Hailing from Philadelphia, the cheesesteak is a very personal sandwich to me – one that carries innumerable memories and meaning. In New York, while there are some notable examples dotted around town, few have come close to matching a true Philly steak, either in taste, or in spirit. Oh…how I’ve longed for that seductive ménage à trois of steak, bread, and cheese – typically adding onions to make it a foursome.
Thankfully, The Big CHZ-STK is doing justice to this working-man’s sandwhich, creating a real show stopper. The meat (rib eye I assume?) is cooked to juicy perfection, tender and succulent. A slight sweetness from the carmelized onions, combined with a blast of sharpness from the provolone adds layers of depth. Adding cheese and onions topside is not a classic approach (neither is serving with a fork for that matter!), but it works. Using a cheese sauce on the other hand, is classic, and while there’s no wiz option, their exquisite provolone and pepper jack sauces are on point, dripping and melting into each tasty bite. A smattering of scallions adds a nice visual burst.
As any cheesesteak aficionado knows, the roll typically separates amateur from ethereal, insult from tribute. This sandwich, I’m happy to report, is a compliment to the form, resting on a spongy, freshly-sliced roll rather than a stale afterthought. Kudos to you Big CHZ!
On a crazy hot day, the Strawberry Basil Iced Tea was like a cold shower after a day at the beach, cleansing and crisp. If this cheesesteak had an online dating profile, it would likely read – wholesome yet salacious sandwich seeking subtly sweet, refreshing companion. The two together are an ideal match.
Beyond the delicate balance of flavors that make cheesesteaks great, there’s a particular attitude, almost edgy quality behind the meaty behemoths and those who make them. Chef Frank Cucinella, and fellow entrepreneur Joe Ferrante, proprietors of the Big CHZ-STK, certainly fit that mold, confident that their sandwich can stand up to any cheesesteak (it can) and leave even the most Philly-biased patron satisfied (it does).