- Carl's Steaks
507 Third Avenue, 212-696-5336
New York’s never been much of a cheesesteak town, as any pesky Philly expat will tell you. Then, a couple of years ago, came Gary Thompson and his BB Sandwich Bar—a noble, if brazenly unorthodox attempt, served on a kaiser roll—and good cheesesteaks started turning up at places like Schnäck in Carroll Gardens and uptown at Fetch, whose native-Philadelphian chef picks up fresh rolls from Amoroso’s, the Philly bakery said to supply Jim’s and Geno’s. Newcomer Wogie’s, run by two brothers from Philly with something to prove, is another one to watch. But Carl’s Steaks takes the prize, not only for its obscenely great cheesesteak oozing with the unholy trinity of chopped meat, Cheez Whiz, and onions, all barely contained by a grease-thirsty roll, but for its spot-on ambience: the egalitarian crowd of suits and drunkards from nearby pubs; the television blaring; a 4 a.m. closing time on weekends; and a supremely greasy stench that will permeate your clothes in the time it takes to say “cheese wit.”
Best Antidote to a Vegetarian Feast
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).