Saturday, March 28, 2015

Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory Food Review

Classic Steak Sandwich

I (fondly) remember the Philadelphia Cheesecake Factory in Georgetown (at 34th & M Street, now home to Capriotti's) and was happy to find it again (well, sorta) at the Level 3 food court at Tyson's Corner Center. I can't say much for atmosphere (it's a very crowded, very loud food court) but the taste rings familiar... and true.

Granted, there's no dearth of decent steak sandwiches in and around DC, but very few great ones. PCF doesn't qualify as great, but the steak itself is pretty darn close. I placed an order for a steak sandwich combo (plus onion rings and a soda) with a grumpy cashier after the lunch rush (meaning the cashier wasn't busy, perhaps just angry and/or bored.) Total cost? $11.64 including tax. I asked for jalapeños, lettuce and tomato (no cheese) and received my order in decent time (in between five and 10 minutes.)

Onion Rings

It was nice to get away from the cashier; but finding a quiet table in this mall is close to impossible. I managed to carve out a niche between an overhead TV blaring a mix of commercials and music videos, and three cackling teens to my immediate right: Don't ask which was louder. I'm pretty sure it was a tie. My sandwich was covered/overflowing with lettuce (way too much for any one sandwich) three tiny slivers of tomato (unreal) and some jalapeño peppers. The bun was ice cold, but the steak was piping hot and plentiful. The jalapeños added tons of heat (perfect for me, probably not so perfect for most other people) and the meat itself was quite flavorful. Overall, pretty impressive... especially once you got rid of all the extra strands of lettuce.

You get six onion rings, which were fine, I suppose. They were a bit oily, and not quite crispy enough for my liking; but once dipped in ketchup, they were better than average. On their own, they cost $3.49 for a MEDIUM (what I got) and $4.49 for a LARGE.

Is this new(er) PCF better than the one I used to frequent in Georgetown? Sadly no, especially in terms of dining in. Their steak is pretty darn good; but their toppings need work, and untoasted bread is a big no-no (no matter how you slice it.) Ditto for poor/unenthusiastic service... although I can sympathize in theory. Until someone opens a kick-ass steak sandwich joint (idea alert) you could do a lot worse than Philadelphia Cheesecake Factory.