Many months ago I was walking down 3rd Avenue on the way to something or other, and passed by 99 miles to philly, a Philadelphia style cheesesteak joint in the East Village. I scoffed, there’s no comparison to the real thing… or is there?
This past weekend we had tickets to a show at Webster Hall, so Greg and I decided to grab a quick bite before the show in the neighborhood. As we walked towards the restaurant I threatened, “If they’re serving steaks on Kaiser rolls, I’m out.”
The first thing we noticed when we walked in was the Phillies game on tv, of course. They were up and while we waited for our steaks, they racked up 3 more runs. I then immediately noticed that they were serving up their cheesesteaks on Amoroso’s Rolls. If you aren’t familiar, it’s the only roll for an honest cheesesteak. I became more hopeful. A quick look at the menu reassured me that I could order my steak with American, Provolone, or Cheez Wiz – just the way it should be, nothing fancy. Anyone who’s been to Pat’s in South Philly knows you order wit’ or wit’out (onions). I’m an extra American wit’out kind of girl. My mouth began to water.
Each second felt like a lifetime as the sound of metal spatulas scraped beef across the flat top grill and the scent of steak and onions permeated the air. When our order was up, I unwrapped the first half and dug in for a bite. It was…transcendent. I had to remind myself to stop and take a picture and wipe a dusty tear from my eye. For the next 20 minutes it all felt just like home with a cheesesteak in my hands, the Phillies on tv, and my best friend across the table.
I probably wasn’t hungry enough to eat the whole thing, but I couldn’t NOT eat the whole thing, you know? It was fantastic right down to the last crumb. And just like that I was on the streets of Manhattan again, a city that’s still not quite home – but closing the gap on those 99 miles.
99 miles to philly – Old Style Cheesesteaks
94 3rd Avenue (between 12th & 13th); (212) 253 2700/2730
Atmosphere: Philly dineresque.
Sound Level: Conversation, low television.
Price Range: $7.75 cheesesteak (meat, cheese & onions) extras $.25 – $3.50
CASH ONLY – ATM on premises