Outstanding (if untraditional) Philly Cheesesteaks at Illstyl3 Sammies

Illstyl3 SammiesLocation: 300 Richmond Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/Illstyl3-Sammies-227723081025310/

I’ve mentioned before that it’s surprisingly difficult to find a classic Philly cheesesteak in the city (i.e. just steak, onions, and Cheese Wiz or provolone on a roll).

But if every cheesesteak could be as delicious as what they’re serving at Illstyl3 Sammies, then classic shmassic.  Because it’s far from traditional, but exceptionally delicious.

Illstyl3 Sammies

And it’s classic enough.  The steak, the onions, and the gooey provolone are all perfect.  In particular, the steak is exactly as it should be — it’s super tender, and has enough of a beefy taste to assert itself even among the very assertive flavours of the sandwich.

Specifically, they liberally season the beef with some kind of spice blend (the fennel stands out the most, but there’s definitely a lot going on here), and they add in hot peppers along with the onions. They also top the sandwich with a zesty house-made hot sauce that adds a ton of flavour and a very mild spiciness.

Illstyl3 Sammies

The taste is very far from a classic cheesesteak, but it’s got the three things you’re hoping for: it’s beefy, cheesy, and delicious.

My only real complaint is that the roll was a bit on the dry side, but other than that this was a top-shelf sammich.

A Ridiculously Bad Philly Cheesesteak at Philthy Philly’s

Philthy Philly'sLocation: 960 Southdown Road, Mississauga
Websitehttp://www.philthyphillys.com/

If you’re looking for an authentic Philly cheesesteak in Toronto, I think you’re out of luck. There used to be an amazing place called I Went to Philly; their cheesesteak was dead on. Tragically, it went out of business, breaking cheesesteak-loving hearts across the GTA.

It’s not all that difficult to find a cheesesteak in the city, but it’s almost impossible to find an authentic one; most places clutter it up with extraneous toppings like peppers and mushrooms and other sauces.  A real-deal Philly cheesesteak should consist of only four things: a roll, steak, griddled onions, and Cheese Wiz (you can substitute provolone if you’re feeling fancy, but really, Wiz is where it’s at).

Philthy Philly's

So I was pretty excited to try Philthy Philly’s — they have a ton of stuff on their menu, including a whole bunch of optional toppings, but if you want it, you can get a cheesesteak the way it’s supposed to be.

Alas, the cheesesteak here somehow manages to get every single element wrong. It would be impressive if it weren’t so frustrating.

Philthy Philly's

The beef was the wrongest part of the whole maelstrom of wrongness.  The beef in a Philly cheesesteak should be thinly shaved slices of steak.  The meat here, on the other hand, consisted of little pebbly bits of beef that were either ground, or chopped so finely that it may as well have been ground.  It also had a chewy, rubbery texture and absolutely zero beefy flavour.  It was pretty bad.

The “Cheese Wiz” had the consistency of water and zero cheesy tang; the onions had been cooked to the point of being mush.

Philthy Philly's

The final insult was the bread; instead of a lightly crispy outside and a fluffy interior, it was just dense and chewy throughout, with zero exterior crispiness.

The sandwich was cheap, at least.  The smallest size costs just seven bucks, comes on a six inch roll, and is crammed with a generous amount of beef.  But I wish they’d charge a little bit more for a higher quality product; as it is, the sandwich is about on par with Subway, and I say that as someone who doesn’t like Subway at all.