbert said...

Have you tried hot corner lee's? Getting repeat customers from Philly! Ladies came in yesterday ad raved how they tasted better than Gino's!

MarkM said...

Just had a Cheesesteak at Daniels' in Elkridge the other day. It was excellent. Its served normally with fries, but you can get their homemade (fresh, hot) potato chips, too!

Daniels' has a nice dining area inside and a deck out back. You don't have to sit outside if you don't want to.

MarkM said...

Cross Street Market isn't in Howard County.

Anonymous said...

If you ever find yourself in the Sykesville (not quite HoCo) area stop by the Big Belly Deli. They do a great philly cheesesteak with wiz, best I've had outside of philly. Actually everything on their menu is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

South Street Steaks in Bethesda serves their cheesesteaks on Amoroso and have real Cheez Whiz