Would getting a Philly cheesesteak in New York City be like getting a New York bagel in Philly—inauthentic and ultimately unfulfilling? Well, my Philly cheesesteak was not only filling, but it was fulfilling in an “I really need some red meat in a bun” kind of way. Nothing like watching be-suited businesspeople stalking along Park Avenue to make you feel like tucking into some steak. I had thought a real Philly cheesesteak used some special cheese, not the slabs of American that were slapped onto the foot-long crusty bun holding ample amounts of frizzled steak and grilled onions ($3.99). Later, I asked my mom, whose late boyfriend was a Philly cheesesteak aficionado. She told me the real deal is topped with Cheez Whiz. Ew!
Just yesterday I had attended a beer and cheese tasting at Stinky’s in Brooklyn. Could the same person who oohed and aahed over Taleggio and Zamorano be relishing steak blanketed by the rough equivalent of Cheez Whiz? The answer is an emphatic, “Yes! Nothing artisanal on my cheesteak, please.” But do drizzle with NYC Halal cart white sauce, however un-Philly. And for $2 extra you can get waffle fries, which steak truck fans say are wonderfully crisp.
East 47th Street and Park Avenue (NE corner)
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