The City of Brotherly Love has it over New York when it comes to cheesesteaks – that’s why this list is so short. There are, however, some places that make the 90-minute drive to Philly unnecessary. Here are the best cheesesteaks in NYC. By Yvo Sin.
Without any doubt, Carl’s Steaks serves up the best cheesesteaks in NYC. The menu is just variations on the classic sandwich – Whiz Wit, or Cheez Whiz with grilled onions for the uninitiated – and fries, which is what the menu at any good cheesesteak place should be. Simple and to the point; the grill is front and center while you order so you can watch and drool as your sandwich is assembled. The perfect bread, soft and squishy to yield easily to your bite, with the right amount of Cheez Whiz oozing out over the tender chopped steak, the sweetness of the caramelized onions all combine to make the perfect bite, over and over again until you’re done. Carl’s knows what they’re doing, and it shows.
2461 Hylan Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10306
This Staten Island venue gets the meat for their cheesesteaks from the same butcher who supplies the legendary Philadelphia cheesesteak haunts, Pat’s, Gino’s and Tony Luke’s. At Shaggy’s, the effort is focused on the sandwich’s appearance. We dare you to try their ‘Ultimate Cheesesteak,’ which weighs in at five pounds.
The options at this New York City food truck are many. You can get beef or chicken, wit’ or wit’out grilled onions, add peppers, mushrooms, tomato, lettuce and extra cheese, of which they have white American, provolone and whiz. As for the bread, they use Amoroso’s, which is as authentic as you can get for a Philly cheesesteak. A full-sized 10″ hero is $8.50, and it comes with 1/2 pound of meat(!) You can also get a half for $5.50.
Shorty’s has the Philadelphia pedigree, with a connection to the famed Tony Luke’s in Philly – which some claim is home to the best cheesesteaks in Philly. But what it lacks is focus. While Carl’s main event is the cheesesteak, and is set up just like any place in Philly with the grill front and center for you to drool over your cheesesteaks as they are made, Shorty’s is really a bar at heart, and the kitchen is in the back behind closed doors. While the cheesesteaks are tasty, with a menu that doesn’t focus solely on the sandwiches, there’s a bit of suffering for it. Enjoy the cheesesteaks here happily, but know that Tony Luke’s in Philly is much better.
Another Philly-centric bar, Wogies offers a wide range of pub grub. While that’s all tasty and fine, it’s the same problem as at Shorty’s: not enough focus on the main event, the cheesesteak. The cheesesteak can be hit or miss at Wogies; some days, it’s exactly what you want in a cheesesteak and almost bests Carl’s, but other days, it’s a sad, soggy mess that makes you wish you’d stuck to ordering the great wings or even the garbage bread.
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Yvo Sin is the founder and head writer of The Feisty Foodie.