What’s the number one thing people associate with Philadelphia besides booing santa and Ben Franklin? Fucking cheesesteaks. But for good reason. Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s, located across the street from each other on Passyunk Ave., are the two most famous joints in the city. Now I’m no expert on Philly politics, but I think you pick a side. You can’t love both, it’s one or the other and fuck you if you don’t agree. So on the last day of my trip, my breakfast would be half a Geno’s steak and half a Pat’s steak, both ordered in the same style with Cheese Whiz and onions, or “cheese ‘wit”, eaten one after the other. The tale of the tape:
Any place that served as a set for the “Motown Philly” video is diesel. Geno’s is way more flamboyant with neon signs, bright colors and in your face advertising. There’s also a very positive, yet awkward pro-USA/Police vibe. Whatever. Geno’s sandwich had a great roll, very soft and fresh. The meat was actually shaved in discs and laid out similarly to cold cuts, topped with Cheez Whiz and grilled onions.
Loved the roll, but the rest of the sandwich was greasy and messy. Because of the way the meat was sliced and cooked, it felt a little tough and the cheese counted mesh with the steak. Solid ratio of cheese and onions, but overall left me wanting more.
Pat’s King of Steaks
No frills and fancy marketing at Pat’s. Step up to the window, know your order and have the cash ready. Right away it was clear that Pat’s has the more substantial sandwich. A nice portion of shaved steak seasoned well. The Cheez Whiz was able to incorporate itself more within the sandwich and the onions had a nice smokiness to them. The roll was fresh but gave more resistance upon feasting. Tightly wrapped in deli paper, Pat’s sandwich was still juicy, but much easier to eat in my car.
Geno’s may have the flashier joint, but Pat’s has the far more diesel sandwich. They offer more steak with a better balance of flavor. Both sandwiches come in at around eight bucks, so it boils down to taste and presentation. Pat’s proves yet again that a superior product is always better than smoke and mirrors.