Once I read the article in the Washington Post a few weeks ago, I knew I had to go. I've never been so glad that I work out in Largo, just a mere 15 minutes from South Street Steaks in College Park. I was anxious during my drive over. Would it be like the real thing, or would I be disappointed like I've been oh so many times before? I couldn't wait to find out.
When I walked into the joint, I could tell from the smell of the air that they had something good going there. The air reeked of grease, onions, and peppers -- exactly what you would expect from a cheesesteak joint. (I call it a joint and not a restaurant because I consider a restaurant to be a place where it's possible to eat the contents of your meal without dripping the grease on you pants.)
I watched carefully as they prepared the cheesesteak. On the left of the grill, there was the mound of sliced sirloin and on the right, the mounds of onions and peppers. When they cooked a steak, they would cut off a mound of steak from the pile and put it on the hot section of the grill, spraying some water as well to get that steamed-yet-fried effect.
The griller then chops at the meat with two metal spatulas, and once it's coarsely chopped, they add the onions and let them sizzle in the meat a little longer. After that, he grabs an Amoroso roll (the true roll of the Philly cheesesteak which South Street Steaks has shipped in special from Philly), scoops a ladle of cheese whiz out of the big metal canister, spreads it on the roll, and covers the meat on the grill with the roll.
Finally, the griller takes one spatula and slides it under the meat and quickly flips it over to put it on a plate.
Like the real thing...or at least pretty damn close. I reminded me of the cheesesteak I had in my last trip to Philly at Jim's Steaks. It's been a while since I've been back to Philly for a cheesesteak though, so my memory might be a bit fuzzy. This was a true cheesesteak -- the meat tender, thinly sliced, and well flavored with the creamy cheese whiz on a fresh roll all juicy, drippy and completely unhealthy.
The junk food for the truly discerning foodie.
My only complaint was that I thought the onions could have onions cooked a little longer and lightly browned. They were translucent and but not browned or caramelized at all.
If you eat two cheesesteaks in one sitting, you get your picture on the wall -- kind of like a wall of fame. There's one person who's eaten ten. My hero.
South Street Steaks
7313 Baltimore Avenue
College Park, MD 20740
Mon - Wed: 11am - 10pm
Thu: 11am - 2am
Fri : 11am - 3am
Sat: 12pm - 3am
Sun: 12pm - 10pm