Sometimes I have epic journeys to try food. During the beginning of Fall I had heard about a new Philly cheese steak place opening up not far from here at home and I was excited. I've had crappy roast beef versions of the cheese steak, but I wanted authentic. So I set out for I Went To Philly (see, they went to Philly, had the cheese steak, loved it, and brought it back).
The first time I arrived, there was a dude with a sandwich board outside sending in business. I went in and I was told the place was closed; there was a family emergency and they needed to shut down early. But they didn't tell the guy outside. One of the staff was really unfriendly about the situation, but another tried to remain helpful by getting me a take-out menu. But no cheese steak.
I went by a second time on a Sunday, but they are closed on Sundays. I tried a third time but the place was packed and I didn't want to do take-out. Then I tried a few weeks ago and the same unfriendly dude was there. I didn't have cash on me, and it's cash only. I tried to use their ATM and it wasn't working. I politely let them know this was the case and unfriendly dude was like "well, nobody else has had a problem with it." I gladly walked out thinking what a jackass. If they don't want my business, that's fine.
But I really wanted a cheese steak. So I went one more time - I know, on principal I should not have gone back, but dang did I want a cheese steak. Unfriendly dude was working again (I think he may be one of the owner's sons), but he was more pleasant. The place only had two other guys eating so I felt it was a good time to do a review.
The place has a simple red and white theme going on. CP24 is on the flat screens, and images of Pat's and Geno's for the homage to the classic Philly joints. The one thing I found a little odd in the decor was above my seat. I didn't notice it until my order was up and I came back to my seat: a neon glowing wipe board extolling the virtues of Jesus. I won't lie, I'm not big on having religion around my dining space.
The menu is pretty straight forward: cheese steaks, fries, and cheese steaks and fries together.
Every table had a bottle of Tabasco sauce on it. I appreciate the hot sauce, but Tabasco is rarely my hot sauce of choice.
Here was my meal in all it's glory: Cheese Steak wit' onions and whiz, a cherry pepper, and a drink box of Yoohoo. I have not had Yoohoo since I was a kid visiting the US (as it's not for sale here) and I figured I would get it as part of the yankee package. They were out of bottles, and a little sippy box is $1.50. For chocolate milk. If you don't remember like me, Yoohoo is basically chocolate milk. I should have gotten the Black Cherry cola.
The sandwich came with a hot cherry pepper (normally a charge of $0.75). They were plump, had a nice flavour and heat.
And then there was the sandwich. Glory. It was pure glory. The sandwich was huge, pilled high with lots of cheese. Sorry, Cheez.
There are two types of cheese to choose from, Cheez Whiz and provolone or both. They both sound good, but I wanted traditional Whiz. You may scoff at Cheez Whiz, but this is the best application of the fake yellow stuff I have ever had.
First, the bun they use is so fresh, and so soft I thought that the steak mixture was going to fall through. Then you have the thinly sliced AA Ribeye that is cooked on the flattop. Just slightly greasy, but the perfect amount of grease. Very tender and nice and beefy. And you have the fried onion. So good. The smell when you walk in is fried onion goodness.
Combined, I was in nirvana. This sandwich was close to perfection for me. The bun, the meat, the onion, the cheez.
I did not get the fries, but they looked good. One guy at the table behind me had the cheese steak fries (fries, with cheese steak and Whiz on top) which looked phenomenal. Really, what is not to like.
So here's the thing, I'm not crazy bout the one dude that runs the place, and I'm not crazy about Jesus messages in a restaurant. But dang if they don't make a mean Philly cheese steak that I would overlook all of that again. I know I will go back for the food.
I Went To Philly
462 Yonge Street, Toronto ON
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