Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Charleys Philly Steaks Food Review

Philly Cheese Steak with Original Fries

Charleys Philly Steaks boasts, "We've been perfecting our craft for 25 years. So trust us, we know a thing or two about giving you the best Philly Steaks on the planet." I'm all for self-promotion; but after Monday's lunch inside L'Enfant Plaza, the folks at Charleys need to have their collective heads examined (or at the very least, update their website.) My lunch was terrible.

It began with a disinterested cashier/order taker who was either mute or unwilling to speak. Either way, I received no "hello," "thank you," or even "may I take your order." Just a semi roll-of-the-eyes and an implied promise of "this meal's gonna suck." $12.08 for a regular Philly Cheese Steak (no cheese, $8.39) and a regular Original Fries ($2.59) and no drink = no bargain. It was after 2 PM, and there was only one customer ahead of me, and a couple behind me. Far from busy (especially at a food court.)

#1 in the World? Dream on

I took a seat facing Charleys, and checked my phone for emails and messages. A few minutes later, another employee (queue expeditor?) caught my attention and instructed me to collect my order. I couldn't understand a word he was saying (he barely spoke English) but suffice it to say, my order wasn't ready. At least he spoke to me, and appeared to care, which is a lot more than I can say about anyone else there. When my food finally arrived (almost 10 minutes after ordering) all I got from a third employee was, "anything else?" The cook meant toppings, which looked bland and unappetizing. I asked for tomatoes, and said thank you. He handed me a box that read "#1 Cheese Steak in the World." Call us even, I suppose.

Food in hand, I decided to move to another table. Truth be told, I didn't want to watch the Charleys staff "in action," while I ate. Sadly for me, a change of scenery did little to improve the quality of food. The meat was unseasoned, dry as a bone, and of low quality (cheap cut.) The roll was even worse, and barely toasted. Toss in three tasteless (far from fresh) slices of tomato, and it's a wonder anyone comes back a second time. Heaven knows, I won't.

Fries were hot (the lone positive) but void of salt or seasoning of any kind. Garden variety at best... boring and tasteless at worst. How hard is it to season food? I can only assume they don't how (training?) or don't care. I would never mistake downtown DC for Geno's or Pat's; but it ought to taste better than 7-Eleven, don't you think?

Bottom line: There's plenty of better places to eat at L'Enfant Plaza. Amsterdam Falafelshop & Pie Five Pizza are just steps away; and even Church's Chicken (not exactly one of our favorites) rates higher, in my opinion. Charleys' next door neighbor (Phillips Seafood Express) closed recently. Perhaps it's the start of a trend.