While I’ve been to plenty of restaurants, I usually only try to review places that I haven’t been to before. After all, Stevens is all about innovation (does that count?) and why review a place you’ve already been to 100 times? This week, though, I made an exception, and went to check out Midtown Philly Steaks.
Midtown Philly Steaks is a quick-bite right next to Sixth and Washington. Specializing in (you guessed it) Philly Cheese Steaks. Midtown is the perfect place to go if you want a big, greasy sandwich and don’t care who knows. If you still want a cheese steak but maybe something healthier, they also have all their sandwiches with a chicken option. If you aren’t healthy but still want chicken, they also have wing buckets. On top of these entrees, you can get a wide variety of fries and drinks to top off your meal, and – of course – some standard sides like onion rings and muttz sticks.
After not going for almost a year, I was ready for some prime time after-party/post-night-out-in-the-city food. I wanted something that would raise my cholesterol while simultaneously making me salivate. To achieve my goal, my friend and I got a California cheese steak and a Hawaiian cheese steak, respectively, along with homemade chili fries and mozzarella sticks. And no, the surfer theme was not on purpose.
Despite my hardest desire to, I had a really hard time convincing myself that I was in love with their food. As opposed to the greasy, high fat, melt your mouth with triglycerides deliciousness I was expecting, I was greeted by a rather underwhelming ensemble that less forgiving reviewers might compare to a shoe. The steak was tough, dry, and not particularly tasty. The cheese, while nicely stringy and tasty, was tough to find. The loaf of bread itself was airy and not very filling; finally, the vegetables tasted like something you would get at a Surf Taco. The Hawaiian cheese steak also left my friend underwhelmed, for similar reasons. On top of that, the homemade chili fries were little more than frozen fries with some reheated chili thrown on top of them, while the mozzarella sticks came out to a disappointingly small amount (6 for 6.50!). Certainly, my tastes might have been different if I was horribly inebriated, but I wasn’t particular thrilled sober.
Despite my disappointment, I do also recognize the issues with my choices. Hawaiian anything is a risky gamble, and “California” anything is usually code for “questionable lettuce”. The primary reason I went for these two was because I had had other, more typically-me options, like the Barbecue and the Pizza cheese steak, when I went a year ago. Those were what made me fall in love with Midtown Philly in the first place. Most food critics, after all, visit a place multiple times before writing a review, but given the time scale of Stute news cycles, that isn’t feasible; thus, despite my quiet disillusionment, I don’t want to be quick to write off Midtown Philly just like that.
Midtown Philly Steaks is close, cheap, and satisfying if you’ve been craving a good cheese steak. Just be sure to avoid the Hawaiian and California cheese steaks!