Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mike's Steaks

Located at the West end of the Markets in the Comcast Center, Mike's Steaks sells its eponymous cheese steaks, amongst other offerings such as fries, onion rings, hoagies, and wings. 

Mike’s is a family-run business which is hardly mentioned when compared with tourist traps such as Pat's and Geno's. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am frequently saddened by the quality of cheesesteaks in Philly - too dry, not enough meat/cheese/onions, no flavor. Perhaps this is because I feel the need to compare any cheesesteak to those I consumed in college - the ironically named Philly's Best near Chicago. Pardon my nostalgia, but those bad boys were perfectly succulent, just enough meat/cheese/onions - nothing beats it in my mind.

But back to Philly ... 

Mike's is the only place I've found in Philly that has even come close to tickling my nostalgic sensibilities. Granted - I haven't tried Tony Luke's in South Philly - I've only tried the one at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. I'll admit - Tony Luke's was pretty damn good as well. But Pat's ... Geno's ... and yes - Jim's on South Street (greasy mess with no flavor anyone?) - the tourists can have them.

If you check out the reviews on Yelp, you'll see that the majority of the negative reviews for Mike's are due to the fact that they don't chop up the meat. Now why in the world would you chop up premium, lean rib-eye? I want to savor the flavor of the cut - I don't need chopped up minced meat to be adulterated by any grease or oil that isn't inherent to the true taste of the beef. Thankfully - I think Cifelli family tends to agree.

Cheese Steak ($7.40) 
Premium Rib-Eye or Fresh Chicken Breast “With” or “Without” onions and your choice of cheese: Whiz, Provolone, Cheddar, American, Mozzarella, Swiss, Sharp Provolone

I went with the rib-eye and sharp provolone 'wit' (sorry ... I prefer a good sharp Italian provolone to sloppy, processed Whiz any day). The thing I like about Mike's? You taste the pure flavor of the beef. You taste no freezer burn - those thin slices of premium beef are not too greasy, but definitely not dry. The peppers and onions supply the right amount of texture and moisture to create a satisfactory bite. Don't believe me? Here's a close-up shot.

My one criticism? They could use a bit more cheese as it wasn't fully integrated in the sandwich (they provide two slices which is standard). To be honest - I could've used a bit more rib-eye, but then again, that's just my gluttony talking.

All in all - Mike's gets it done for the most part - but I continue my search for a cheese steak in Philly that can even compare to Philly's Best in Chicago. It's sad when I said this to the GF one day while I was at Jim's and another customer right behind me agreed with my exact sentiment (Disclaimer:  neither of us were originally from Chi-town). We just knew quality when we ate it.

But perhaps I'm going about this all wrong - so feel free to let me know what you think and where I should go to find the ultimate Philly cheese steak.

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