Team Geno's No More—A Philadelphia Heartbreak
Dalessandro’s Steaks: 600 Wendover St, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Pat’s King of Steaks: 1301 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Jim’s Steaks: 400 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Geno’s: 1219 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
PRICE (all cash only)
$10 Pat’s & Geno’s
Next to be reviewed: Ishkabibble’s, Tony Luke's, Campus Corner
Blinded by the flashy lights of Geno’s, we thought we had found the pot of gold at the end of the Philadelphian rainbow. Our taste buds had reached the top of the Art Museum steps, but like the fable of Rocky Balboa, had also been tricked into believing that what we were eating was the best Philly had to offer. Hence, a search ensued to find the best cheesesteak in the city, the word "Philly" often finds itself synonymous with. Try travelling outside of the area, and you will be stunned to encounter something as exquisite as this native piece of art. The cheesesteak made its official debut in the year 1930. Pat Olivieri was a South Philadelphia hot dog vendor who one day decided to put some beef from the butcher on his grill. Olivieri’s simple “misteak” turned into a multimillion-dollar operation, Pat’s King of Steaks. Thirty-six years later, Geno’s claimed real-estate right across the street, with founder Joe Vento claiming he was the first to add cheese to the cheesesteak.
Depending on how you order, it is quite easy to tell if you are not a native of Philadelphia. Being concise is key. All you need to say is the two magic words “whiz wit” or “whiz witout.” Any variations from onions (wit/witout) and cheese wiz simply deface the original tradition regardless of your tastes. However, Wildcat center Daniel Ochefu “doesn’t eat cheese” so this rule simply doesn’t apply.
To begin, let’s talk about steak. Depending on the establishment, the meat is either finely sliced or chopped into fairly large portions. Prior to testing various versions of the icon, we believed that Geno’s was doing it best. Largely cut portions of rib eye steak are ready to go for the hundreds of customers encountered daily. Yet, once other establishments were experienced, the variety of meat portions revealed that Manayunk’s own, Dalessandro's, reigned supreme. Fable has it that they season their flat top grill with fat before adding the meat. As opposed to the circle meat patties that define Geno’s, Dalessandro’s finely dices its steak. Pat’s and Jim’s present a more fragmented approach that sits between the two extremes of Geno’s and Dalessandro’s.
Let’s move on to the cheese. Serving as a constant variable, we ordered our steaks wit whiz at each establishment. Pat’s was the King of Whiz with a heavy application that complemented the steak perfectly. Likewise, Dalessandro’s and Jim’s were about even with their slabbing on of arguably the key to ultimate precedence in the land of cheesesteaks. Geno’s, irrelevant.
Next, onions. Once again, Geno’s chopped its fried onions into the size of a tic tac that were ultimately unrecognizable in the overall taste. Dalessandro’s and Jim’s made us cry with how big their fried onions were—practically the size of a communion wafer. But these were tears of joy, mind you.
Lastly, and most importantly, let’s review the bread. In conjunction with the other key aspects of the Philly cheesesteak, Dalessandro’s also reigns supreme in the carbohydrate department. It was love at first bite—soft, yet firm 12-13 inches of pure bliss, complemented the fine cheese and steak. Meanwhile, Jim’s and Pat’s sell rolls amongst the smaller scale, averaging 8-10 inches. Geno’s could have been a car tire with its rubbery texture. Was it delivery or was it Geno’s?
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