I dig all this specialization. Choose one thing and do it well. Until recently, if someone had asked me, where do I go to get a good cheesesteak around here, I would’ve stared at them blankly and then made some crack about Philly. I now have a better answer: The American CheeseSteak Co.
Meat and cheese – two of my favourite things, smooshed together into one gooey hot mess. I was slightly trepidatious about venturing over – I had heard that they have salads, but there was only a “side” salad on the menu. How was I going to devour all that cheesy meaty goodness sans bun? Luckily a sign next to the cash register put me at ease. They’ll happily turn any cheesesteak into a salad for you. Phew!
What’s a Philly Cheesesteak?
But before we get to the good stuff, what exactly constitutes a Philadelphia cheesesteak?
A cheesesteak is a sandwich made from thinly-sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese in a long roll. A popular regional fast food, it has its roots in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Wikipedia)
For you strict paleo adherents and those who are lactose intolerant, take solace in the fact that the sandwich was originally prepared without cheese. For cheese aficionados, the very first cheese to be used was provolone. The other two standard cheesesteak cheeses are American and *gasp* Cheese Whiz. The American CheeseSteak Co. has all three cheese options.
The two defining features of a proper Philly cheesesteak are: 1) the beef must be chopped and 2) the cheese melted. Otherwise, every cheesesteak purveyor is free to put their own stamp on the legendary sandwich.
Chef Anthony Sedlak pays homage to the traditional cheesesteak (with choice of cheese and with or without sautéed onions), as well as throwing a few unique variations into the mix like:
- the Cowboy (fried onions, spicy bbq sauce, bacon mayo and aged white cheddar)
- Le Bifteck (caramelized onion jam, double-cream brie, arugula and dijon)
- The Coppola (mushrooms, onions, green peppers, hot banana peppers, tomato sauce and provolone)
There’s even a chicken cheesesteak, and shockingly, a vegetarian cheesesteak (oxymoron? Portobello mushrooms sub for the meat). And for the Big Shot, a cheesesteak made with wagyu beef and truffle aioli. For sides, there are fries, onion rings, and a salad. They also sell ice cream shakes. And they are licensed so they have some beverages to choose from.
“Anthony’s approach to the menu at The American Cheesesteak Co. is the same message that he delivers to the public as an ambassador for food: take pleasure in delicious, healthful meals, prepared with simple, natural ingredients.”
Le Bifteck, the Cowboy, and Onion Rings
|Check out all that brie on the cheesesteak to the far right!|
Now, for the food. My large Le Bifteck salad was delicious. They definitely do not skimp on the brie, which is awesome. The meat is tasty as well. And together, it simply works. What I liked most about it (other than the generous serving of Brie), is the uniqueness of it. Where else can I get something like this? For my paleo/primal fast food options it’s basically burgers or salad + protein (if I’m lucky, and the protein is too often cold). Here I get shaved prime rib with tons of cheese, served hot in a salad format. That just makes me happy. And really, kudos to them for the salad offering. I wish more restaurants provided the option of turning their sandwiches into salads. For example, the new Meat & Bread location opened downtown this week, and I’d love to try it, but don’t see how I can.
My friend ordered a large Cowboy with a side of onion rings. He thoroughly enjoyed it, but commented that the bbq sauce was overpowering and that you couldn’t really taste the flavor of the meat. The onion rings were some of the best he’s had.
The American CheeseSteak Experience
The service was good – efficient. I liked the brick interior – although the feel was more contemporary than character. There’s a patio. I wouldn’t say there was anything lacking in service/ambiance, but there’s certainly nothing extraordinary about it either. Come for the food, and you won’t be disappointed.
Full disclosure: I am a health/food blogger, so here goes. I had some stomach issues later that night and the following morning. Since I batch cook, my meals are pretty predictable and I hadn’t eaten anything else unusual. I very rarely have any symptoms of food poisoning – my stomach’s not very sensitive. I’m hoping that it was just some weird, unrelated coincidence. I will definitely be back at some point and if the same happens, then I’ll know for sure. Until then, I’ll just give it the benefit of the doubt.