Monday, August 19, 2013

Trying Out New Dishes at The Cheesesteak Shop

I would always pass by The Cheesesteak Shop whenever I find myself in Makati and it finally piqued my attention when its newest branch opening at The Fort Strip. I had dismissed the place as another greasy sandwich shop, but after doing my homework on the place I thought I'd give it a go the next time I venture near it.

The original Philadelphia style sandwich shop has been on my "to try" list for quite some time now, and the Cheesesteak god with his flying hoagie in the sky must've heard me, for I was pretty stoked when I was asked to come by and try their newest dishes.

The Cheese Steak Shop has been serving "Real Philly" cheese steaks since 1982 starting with our first store in San Francisco. The ingredients are special ordered, and like the Amoroso rolls and Tastykakes, many are shipped directly from Philadelphia.

I found myself at the Cheesesteak Shop's Makati branch one fine morning, along with some of the folks from the foodie fambam. All of us were hungry and raring to eat, excited to be Guinea Pigs for the newest Cheesesteak offerings. They warn the food may be habit forming - I'll be the judge of that. Hmf.

Brunch started off with drinks and - what do you know - the Cheesesteak Shop serves the elusive Cheery Coke and Cherry 7-Up. What's better than a Cherry Coke, you ask? Why, a Cherry Coke Flat, of course! And that's exactly what I got.

We started brunch with orders of Fried Cheese Steak with Pizza Sauce (7"- P320; 10"- P520; 15"- P850). I was very hesitant to try this at first, since in my head deep frying a cheesesteak seemed like blasphemy - something Philadelphians would outlaw and have you hanged outright for. Yet to my surprise, this was my favorite dish of the afternoon.

Biting into the ginormous kariman-looking monster, the first thing you hear is the crunch, crunch, crunch of the outer shell. The Amoroso roll was still super soft on the inside, and the cheeseteak center was piping hot. Speaking of piping hot, I love that the Cheesesteak shop has hot and sweet peppers at the condiments station. My sandwich was topped with lots and lots of hot peppers before getting a generous smothering of tomato sauce. Mmm... I can see what they mean when they said this stuff is addicting.

Next up was the Cheesy Chicken Cheese Steak (7"- P280). The grilled chicken option is a lot milder and probably a lot healthier than the regular cheesesteaks. the most prominent flavor I got with each bite was the rich cheese sauce on top. I can probably polish off a 7" portion on my own, as long as it came with lots and lots of hot peppers, although the cheese sauce can be a bit overwhelming.

While I'm on the topic of their sandwiches, I have to profess my love for their Amoroso buns! They import almost all the ingredients at the Cheesesteak Shop, giving it that All American taste. Case in point: their hot cross buns - it doesn't have that sickly sweet aftertaste you'd get with most breads here.

This is a great place for families and friends to hang out in, especially if you find yourself stranded in the crazy weather we're having (damn you, Typhoon Maring!). There are lots of board games for you to pass the time with, enjoying a friendly game of Clue or Monopoly while chugging down on cold Cherry Cokes and hot cheesesteaks.

For the folks who don't consider a meal a meal without rice, there's the Cheesesteak Rice (P170) that has grilled US Steak slathered in your choice of American Cheese or Cheese Sauce with Garlic Rice. I found the garlic rice a bit lacking in the garlic department, but the staff at the Cheesesteak Shop quickly fixed that problem for me. The Cheeseteak Rice with Cheese Sauce wasn't anything really special, in my opinion, although the beef was really tender.

Things looked up with the Cheeseteak Rice with American Cheese, which I think was Provolone. The flavor was creamy with just a hint of sweetness, and the melted mess looked downright beautiful on my plate.

Cheesesteak Rice with American Cheese + hot peppers + Cherry Coke = So much win!

This place left me pleasantly surprised. Another surprise was that they also hire what I like to call "handicapable" staff. Like the super cute Jorelle, for instance, who is deaf, but works the cashier, and always with a smile on her face. This was a great opportunity for me to practice the very limited ASL (American Sign Language) I picked up from watching episode after episode of Switched At Birth.

When mucking around Makati or BGC there are so many reasons why you should pay The Cheesesteak Shop a visit: the Cherry Cokes, the cheesesteaks that use imported ingredients and are reasonably priced, the board games to pass the time, and the handicapable staff that you can't help but smile at - Jorelle's positivity is infectious! And, may I add, habit forming!

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The Cheesesteak Shop
+63 2 555 1818
140 Amorsolo Street ,
Legaspi Village, Makati City
Open Daily: 10am - 10pm